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Browse Prior Art Database

Touchtone Directory Assistance Operator Knowledge Base Lookahead

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000113189D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-27
Document File: 4 page(s) / 121K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Rosenbaum, W: AUTHOR

Abstract

The fastest grow segment of business and consumer electronics are related to telephony applications. By making telephone instruments portable and ubiquitous automobile accessories, the need for fast accurate directory assistance has risen. Less telephone user sceneries have telephone book at arm's reach. To meet user needs for quick accurate aid in finding residential an business listings, in recent years a number of system have debuted such as IBM Directory Assistance Service (DAS) which provide special purpose software and terminals to efficiently access "white" and "yellow" pages directories. The DAS system uses human operators. While DAS increasing productivity beyond previous "paper bound" methods, the high overhead of terminal operators makes it an expensive service.

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Touchtone Directory Assistance Operator Knowledge Base Lookahead

      The fastest grow segment of business and consumer electronics
are related to telephony applications.  By making telephone
instruments portable and ubiquitous automobile accessories, the need
for fast accurate directory assistance has risen.  Less telephone
user sceneries have telephone book at arm's reach.  To meet user
needs for quick accurate aid in finding residential an business
listings, in recent years a number of system have debuted such as IBM
Directory Assistance Service (DAS) which provide special purpose
software and terminals to efficiently access "white" and "yellow"
pages directories.  The DAS system uses human operators.  While DAS
increasing productivity beyond previous "paper bound" methods, the
high overhead of terminal operators makes it an expensive service.
For many Telecoms, the customer charge per inquiry exceeds $1.00 with
only minimal margin to the operating company.

      Many PBX systems, meant for corporate use, have a facility for
directory inquiry driven by keystroke entry from the DTMF touchtone
pad.  These facilities work only for a limited, relatively small,
directory and have no effective way of resolving multiple listing
under the same last name or business category and for resolving the
inevitable "alaising" where distinct alphabetic strings map into the
same touchtone sequence and are indistinguishable from a directory
lookup key standpoint.  An alternative offered by some Telecom is a
small specialised terminal such as the French Minitel system.  With
Minitel a user can enter an inquiry using a standard layout QWERTY
keyboard and display.  With Minitel the user becomes their own DAS
operator.  The service is costly per inquiry.  The ability of the
average users to search with the accuracy of a DAS professional
operator is questionable and the service is not useful to someone
using a mobile phone.

      This paper presents an improved and more flexible method of
residential and business phone number inquiry entitled "Touchtone
Directory Assistance Service (TDAS)".

TDAS enables a person to use the touchtone phone buttons with the
standard equiliance of:

2 = ABC

3 = DEF

:    :

:    :

      To enter the spelling of the listing being sought the user keys
the equivalent touchtoner.  TDAS then interpits the touchtones does a
last  name  directory  search  where the file is ordered by touchtone
key.  Then the desired listing is found from  multiple  listing  with
the  same  last name and/or other last names that have been retrieved
due to the "alaising" of alphabetically spelled last names (a base 26
set of symbols)  when  mapped  to  "touchtone"  (a  base  10  set  of
symbols).

      A  network switch directs specially dialed directory assistance
calls to the TDAS system which resides  in  a  processor  such  as  a
RS/6000.    The  system  decodes  the touchtones and d...