|Publication number||USRE34536 E|
|Application number||US 07/545,058|
|Publication date||Feb 8, 1994|
|Filing date||Jun 28, 1990|
|Priority date||Sep 11, 1986|
|Also published as||US4817130|
|Publication number||07545058, 545058, US RE34536 E, US RE34536E, US-E-RE34536, USRE34536 E, USRE34536E|
|Inventors||James J. Frimmel, Jr.|
|Original Assignee||International Telesystems Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (9), Non-Patent Citations (2), Referenced by (27), Classifications (8), Legal Events (8)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 905,959, filed Sep. 11, 1986, now abandoned.
The present invention relates to call management systems and particularly to systems having local processors and private exchanges which display call information on operators' terminals and connect voice lines to the operators' stations for predialed calls as operators become available.
Telemarketing systems or call management systems sequentially select telephone numbers, capture a line, generate DTMF signals, supply the signals to the line and listen for call progress tones such as a busy signal or ringing as well as presence of human voice. Upon an indication that a telephone has been answered, such as in the absence of such tones, or when human voice is detected, the system starts a selected stored message, and transfers the call to a station operator upon the completion of the message. At the same time, the system displays the caller record at the operator's terminal.
A need exists to permit such a system to interface with a mainframe computer for retrieving stored records of persons to be called and for updating the records with operator and local processor control, using the preferred synchronous, full-screen mainframe protocols.
A call management system takes records from a mainframe computer. A protocol converter converts the SNA/SDLC standard IBM communications protocol, or other synchronous data output from the mainframe for use on asynchronous terminals. A number of port controllers are connected to the protocol converter in parallel and three asynchronous terminals are connected to each port controller. A local processor controls the connection of the terminals to the local processor or to the mainframe system by sending special function codes during transmissions from the local processor to a terminal. Each terminal has a special programmed function key downloaded from the local processor which enables the terminal to switch the connection back from the host mainframe to the local processor. The protocol converter converts asynchronous signals to synchronous signals to address and update records in the mainframe computer storage.
The line control unit contains call progress tone recognition apparatus and audio record/playback apparatus and timing apparatus and automatic dialing apparatus, which provides DTMF signals through a telephone switching means to trunks leading from the local switching means to dial individual numbers, recognize call progress tones or voice, begin playback of a message on an answered line and switch the line to an operator's station upon completion of the recorded message.
A call management system apparatus according to the present invention has a local switching means, plural truck lines connected to the local switching means and a line control unit (LCU). Plural lines are connected between the line control unit and the local switching means. Plural lines are connected between the operator stations and the line control unit. A control line is connected between the local processor and the line control unit for controlling the line control unit. A peripheral line is connected between the local processor and a printer or other peripheral device. Plural ports are connected to the local processor. Plural terminals are located at the plural stations. Plural terminal lines are connected between the terminals and a port controller. Plural processor port lines are connected between the port controller and the local processor. Plural data lines are connected between the protocol converter and the port controller. A multiplexed data line is connected between the mainframe computer and the protocol converter.
In the preferred call management system apparatus, the line control unit has means for switching communication lines between the local switching means and the station lines.
Preferably, the local processor controls switching by the LCU.
In the preferred call management system apparatus, the LCU has digital voice record/playback means for recording and playing back a message over the trunk lines.
Preferably, the port controller controls connections of the terminal lines to the data lines between the port controller and the protocol converter and to the processor lines between the port controller and the local processor.
Preferably, the protocol converter converts asynchronous terminal input to SNA/SDLC or binary synchronous signals for use by the mainframe computer.
In the preferred call management system apparatus, the protocol converter converts synchronous data output sent from a mainframe computer to an asynchronous terminal input, and vice versa.
One embodiment of a preferred call management system apparatus has a number of port controllers and a protocol converter, plural data lines connected between the protocol converter and the port controllers and a data link for connecting the protocol converter to a mainframe computer. Plural processor lines connect the port controllers to a local processor, and plural terminal lines connect the port controller to plural terminals. The processor controls connections between the mainframe computer, the protocol converter, the port controllers and the local processor, and the processor controls the connections between the local processor, the controller and the terminals.
The preferred call management system apparatus further has a line control unit connected to the local processor, plural station lines connected to the LCU, local switching means, plural lines connected between the local switching means and the LCU and plural trunk lines connected to the local switching means.
In one preferred call management system apparatus, the local processor has means for playing a recorded message for providing voice signals to the LCU and thus to the called party. The local processor has DTMF signal generation means for generating DTMF signals and providing DTMF signals to the LCU. The local processor has tone recognition means for recognizing tones from lines connected to the LCU. The local processor has timing means connected to the LCU for starting and timing a message from the digital playback unit and for controlling the connection of the lines to the station lines following the message time interval.
In the preferred call management system apparatus of the present invention, the local processor has means for controlling the port controllers to control connection of the terminals to the local processor or to the protocol converter.
Preferably, in the call management system apparatus, the local processor has means for sending special function codes to the terminals, and the terminals have function keys enabled by said means to switch the port controllers connections back from the protocol converter to the local processor.
Preferably, the port controllers have a port controller for each terminal, local processor serial port, and protocol converter serial port. Each port controller is connected to the protocol converter, to the local processor and to terminals.
The preferred call management system method provides control signals from asynchronous terminals through terminal lines to port controllers, provides control signals from the port controllers through processor lines to a local processor, sends control signals from the local processor through the lines to the port controllers and sends control signals from the port controllers through data lines to a protocol converter. Control signals are converted in the protocol converter from asynchronous terminal signals to synchronous data signals. The data signals are sent to a mainframe computer via a data link. The local processor switches the port controller here. Records signals are sent from the mainframe computer via the data link to the protocol converter, which converts the records signals from synchronous signals to asynchronous terminal signals containing records information. The signals containing records information are sent via the data lines to the port controllers. The records information signals flow to the asynchronous terminals via the terminal lines.
The preferred call management system method controls the terminals with the local processor to connect the terminals through the port controllers to the protocol converter and controls the terminals with the local processor to enable the terminals to switch the connection back from the protocol converter to the local processor.
These and other and further objects and features of the invention are apparent in the disclosure which includes the specification with the above and ongoing description and claims and the drawings.
FIG. 1 is an overall schematic of the call management system of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a schematic detail of the three port controllers.
FIG. 3 is a schematic detail of parts and functions of the local processor.
Referring to FIG. 1, a call management system is generally indicated by the numeral 1. Terminals 2 are connected by a plurality of terminal lines 4 to port controllers 6. Port controllers 6 are connected by a like plurality of data lines 8 to a protocol converter 10. Protocol converter 10 is connected by a data link 12 to a mainframe computer 14. Port controllers 6 is also connected by processor lines 16 to serial ports 18 of local processor 20. Processor 20 is connected by a control line 22 to line control unit 24. A plurality of station lines 26 are connected to operator headsets which include earphones and microphones at stations 28, where terminals 2 are located. The line control unit 24 is connected via a similar plurality of lines 30 to a local switching means 32 which is connected to external trunks 36. Preferably, the line control unit 24 and the local switching means are integrated in a single control and switching unit 34 as shown in dashed lines.
Preferably, line control unit 24 has DTMF dialing tone generators, call progress tone and voice recognition means for recognizing ringing, busy, intercept and other tones and voice to recognize when a phone has been answered. The preferred line control unit also has voice recording and reproducing means for storing and delivering messages.
As shown in FIG. 2, the preferred port controllers 6 are constructed of a number of parallel connected port controllers 6', each of which is connected via terminal lines 4' to terminals 2'. Data lines 8' connect each port controller 6' to the protocol converter 10. Processor lines 16' connect each port controller 6' to local processor 20.
As shown in FIG. 3, the local processor 20 has storage, switching and processing functions which flow information to and control the port controllers and the terminals and the protocol converter and which receive information and control signals from the terminals and which receive information signals from the protocol converter.
In the preferred embodiment of the invention, as shown in FIG. 1, a supervisory terminal 42 is connected to the local processor 20 and a peripheral line 38 connects a peripheral device 40, in this case a printer, to the processor.
The particular combination of the equipment used in the present invention makes the protocol converter look like a cluster controller and makes asyncrhonous start/stop terminals seem like and operate like more complex and expensive binary synchronous terminals such as IBM 3271's.
The present system may be used directly with a mainframe computer such as an IBM 370 and may, under the control of the local processor and the operators' terminals, take stored records directly from the mainframe computer, use those records to call customers and update those records all with easy standard connections.
The port controllers and the protocol converter are standard, off-the shelf items. The port controller allows any one of the terminals, the local processor and the protocol converter to be connected to any other at a given time. The protocol converter acts as a switch device to control three-way connections under programmed control or operational connection between any one device and any other connected device.
The protocol converter is used to convert synchronous data output sent from an IBM mainframe for use on an asynchronous terminal. The converter also converts asynchronous terminals input signals to synchronous signals to properly interface with the host mainframe computer system. The unit chosen allows for up to nine different asynchronous terminals and handles up to 19.2 kilobytes per second synchronous data sent to the host. The port controllers and preferably each of the port controllers provide connections from terminals to either ports on the local processor or the protocol converter or from the local processor to the protocol converter. The local processor controls the connections of the terminals to the processor or to the mainframe computer by sending special function codes during the transmission from the local processor to the terminals. Each terminal has a special function key. A signal downloaded to a terminal enables the terminal to switch the connection back from the mainframe computer host to the local processor.
While the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, modifications and variations of the invention may be constructed without departing from the scope of the following claims.
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|U.S. Classification||379/67.1, 379/218.01, 379/216.01|
|Cooperative Classification||H04M3/5158, H04M3/5166|
|European Classification||H04M3/51P, H04M3/51R|
|Sep 12, 1996||FPAY||Fee payment|
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