|Panasonic uses the term "Voice Processing
System" to designate a multi-purpose box providing a long list of versatile features
in four basic categories: automated attendant, voice mail, interview, and "custom
service," which almost lets you design your own machine. The KX-TVS
compatible with any phone system that will work with single-line phones, but they really
shine when connected to a Panasonic digital Super Hybrid (KX-TD308, 816 or 1232).
Installation is much easier than with Panasonic's previous KX-TVP150 voice
processor. The new models can be open for business within an hour of hanging-up and
plugging-in, they cost less and have some very cute new features.
In their robot receptionist role, the new voice
processors answer incoming calls, and direct them to the proper department or person. VBPs
(Very Busy People) can set-up Call Blocking to dump all callers into voice mail. VBPs who
are expecting a call from a VIP, will like Live Call Screening (which works only with the
digital control units). You can listen-in as people leave voice mail for you, and if it's
someone you want to talk to, you use the old answering machine call-screening scam, with
appropriate sound effects: "Oh, hi, Mr. President... (huff, puff)...I just got in
and... (wheeze, wheeze)... heard you leaving a message and...(huff, puff, wheeze,
wheeze)...I'm real glad I got here in time to catch you."
But, if the caller is a pest from Amalgamated International
Consolidated Mutual Funds & Bargain Fax Paper, Inc., "Screened Call
Transfer" will send him to talk to the robot, or perhaps to a real lonely human being
on your staff who is in desperate need of human contact.
If you're in your enterprise but not in your office, this
electrified pest can even make a paging announcement through phones or a PA system: "I
have a call for Mrs. Freenbeen!" If you hear the announcement, you pick up any
phone, dial a code, and get your call. This feature can be set to work automatically, or
you can give callers the option to select paging or voice mail if you don't answer your
Cyber-Sherlock will find you
For voice mail, the systems have up to 1096 password-protected
mailboxes, each holding up to 100 messages. After receiving a message, the VPS becomes
Cyber-Sherlock, the super-smart electronic tracker-downer. First, it activates the Message
Waiting light on your phone. Next, it can make your pocket pager beep you (or vibrate you,
if that's more appropriate or more fun). The pager's screen will tell you that you have
waiting voice mail, and can display the actual phone number of the person who called you.
If you got called from someone within your enterprise, it can show the intercom number.
And after that, it can call you at home or in your car or in a hotel room or at any phone
in the world, to deliver your Vmail. The three notification attempts can be programmed to
work in a specified sequence. For example, if you don't respond to the light on the phone,
the KX-TVS box will beep you; and if you don't call in after being beeped, it will try to
call you at a designated phone.
Electronic Interrogator will quiz you
In the Interview mode, you can have a mailbox set up to deliver up
to ten questions and record the answers. Use it for taking orders for products, recording
requests for service appointments, collecting suggestions from employees and customers,
conducting surveys, even conducting trivia contests or having electronic elections.
When combined with one of Panasonic's digital super hybrid systems,
a VS75, VS100 or VS200 becomes the ultimate note-taker. Just as an inexpensive tape-based
answering machine can tape-record both sides of a conversation, the Voice Processor's hard
drive will record -- without tape -- even several simultaneous conversations. If you're
being threatened by a heavy breather or being offered the deal-of-the-century, you can
capture it for perpetuity by tapping a phone button. The conversation can be kept in your
own mail box, or sent to another box. A complicated conversation between a caller and your
receptionist can become an accurate message if it's sent to your box; or, if you
make a super deal, you can transfer a recording of the negotiation to impress your boss.
If you're being harassed by a co-worker, transfer the "tape" to the director of
human resources. If Dial-A-Joke is particularly funny, pass the yucks around the office.
The possibilities are endless. (At least until the hard drive get filled.)
It will send messages even when you can't
External Message Delivery service is very cute. If you're going on a
vacation or business trip, or expect to be kidnapped or murdered, you can pre-record a
message and specify the phone number to be called and its delivery date and time. You can
even program-in a password, so the message about the hidden key to the safe can reach your
spouse, but not the cleaning lady. If the designated phone number is busy, the call will
be redialed up to 15 times. If you want to deliver some final words to your co-workers, or
make a simple announcement about a holiday closing, new dress code, sales contest winner,
new VeePee or a corporate victory, Group Delivery lets you quickly send the same message
to multiple mailboxes by specifying box numbers or a pre-determined distribution list
It's hard to describe "Custom Service," because it doesn't
exist until you create it, and you can make it almost anything you want. Basically, it
allows you to assign any of 14 different functions to a button on a touch-tone pad. After
hearing the opening greeting, a caller can navigate though a hierarchy of
functions...receiving information, leaving voice mail, talking to live human beings,
accessing the PA system, taking a survey, ordering pizza, complaining about pizza,
learning about job openings and monthly specials, getting travel directions, leaving
suggestions, and more. Up to 100 custom scripts can be created, and made available to
whichever phone lines you choose. One voice processor sitting on top of one phone system,
can conduct several very different businesses, at one time.
Bilingual is no big deal -- this is trilingual!
A VP system can speak three different languages. If comes off the
plane from Japan speaking fluent English, but you can record phrases in your choice of two
other tongues. The opening greeting can be set-up to allow the caller to pick the language
he or she is most comfortable in, and you can even program different incoming phone lines
to be answered in different languages -- great for a multi-ethnic law practice or medical
You can kiss fax\voice switches and dedicated fax lines goodbye. The
voice processor has built-in CNG tone recognition. When the tone is detected from an
incoming fax, the call will be sent to the fax machine or fax modem. If someone has not
called you back after you left some Vmail, and you suspect you are being ignored, you can
easily check to see if the message was received. If it was, you'll also learn the date it
was received. If it was not received, you can leave it in place for the mailbox owner, or
erase it. If you've been away from your Vmail box for awhile and the messages have really
stacked up, use the Scan mode to hear just the first four seconds of each message, so you
can quickly grab the important mail, and hear the rest at your leisure.
- Installation is a breeze, especially when a Voice Processor is mated
to a Digital Super Hybrid phone system. After a little bit of keyboarding, the "Quick
Set-Up" utility lets Voice Processor and phone system exchange information to
automate many of the programming parameters.
- Interconnection is as simple as you can imagine. A modular line cord,
connected to the data pair of a phone port in a Panasonic Digital Super Hybrid, will carry
two simultaneous conversations plus data interchanges, just like an ISDN phone
line can carry multiple voice and data transmissions.
- When the Voice Processor and phone system communicate over a data
pair, all the status and switching information is transferred "out-of-band."
Hardware can talk to hardware at the same time that human talks to human. And instead of
using time-wasting sequences of flashes, pauses and tones, there is an
almost-instantaneous burst of data, which allows a high degree of feature flexibility, and
extremely fast call transferring.
- A serial connector allows you to easily connect a PC for programming
features, and to download various kinds of reports on human and machine activities. If the
V-Processor is connected to an external modem, you can check in from anywhere to make
changes and find out what's going on.
by Michael N.