Browse Prior Art Database

Voice Augmented Menu Automated Telephone Response System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000114804D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-29
Document File: 6 page(s) / 242K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Kreitzer, SS: AUTHOR

Abstract

Described is a technique to provide a Voice Augmented Menu (VAM) automated telephone response system that permits the text of Voice Response Unit (VRU) menus to be displayed onto modified telephone sets. The implementation is designed to enable a caller to navigate through complex tree menus by providing both an audible menu prompt as well as a display of the text. Several option additions are also presented.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 29% of the total text.

Voice Augmented Menu Automated Telephone Response System

      Described is a technique to provide a Voice Augmented Menu
(VAM) automated telephone response system that permits the text of
Voice Response Unit (VRU) menus to be displayed onto modified
telephone sets.  The implementation is designed to enable a caller to
navigate through complex tree menus by providing both an audible menu
prompt as well as a display of the text.  Several option additions
are also presented.

      Typically, businesses are utilizing automated call handling
equipment, commonly referred to as VRUs, where the caller is
presented with a recorded voice which describes various menu options.
Requests are made to the caller to respond with key depressions so as
to cause the system to route a call, or to perform programmed
functions.  While some VRU systems present the caller with a few
easily memorized options, many systems present the user with a large
number of options.  For example, the first menu might contain as many
as a dozen choices such that when one of option is selected, the user
is often faced with another menu of options.  The complexity of the
menu structures is often unavoidable in VRU implementations and can
easily frustrate the callers.

      The disclosed concept is designed to assist the callers by
simultaneously providing both an audible menu prompt as well as a
display of the menu on a screen built into the phoneset (PS).
Although the idea of combining text and audible prompts is not new,
prior art implementations required special telephone systems which
usually employed non-standard, or proprietary, interfaces between the
PS and a PBX switch, or central office.  The VAM automated telephone
response system, described herein, eliminates the need for special
interface systems.

      Fig. 1 shows a block diagram of the VAM automated response
system.  Within the telephone, microprocessor 10 monitors keypad 11
so as to drive alphanumeric display 12 and to control the general
operation.  Modem 13 is used to receive the menus and to control
information from the VRU for storage in Random Access Memory (RAM).
DTMF tones for dialing and other functions are provided by DTMF tone
generator block 14.  Telephone audio from the line passes through
hybrid 15, two and four wire adapter, and is switched by
microprocessor 10 to either handset 16 or to modem 13.  By using this
method, a properly equipped VRU system will transmit, both the text
of the voice menus and cause the menus to be presented on an
alphanumeric display, to the caller's phone by using existing analog
phone lines and facilities in the callers phone.

      Table 1 shows a typical operational interaction between a user,
PS, and VRU during VAM operation.  The vertical axis represents time.
First, the caller dials the VRU in the usual fashion.  The calling PS
will monitor the progress of the call, first the outgoing DTMF
digits, then the ringing tones, and finally t...