Computer Telephony in Windows 95

By Francis Tay

PC Telephony

Many workers in large corporations enjoy the convenience and advantages of their office telephone systems such as voice-mail, call forwarding and pager notification. In fact, some of them will feel handicapped should they lose these luxuries.

Another very 'corporate' mode of communication is Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). CTI refers to how computing and telephone functions can be merged to achieve a smoother, and in some cases, automated workflow. Examples of CTI are interactive voice response, fax-on-demand and caller-ID. However, these functions don't come cheap and it is the large corporation that is more likely to be able to afford them.

The PC, on the other hand, is both affordable and pervasive. The personal computer has proven to be an invaluable productivity tool; initially used for spreadsheet work and word processing, it later came to be used with software applications such as database programs and presentation packages.

The next leap in productivity was the integration of communication functions into the PC - to handle not just data and fax communication but also simple telephone calls. The reasons to equip the PC with corporate telecommunications capabilities were tremendous, especially the affordability of this technology for small businesses and home users.

The Phone Blaster 33.6 PnP [ ] and Modem Blaster 28.8 PnP [ ] from Creative Labs are designed to answer our needs for an all-in-one PC communications management solution. Bundled with software such as Microsoft Phone, these products ensure that users are always in touch and in ways that they want to be. With the integration of telecommunication functions, communication has never been more efficient or effective.

Communication in Windows 95

Microsoft Phone provides a user-friendly interface for the PC user to tap into the varied and useful communication services built into the Microsoft Windows 95 operating system. The first PC operating system, Windows 95, enables new voice-telephony solutions based on the following technologies and specifications:

In addition, Microsoft Phone also incorporates voice command and text-to-speech functionality.


Microsoft Phone

With Microsoft Phone and Modem Blaster [ ] or Phone Blaster [ ], users can look forward to some very gratifying improvements to the way they work and communicate:

Integral set of communication tools

  1. Hands-free speakerphone, speed-dial buttons and address book
  2. Compose and preview faxes
  3. Call management features such as caller ID, toll-saver and call-logging

Improve personal productivity

  1. Manage all incoming messages, voices, faxes or e-mail effortlessly through the Microsoft Exchange Inbox unified message center
  2. Command the PC to dial a number or read back an e-mail using Microsoft Phone and the text-to-speech function
  3. Broadcast a fax

Stay in touch always

  1. Set up an unlimited number of password-protected mailboxes
  2. Have the PC answer the telephone, take messages and forwards calls or faxes
  3. Have the PC page a beeper when messages are pending
  4. Remotely access messages

More responsive and professional

  1. Easily set up a tree of mailboxes with greetings in each box
    ("For Marketing press 1, for Sales press 2, to leave voice mail for David, press 3")
  2. Use fax-on-demand for a 24-hour information center
  3. Music-on-hold

Modem Blaster and Phone Blaster

The latest products from Creative, the Modem Blaster [ ] and Phone Blaster [ ] series, are Windows 95 ready. Plug and Play and compliant with the ITU V.34 standard, these modems offer hassle-free, high performance connection for desktop PCs and notebooks. In addition, the Phone Blaster incorporates Sound Blaster® [ ] 16 audio, full-duplex speaker phone function, an IDE CD-ROM interface and Creative's family of audio utilities.

The Future

A new feature that will be incorporated in the next generation of Creative's modems is Simultaneous Voice and Data (SVD). As its name suggests, SVD will enable two connected users to talk and exchange data at the same time. It will also unleash truly interactive multimedia applications such as collaborative computing and tele-gaming.

Evident from its POTS-based video-conferencing product, ShareVision [ ], Creative is already at the forefront of collaborative computing. Creative will be leveraging on this expertise to deliver products that bring about a quantum leap in the way we use the PC to work, play and communicate.

Copyright 1996