Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) is a fancy acronym that simply means the Avaya IP 500 phone system can talk to, and interact with, external computer applications. The common language they talk is called TAPI. The most common applications you’ll use with the Avaya CTI will be screen popping from application databases, calling from screen etc. CTI is incredibly effective and if you’re using ACT, Salesforce, MOC etc you should really be using the Avaya CTI technology.
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With the Avaya IP Office 500 phone system you achieve this with the use of IP Office CTI Link, a CTI middleware product and Software Developers Kit.
On the Avaya IP Office, CTI is delivered through adherence to open Microsoft TAPI standards. This gives businesses access to a wide range of third-party solutions that are designed to meet their specific requirements. For example, you may have a custom program or database you use to store customers information. TAPI allows the phone system to see information in this database and react to it to make it more seamless for your staff Let’s say you have a customers name and number in the database. TAPI will see an incoming call and find if you already know that person. If you do it will present their name on screen. It’s very cool.
For developers, migrating their offering from other platforms to IP Office is quick and easy, and the advanced CTI features IP Office offers makes it easy to achieve full integration, and significant business benefits.
Avaya IP Office provides two levels of CTI interoperability:
- CTI Link Lite, which is free of charge with the Avaya IP500. This provides all the functionality required to support the vast majority of applications, including screen-popping, and many third-party products.
- CTI Link Pro provides enhanced functionality, including the ability to control multiple telephones and gives access to advanced call centre operations. This is rarely required by most customers looking for CTI.
Because IP networking is integrated into the Avaya IP Office phone system, all CTI is done through the LAN. This potentially introduces additional points of failure, as well as relying on non-standard interfaces and handsets. On the Avaya IP Office, all Avaya devices can be used with CTI
Avaya IP Office TAPILink Lite provides simple first-party CTI via Microsoft TAPI 2.1 and 3.0. Individual desktop PCs connected to the Local Area Network (LAN) communicate with their Avaya IP Office phone system and handset via an IP connection over the LAN. Each PC is capable of controlling one telephone device (see diagram below).
Microsoft TAPI 2.1 and 3.0 are simply specifications and developers interfaces for controlling and monitoring a telephony device. As mentioned it is simply the common language protocol they use. The TAPI specification requires that a certain amount of core functionality is implemented, and additionally defines a series of optional functionality that switch vendors (phone systems) may also implement.
Avaya TAPILink Pro provides all of the features and functionality of the free TAPILink Lite, but in addition provides third party CTI operation. This means that a single server can control and monitor any number of telephone devices.
Furthermore, TAPILink Pro provides the ability to monitor and control groups. This allows an application to be notified when a call enters a queue, and can also redirect it to another location.
The Avaya TAPILink Pro also supports additional TAPI functionality that is not available through Avaya TAPILink Lite. This functionality is supported through the LineGetLineDevStatus and LineDevSpecific calls. The additional features are:
|•||Set and retrieve divert destination.|
|•||Set and retrieve extended divert status (Forward All Calls, Forward on Busy, Forward on No Answer, Do not Disturb).|
|•||Retrieving the extension locale (language).|
|•||Set and clear the message waiting lamp.|
|•||Enable and disable group membership.|
|•||Generate and detect DTMF digits and tones (requires the TAPI-WAV driver).|
In all there are 6 Avaya IP Office CTI interfaces:
Six CTI interfaces are currently supported with the Avaya IP office and delivers a very significant CTI capability to the end user:
Provides first-party CTI support for Microsoft TAPI 2.1 and TAPI 3.0, so each PC can control or monitor one phone. The software components are supplied with the Avaya IP Office system on the User CD and are free of charge not requiring a license key for use.
Provides third-party CTI support for TAPI 2.1 and 3.0. These components are identical to their first-party equivalent; the presence of the CTI Link Pro RFA license key (which can be purchased in the usual way for products) enables this additional functionality.
Provides software-based support for voice processing. The TAPI-WAV driver is for use with TAPI 2.1 only; for TAPI 3.0, IP Office supports the Media Service Provider (MSP) interface, defined by Microsoft in TAPI 3.0. This functionality will only work in conjunction with CTI Link Pro and also requires TAPI WAV licenses. Each license enables 4 ports of voice processing.
Provides a real-time event stream in addition to the SMDR interface provided in Avaya IP Office SMDR. The real-time event stream takes the form of a call record, which is issued whenever the state of any endpoint of a call changes (typically there are two end points on a call, but for some circumstances, such as conference calls, intruded calls there may be more).
IP Office SMDR
Provides an interface to obtain SMDR events. A comma-separated record is issued for each call, when the call is completed. This interface is designed for call accounting and call billing applications. The IP Office SMDR can be output direct from the IP Office control unit to a designated IP address and port.
Avaya IP Office 500 Software Development Kit
This toolkit is delivered on a single CD, containing the developer documentation for TAPILink Lite, TAPILink Pro, DevLink Lite and DevLink pro, as well as pre-compiled programs for exploring TAPI 2.1 and 3.0. In addition, example source code is included, making it easy for developers to become familiar with IP Office CTI interfaces.