Introducing the Envoy™ soft phone! Now the power of the Envoy server framework can be extended to either a desktop or an enterprise server with equal ease of use! In the last issue the new platform independent Envoy server was highlighted and the advanced architecture was defined as an extensible and scalable data centric framework. The concept of “connectivity components” was briefly covered as well as how the framework’s flexible design allows for one or many connectivity components to be run / accessed simultaneously. In this issue, let’s take a look at how a single connectivity component (referred to as an Envoy “plug in”) can be used by a client of the Envoy framework.
First let us review what a plug in of the Envoy framework is and how it works. Simply put a plug in is a “library” of data access, event escalation, and monitoring routines to a backend system. The Envoy framework loads the plug ins as needed per the configuration – completely under the control of the end user and his or her requirements. So in the example of a Computer Telephony Interface (CTI) plug in, the back end would be a telephony switch, otherwise known as a private branch exchange (PBX). The CTI plug in thus would be capable of sending CTI commands to the backend PBX and receiving events from the PBX. An example of a CTI command is a call control operation such as “transfer call” or “hang up”. An example of a CTI event is a “notification” like the PBX alerting us that a port is “ringing” or an agent status has changed to “ready”. So in the scenario where call control or port / agent monitoring is needed, the Envoy server would be configured to load a CTI plug in to communicate with the PBX.
Now let us move on to the client side of this same CTI scenario. The Envoy soft phone would be used as the graphical “front end” or user interface to the CTI functionality. So in this example, a call center wants all of the agents to be able to control phone functionality from a “soft” phone application running on the desktop machine. The soft phone therefore needs to receive CTI events from the PBX – so the call center agent could visibly be notified that a phone line status is “ringing” for instance, and then the soft phone needs to issue CTI commands to the PBX – so the agent could answer the ringing phone line. So in effect, the soft phone uses all the power and control built into the CTI plug in (running in the Envoy server) from any remote agent desktop! In addition, the same application running on the agent desktop that allows the soft phone to work can be connected to one or many data sources via the Envoy server to coordinate a “screen pop” of relevant data associated with the call when the agent answers the phone.
Sounds great! But how does the soft phone control things in the Envoy server? The Envoy soft phone takes advantage of a common layer (called the Envoy client) to communicate with the Envoy server. The Envoy client is a powerful yet lightweight component built to be used in a thick or thin client application and it can be deployed in Citrix environments as well. The Envoy soft phone can therefore be deployed in the same environments. The Envoy™ client is in fact a library with a very easy to use Application Programming Interface (API). By utilizing the API, a developer can implement a custom user interface; in fact the Envoy soft phone was built using the Envoy client API. Best of all, the Envoy client handles all the complexities of network protocol, message multiplexing, and routing automatically between the Envoy server and client so the application developer only has to concentrate on his or her area of expertise and still control all the power of the Envoy framework through that one same simple API. The Envoy client can run with or without a user interface – so take advantage of the Envoy soft phone or write your own user interface to run on a desktop system. Or just use the Envoy client directly without any front end and use the API to serve as a powerful data conduit between the Envoy server and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) unit or any other enterprise wide application with data dependencies! The choice is yours and the possibilities are endless.
Sound interesting? Call your VEXIS Account Consultant to learn more about how Envoy can be a powerful solution to making your data convenient to you. You can also visit our website to learn more.
Richard Wolff, Director of Software Applications