Increasingly, organizations of all sizes are searching for ways to improve their interactions—both those internal to the organization itself as well as those involving external entities such as customers, prospects, distributors, analysts, and others. The motivations behind this drive are varied and include the following:

  • The need to improve customer service. As global competition heats up, many organizations are discovering that the level of service they offer their customers is a crucial differentiator. In this environment, the point of interface between the organization and the customer (phone call, fax document, email message, Web page, etc.) is more critical than ever.

  • Business process re-engineering. BPR efforts focus on identifying, redesigning, and automating key processes. Business processes, by their very nature, require the ability to structure and automate both internal (employee) and external interactions.

  • The drive to increase productivity. The relentless effort to accomplish more with the same number of (or even fewer) people requires that interactions be quick and effective. Time wasted in telephone tag and other useless activities must be eliminated.

  • The move toward a distributed corporation. Corporations are becoming increasingly distributed with work-at-home employees, satellite offices, on-the-road salespeople, and outsourced operations. The key to successfully “virtualizing” a corporation in this way is to ensure that all parts of the company are able to communicate effectively.

No matter what the reason, the result is often the same—many organizations are actively looking for ways to improve their interactions with the world. But why this rush? What’s wrong with the way that interactions are being handled today? Let’s look at just a few of the problems.

  • Telephone systems are hopelessly out-of-date. Whereas computer systems have evolved at a dizzying pace over the last ten years—moving from green text-based displays to full-color graphical user interfaces—telephone systems have remained incredibly dumb. Just consider the fact that very few people ever figure out how to conference two calls together.

  • Integrating telephone and computer systems is a nightmare. Tying together PBXs, VRUs, voice mail systems and client-server networks is not the “plug and play” operation that some vendors would have you believe. Even when they work, such systems are error-prone, difficult to maintain, and make end-to-end reporting a near impossibility.

  1. New modes of interaction are developing every day. The ways in which corporations interacted with the world remained largely unchanged from the early 1900s until the 1980s. There were the telephone and the letter. Now look around. Fax, email, the Internet, wireless networks—there are more ways to interact than ever before. With all these options, more and more customers are refusing to sit on hold and wait for the next totally unqualified operator.


What’s needed is a fresh new approach to business interactions. Consider how most businesses use relational database products (e.g. Oracle or Sybase) to manage the storage of important data. These products are often referred to as “database engines” because they provide a centralized point of control for the productive use of information. For example, a database engine can be used to create “triggers” that execute whenever a certain event happens (e.g. send a message to accounting whenever a new entry is made in the Sales table). What if there was an “interaction engine” which could be used to bring a similar degree of control to business interactions? Such an engine would need to:

  • handle all different types of interactions—telephone calls, faxes, emails, digital pages, Web server accesses, etc.

  • handle both incoming as well as outgoing interactions (e.g. incoming and outgoing telephone calls)

  • handle both internal as well as external interactions (i.e. interactions inside the company as well as interactions with the outside world)

  • be extensible in order to handle new types of interactions (e.g. wireless networks)

  • run on local and wide area networks

  • be implemented using a distributed client-server architecture

  • be based on open systems

  • allow organizations to completely customize the way that individual interactions are handled

  • integrate easily with existing corporate information systems and communication networks including intranets

  • eliminate the need for most if not all proprietary telephone equipment


The Enterprise Interaction Center (EIC) from Interactive Intelligence is a radical new product which has been designed from the ground up as a sophisticated interaction engine which can be used to automate virtually every aspect of business communications.

EIC is implemented as a distributed client-server application. The server portion, called the Interaction Server , runs under Microsoft Windows NT Server version 4.0. Clients can be workstations running either Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0. Additionally, the product can function as an intranet server with clients running any Java-enabled Web browser (e.g. Netscape Navigator 2.0 or MS Internet Explorer 3.0).

The big picture is this: An organization can put an NT server running EIC onto its corporate LAN and immediately gain the following:

  • a digital PBX—a full digital telephone system with features like ANI, DNIS, T1 support, and much more. Now the server is the telephone system.

  • a flexible ACD (automatic call distributor) capable of handling any number of call queues and complex routing schemes

  • a programmable IVR (interactive voice response) system with all the capabilities of the most expensive dedicated box

  • a voice mail system—in fact, complete multimedia messaging integrated with Microsoft Exchange

  • a fax server, also integrated with Exchange, offering not only desktop faxing but also fax-on-demand and fax broadcasting

  • a graphical application generator which allows administrators to easily describe how different interactions are to be handled and then automatically generates the necessary code

  • an interaction processor through which all interactions—internal and external, incoming and outgoing—flow

So far, we’ve eliminated the need for a whole passel of back office telephony equipment. Let’s go one step further. The client portion of the Enterprise Interaction Center is called (naturally enough) the Interaction Client. It acts as a graphical communications console through which users interact with the world. Now the computer is the telephone. Users can dial, hold, transfer, conference and so on using a graphical, drag-and-drop interface instead of trying to remember which keys to press on their telephone touchpads. They can still use either headsets or handsets in order to talk.


At the heart of the Interaction Server is an event-handling engine called the Interaction Processor (IP). Every imaginable event—a new incoming call, an outgoing fax, a Web page hit, a busy number, and so on—is tracked by the IP. As it detects these new events, the IP is capable of invoking interaction handlers. An interaction handler is an application designed especially to process a particular type of event. Handlers can perform myriad actions including playing voice prompts, detecting the entry of touch-tone digits, sending faxes, transferring calls, consulting databases, generating Web pages, and much more.

A tool called the Interaction Designer allows administrators to graphically construct interaction handlers by dragging and dropping steps (e.g. play a prompt; get the digits pressed) and tests (e.g. Did the caller press the ’1′ button?; Did the call come from the 317 area code?) and then drawing links among them. Once a handler is designed and tested, a Java applet is generated which embodies the logic expressed in the handler.

This use of Java is one of the key distinctions of the Interaction Processor (itself written in Java). This means that at the heart of the Enterprise Interaction Center is a highly efficient, multi-threaded engine which is capable of processing thousands of events every second. Not only that, this reliance on Java gives the EIC tremendous Internet capabilities as discussed in the next section. With its Java-based engine and built-in graphical development tool, the Enterprise Interaction Center can easily be customized to meet the most exacting needs. Additionally, its open architecture and extensive integration capabilities allow it to interface quickly with existing information systems.


By now it is abundantly clear that any next-generation communications platform must fully exploit the global Internet. Each week, thousands of new individuals and businesses are using the Internet and the World Wide Web to search for information, communicate, and even to shop. Organizations that don’t quickly move to incorporate the Internet into their internal and external communications will be left far behind.

The Enterprise Interaction Center was designed from the beginning to integrate seamlessly with the Internet and the World Wide Web. Its Java-centric architecture makes such integration both simple and powerful. Some of the Internet capabilities of the EIC include:

  • the ability to remotely retrieve all mail—including email, voice mail, and faxes—from anywhere in the world

  • the ability to remotely administer, configure, and monitor the Enterprise Interaction Center.

  • the ability to remotely supervise business interactions and the employees making those interactions. For example, a call center supervisor can see exactly what a particular agent or queue is doing thousands of miles away.

  • the ability to remotely run and view reports

  • the ability to make long-distance calls over the Internet and to hold, transfer, and conference those calls just like regular long-distance calls (version 2.0)

  • the ability to route faxes over the Internet—even those generated by standalone fax machines

Additionally, the Enterprise Interaction Center can easily be integrated with any World Wide Web server and used to automate Web events and generate Web pages. For example, a web site might have a page allowing a customer to log a problem and request a callback. After filling in the necessary information, the customer clicks on a “Submit” button. This button can be used to generate an event handled by the EIC. The handler, built graphically using the same tool used to create IVR pathways, might log the problem in a database, send an email to a supervisor, initiate a call back to the customer, and transfer the call to the next available operator. In fact, the same graphical handlers used for IVR scripts can be used for Web-based interactions—allowing the organization to reuse the same logic, regardless of the source of the interaction (e.g. telephone call, email, Web server, etc.). This ability to centralize the way that different types of interactions are handled greatly improves reliability and maintainability while permitting organizations to rapidly provide current services via new communications media.


In addition to the Internet integration discussed in the previous section, the Enterprise Interaction Center has excellent intranet capabilities. In essence, the EIC can be used as a departmental or enterprise-wide intranet server which can be accessed by any user running a Java-enabled browser. Such browser-based users can place calls, send voice mail, receive faxes, participate in call queues, and so on, regardless of where they are physically located. This makes possible the creation of virtual call centers and other distributed organizations. For example, a work-at-home employee connected over the Internet has exactly the same interaction capabilities as his or her office colleagues.


One of the main problems with CTI systems put together using different telephony boxes is that end-to-end reporting is extremely difficult. The unified architecture of the Enterprise Interaction Center greatly facilitates reporting over virtually any aspect of internal and external interactions.

The EIC has an integrated reporting component called the Interaction Reporter. Rather than simply building enormous data files and then allowing supervisors to run ad hoc reports, which saturate the network and bring the system to its knees, the Interaction Reporter builds reports incrementally—one interaction at a time. For example, if a report is needed which tracks incoming calls by area code, the Interaction Reporter will examine each incoming call and log it by area code. In effect, it builds the report on the fly—with each incoming call. When a supervisor asks for the report, the Interaction Reporter can provide the information instantly—without searching and sorting through a database. This approach not only makes obtaining reports much faster, but also tremendously reduces the impact of reporting on overall system performance. In addition to shipping with dozens of pre-defined reports that cover almost every aspect of internal and external communications (queues, lines, users, fax traffic, etc.), the EIC provides a graphical report painter which can be used to build almost any type of report imaginable—combing text, graphics, color, multiple fonts, and many other presentation capabilities.

In addition to its ability to generate reports, the EIC has another component called the Interaction Supervisor , which can be used to view performance in real time at any desired level of granularity. Supervisors can create a graphical desktop, which uses gauges, dials, charts, and other visual elements to display performance of any group (e.g. the call center) or individual. Thresholds can be defined in order to generate alerts (via pager, phone call, email, etc.) that are triggered whenever the threshold is exceeded. For example, a supervisor might create an alert to be triggered whenever all available lines were tied up or whenever a call center agent spent more than 30 minutes on a given call. This ability to create a real-time supervisory console allows supervisors to accurately track overall performance and to be made immediately aware of any potential problem.


The Enterprise Interaction Center is well designed for call center automation. Immediately upon installing the product, call centers can take advantage of a number of badly needed capabilities including:

  • interactive voice response with both ANI and DNIS detection

  • automatic call distribution with unlimited flexibility in terms of queue management and routing rules

  • screen pop with agents presented caller information at the same time they receive the call

  • queue selection which allows agents to pick customers from call queues

  • ad hoc reporting over any aspect of system activity

  • real-time supervision at the system, group, and individual levels

  • full Internet connectivity allowing on-line users to access the same services as telephone callers

  • complete fax support including fax-on-demand and fax broadcasting

In addition to these basic interaction capabilities, Interactive Intelligence makes available a number of applications tailored specifically for call centers including:

  • auto attendant with name-based lookup – allows callers or on-line users to locate a particular person or department

  • skills-based call routing – allows organizations to route calls to the groups or individuals best qualified to deal with them

  • appointment scheduling – allows callers or on-line users to make and change appointments without agent intervention

  • agent scripting – provides scripts which lead agents through different types of interactions

  • service referral – helps callers or on-line users locate the best provider of a given service (e.g. physician referral, dealer locator, etc.)

  • predictive dialing – helps to automate outbound dialing tasks

Since most call centers are part of much larger organizations, the EIC has facilities that allow it to interface with large enterprise PBXs from vendors such as Nortel, AT&T, and many others. This allows the call center to experience the best of both worlds, by having its own departmental interaction system while integrating well with the corporate phone system.


Small to medium-sized companies (under 1000 employees) can use the EIC to automate their entire enterprise. In other words, such companies can use the EIC instead of traditional telephone systems and related equipment. In this scenario, every employee interacts with the world by means of a workstation running either the Interaction Client or a Java-enabled Web browser. Immediately, the entire company has access to automation technology usually reserved for large corporations including:

  • interactive voice response

  • voice mail and multimedia messaging

  • automatic call distribution

  • desktop faxing

  • distributed operations via the Internet

  • music on hold – even personalized for specific callers

  • ad hoc reporting

Running the Interaction Client on employee workstations can offer a tremendous gain in productivity. For example, consider the problem of “telephone tag”. An employee places a call to an important prospect and leaves a message. He or she then gets on the phone to make another call. Meanwhile the prospect returns the call and must leave a message. The EIC eliminates this scenario by alerting the employee every time a call comes in—even if the employee is already on the phone. For each incoming call, a window pops up on the employee’s screen—telling who is calling and giving the employee a choice of taking the new call, sending it to voice mail, asking the caller to hold, transferring the call to another employee, etc. With the EIC, employees don’t have to miss important calls and can concentrate more on achieving business goals than on simply trying to connect with an elusive person.

With its flexible architecture and extreme customizability, the Enterprise Interaction Center makes it easy to automate key business processes that involve internal and/or external interactions. Requests for product information, customer problems, sales support, human resource services, automated claims systems—virtually any type of application in which human interaction is an essential element can be automated using the EIC.


The Enterprise Interaction Center facilitates the creation of distributed organizations in many different ways. First of all, it leverages the power of the Internet by allowing geographically dispersed individuals or groups to communicate almost as well as if they were all in the same building. For example, a person working at home with a standard telephone line and an Internet connection can perform exactly the same interaction management functions as a person sitting in the main office. He or she can perform telephone functions (e.g. dial, hold, transfer, conference), participate in call queues, view the real-time status of remote co-workers, receive mail (email, voice mail, fax), and so on just like local users.

Locations housing multiple remote users (e.g. remote sales offices, regional offices, etc.) can have their own EIC systems—all tied together back to the main corporate EIC. In this way, a regional office can have its own call processing capabilities (e.g. IVR, voice mail, etc.) and yet look to the outside world as part of the main organization. For example, call queues can be set up to automatically route calls to regional offices (or work-at-home individuals) whenever local agents are too busy. Such routing can take place instantaneously and in a fashion totally transparent to the caller. EIC’s ability to route long-distance calls over the Internet can be used to minimize the cost of such long-distance call distribution.


The Interaction Client is the portion of the Enterprise Interaction Center that runs on each user’s desktop PC. It is a graphical application that makes interacting with the world both easy and intuitive. The Interaction Client interface is designed around the concept of a notebook, with different types of information and capabilities grouped onto different pages, as shown below:

The main Interaction Client window is a notebook consisting of eight pages—Telephone, Queues, Users, Stations, Lines, Workgroups, Reports, and Configuration. By far the most important page is the one labeled “Telephone”. It is from this page that users place calls, answer new calls, transfer calls to other employees, and so on.

At the top of the Telephone page you can see:

  • a combo box used to enter phone numbers and to select recently dialed numbers

  • a “Make Call” button which causes the desired number to be dialed

  • a “Conference” button which can be used to initiate conference calls

The middle section of the Telephone page contains a notebook in which each page represents a call queue. The first page shows the user’s current calls—calls holding for that user, new calls coming in, etc. Other pages represent calls to be processed by one or more groups to which the user belongs (e.g. customer support, marketing, etc.).

The middle of the page contains a combo box, which the user can use to indicate his or her current operational status. This status is then reflected throughout the system. For instance, if a user’s status is “In a Meeting”, the system won’t even bother to ring his or her phone when a new call comes in—and it can even be configured to tell the caller when the user expects to be out of the meeting.

The bottom section of the Telephone page contains another notebook in which each page represents a list of people. Pages can contain company directories, personal directories, workgroup rosters, speed dial lists, and many other collections of people.

Now that we’ve looked a bit at the Telephone page, let’s examine how users interact with it to perform common functions:

  • Placing calls. Users can place new calls in a variety of ways. First, they can simply type a phone number (or internal extension number) into the combo box at the top of the page and click on “Make Call”. They can also choose a previously dialed number from the same combo box and dial it. Also, users can quickly dial any of the people listed in the bottom notebook simply by clicking on the appropriate page and then double-clicking on the entry for the desired person (or group). In addition, the user’s telephone handset can be used to dial. As soon as the user picks up the phone, an outgoing call window opens on the workstation.

  • Taking new calls. Whenever a user receives a new call, his or her screen will “pop” open a new window which tells what is known about the caller (e.g. phone number, name, address, etc.). The information in this window is highly configurable and can even contain a picture of the caller. The user can process the new call in a variety of ways simply by clicking on one of the buttons within the new call window. If the user is currently on another call, he or she can elect to hold the current call and answer the new one, drop the current call and answer the new one, ask the new caller to wait, send the new call to voice mail, etc. This ability to see who’s calling in—even if you’re already on the phone—is an important advance over conventional phone systems and greatly reduces costly “phone tag”.

  • Transferring calls. Call transfer is a brilliantly simple drag-and-drop operation. Just drag a call from the “Calls” notebook and drop it onto a person in the “People” notebook. Instantly, the caller will be connected with the desired person. Note that this works regardless of whether the person selected to receive the call is simply at another extension in the same office or at another phone number halfway around the world.

  • Conferencing calls together. Call conferencing—an operation which all too few users ever master with conventional phone systems—is ridiculously easy with the Interaction Client . Just drag one or more calls (from any page in the Calls notebook) and/or one or more people (from any page in the People notebook) and drop them onto the “Conference” button. The first time you do this, a “virtual conference room” window will open up showing the conference call participants and their current status. At the bottom of this window, you will see a “Connect” button. When you’re ready to connect all the indicated parties together, just click on this button. Calls will be initiated to the necessary people and all participants will be conference together—without any further user intervention.

The basic functions of the other pages of the Interaction Client are summarized below.

  • Queues – shows the status of each queue (e.g. customer service, technical support, etc.), the calls currently on that queue (active or on hold), and various relevant statistics. From this page, a supervisor can see everything that’s happening on a particular queue. Also, a supervisor can record or listen in on any call.

  • Users – shows the status of each user (e.g. Available, In a Meeting, At Lunch, etc.) as well as whether the user is currently on the phone. For a user on the phone, a supervisor can see who he or she is talking to, for how long, etc. The supervisor can also record or listen in on the call.

  • Stations – shows the status of each physical workstation. A user can log in at any workstation. The “Stations” page allows a supervisor to see who is logged in at a particular station and what telephone activity is happening there.

  • Lines – shows the call activity on each line in real time. A supervisor can see which call is on each line, who’s doing the talking, and so on. This page also presents a number of summary statistical items as well.

  • Reports – provides a list of reports which may be run to obtain information on virtually any aspect of the system.

  • Configuration – allows an end user to configure various elements of his or her interface (e.g. whether to open a new window for each incoming call, etc.).

The Interaction Client was designed with the following principles in mind:

  • Simplicity. All operations are natural and obvious. Drag and drop is extensively employed in order to make even complex operations such as call conferencing as easy as possible.

  • Efficiency. Since many users will spend a large portion of every day using the application, great pains were taken to keep to an absolute minimum the number of keystrokes and mouse clicks required for common operations.

  • Real-time information. One type of page available in the “People” notebook is a “work group” page. This page displays the current status of each member of a given group (e.g. technical support). By viewing this page, users can see at a glance who’s available, who’s on the phone, who’s out of the office, etc. Supervisors can use such pages to track individual and group performance and even to monitor individual calls.

  • Configurability. The application gives tremendous flexibility to administrators and users in terms of appearance and function. For example, pages can be dragged from one notebook to another. In fact, users can even create whole new notebooks in other windows and drag pages into them. Users can select between icon and list views for calls or people. Administrators can “lock” the Client to only display certain pages in order to ensure that all members of a given group have the same interface.


As explained earlier, fundamentally EIC’s main job is simply to process different events. Whenever an event is detected—an incoming phone call, an outgoing fax, a click on a button on a Web page, etc.—EIC executes a set of instructions which describe how to respond to that particular event. That set of instructions is called a handler. EIC can make use of handlers to perform a variety of tasks including:

  • implementing outgoing call dial plans

  • IVR scripting for incoming calls

  • intelligently distributing incoming calls

  • routing inbound faxes

  • providing fax-on-demand and fax broadcasting services

  • responding automatically to email messages

  • deciding what information to include in reports

  • allowing Internet users to “chat” in real-time with call center agents

  • many, many more

One of the most radical aspects of EIC is that all these tasks can be performed using a single tool—Interaction Designer. Interaction Designer is a graphical application generator—a tool which can be used to visually create and debug handlers.

To create a handler, you first need to indicate the initiator—that is, the event that the new handler will take care of. EIC provides a wide range of initiators for incoming calls, outgoing calls, in and out/bound faxes, emails, call transfers, etc. An initiator provides all information known about the associated event. For example, an outgoing call initiator tells what number was being dialed, who dialed it, and so on./p>

Once an initiator is chosen, a handler author simply chooses a tool from Interaction Designer’s tool palette and drags it into a workspace. EIC ships with a large number of tools covering telephony, fax, email, Internet, list processing, string manipulation, file i/o, database operations, and much more. Each tool has properties, which can be set by right-clicking on the rectangle which represents the tool. From there, all that remains is to link tools together to create a logical flow. Part of a handler for outgoing calls is shown below.

Once a handler has been created, the next step is to publish it. Publishing a handler causes the following actions:

Interaction Designer generates a Java application, which embodies the logic represented by the handler.

The new Java application is loaded by EIC and actually executed for the next occurrence of the designated event. If an older version of the handler exists, EIC will get rid of it after the last event currently being serviced by the older handler is processed.

Interaction Designer even offers advanced functionality such as subroutines and includes a symbolic debugger. Using these facilities, handler authors can create and maintain applications that would be far too complex for traditional PBXs, ACDs, and VRUs.

Interaction Designer was engineered around the following design points:

  • Ease of use. The basic notions of Interaction Designer should be familiar to anyone used to graphical development tools such as Visual Basic. Interaction Designer even goes one step beyond such tools by eliminating the need to learn a programming language—instead allowing logic to be described in terms of a graphical flow chart.

  • Expressive power. Even with its simple drag-and-drop interface, Interaction Designer allows an organization to automate virtually any aspect of its business communications. Much of the power is encapsulated in a treasure-trove of ready-made tools, which cover everything from telephone calls to the Internet. Interaction Designer also provides a syntax-driven expression editor which offers advanced features such as string manipulation, date and time calculations, mathematical functions, and much more.

  • Extensibility. Customers and partners can quickly and easily create new tools and add them to the Interaction Designer tool palette. Using third-generation programming languages such as C, C++, and Delphi, programmers can create new tools (as DLLs) and make them available to handler authors. This inherent extensibility allows 3rd parties to tap into the power of EIC’s event-processing engine for a variety of different applications, and to tightly integrate EIC into an existing information system infrastructure.


Many aspects of EIC can be customized without creating or modifying handlers. EIC includes a graphical administrative console called Interaction Administrator, which is similar to the administrative applications included with Microsoft Exchange and Windows NT. By simply changing settings in dialog boxes, administrators can implement security, add new lines, define end-user skills, and much more.

Interaction Administrator eases the job of administering EIC in a large organization by allowing security, and even the client interface, to be configured hierarchically. That is, decide that something should be done the same way for everyone in the company, or differently for different groups, or even differently for each user.

The information maintained by Interaction Administrator is actually stored in the Windows NT registry and is cached for optimal performance. Changes in many parameters are immediately propagated to EIC and client workstations without requiring a system restart.


Every organization is, or should be, looking for ways to improve its internal and external communications. The Enterprise Interaction Center represents a dramatic departure from the current ad hoc approach toward communications. When compared to the collection of proprietary telephony devices that most large organizations use today, the EIC offers several advantages including:

  • an open systems approach, which makes it easy to customize the product and to integrate it with corporate information systems

  • a comprehensive set of interaction services, which allow for the elimination of many older, proprietary pieces of telephony equipment

  • the ability to monitor telephony systems and applications using standard network management tools and techniques

  • the elimination of various boundaries (e.g. between ACD and VRU) that make difficult true end-to-end reporting

  • the ability to grow simply by adding cards to a Windows NT server—without having to worry about expanding and reconfiguring multiple proprietary devices

  • the ability to quickly and easily offer services to remote users over the Internet

  • the reduction of long-distance costs by routing some voice calls and faxes over the Internet

  • the ability to create distributed organizations which tie together work-at-home employees, regional offices, and other remote organizations

  • greatly increased end-user productivity


  • What hardware and software do we need in order to use the Enterprise Interaction Center?
    You need to have a local area network running TCP/IP. You also need to have a server running Microsoft Exchange. The EIC will run on its own server (or on another server for small organizations) under Windows NT Server 4.0. The server must contain the necessary Dialogic voice processing boards.

  • What are the client requirements for the EIC?
    Client workstations must be running either Windows 95 or Windows NT Workstation 4.0. Interactive Intelligence is preparing a Java version of Interaction Client , which will be able to run on any Java-enabled machine (e.g. Mac, Unix, etc.).

  • Can users still use their old telephones?
    Yes, if their telephones are analog. EIC does not work with digital handsets. EIC also works with headsets as well.

  • Is any special hardware required on the client workstations?

  • Can I have a phone someplace (e.g. a conference room) without a computer?
    Yes. Such phones can still be used to make and take calls just as they are today.

  • Isn’t it unsafe to put the telephone system on a server?
    Not anymore. Many companies offer fault-tolerant server machines. These machines feature error-correcting memory, duplicate power supplies, redundant disk drives, and many other features designed expressly for mission-critical applications such as telephony. Using such hardware, LAN servers can be just as reliable as dedicated telephone systems.

  • What size of organization can EIC handle?
    Today, EIC is targeted at organizations of 250 or fewer people at a given location. However, multiple EIC servers can be used to handle larger organizations.

  • What if our department wishes to use the EIC, but the rest of the corporation stays on a legacy PBX?
    The EIC can interface to most large switches—thus acting as a departmental interaction system.

  • How will the EIC work with our existing fax machines?
    The EIC can route incoming faxes to your dedicated fax machines as desired.

  • Do you have any plans to incorporate video in the future?
    Interactive Intelligence is in active discussion with several video conferencing providers regarding the possible integration of their video services directly within the EIC.

  • Does the EIC have any international support?
    The EIC has been implemented using Unicode, which means that it is ready for nationalization. Interactive Intelligence plans to offer both French and Spanish versions of the product before the end of 1997.