Within the smorgasbord of product categories of technologies used in call centres, the term computer telephony integration, or CTI, is a major one. CTI has long been widely understood to refer specifically to a category of software that was interfaced to the PABX, to the agents desktops and possibly to the enterprise computers. This software enables computing and telephony applications to be integrated to deliver such well-known applications as screen population (screen pop), screen transfer with call transfer, screen/keyboard dialling and call routing, the last not to be confused with off-switch ACD. In addition to being a category of software product, CTI also refers to the specific interface between the server in which CTI software is invariably installed and the telephone system and the protocol used for this interface.
The more recent of LAN-based and PC-based telephone systems, many of which offer an integral CTI capability, has lead to some confusion about the term CTI and given rise in some quarters to the ambiguous term computer telephony or CT. Some such systems, indeed, offer an integral CTI capability, although sometimes the CTI capability is more that of personal CTI than enterprise CTI, yet although there is no physical integration of components to be done, the applications must still be integrated.
LAN-based and PC-based telephone systems are beyond the scope of this update report, as are such product categories as audio call recording systems, predictive diallers, collaborative browsing software, CRM software and e-mail management software which, although they may include a CTI capability are not, per se, CTI products.
For a detailed analysis of the use of CTI by such products, as well as a directory of the products available in the European market, the reader is referred to the 2003 report.