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Overcoming The Hurdles Of VoIP Call Recording

By Patrick Botz
Voice Print International


Across the globe, voice over IP (VoIP) is now recognized as the next generation of telephony technology. Recent surveys have asserted that organizations of every size and nature are either investigating or implementing VoIP technology. The recording of voice and screen interactions has also become a standard procedure. Liability management, quality assurance, regulatory requirements and security issues are among the many reasons organizations worldwide are opting to record on a full- or part-time basis. However, even though VoIP telephony is now viable and relatively straightforward to implement, the recording of VoIP interactions is a little more challenging — a “one-size-fit-all” approach simply isn’t appropriate for this purpose.

There are various ways to record VoIP interactions. The right solution for your specific needs can be determined only by carefully examining the structure of your operational and IT environment, your call volume, the number of channels deployed and, of course, your reasons for recording. If, for example, you are recording for compliance and liability purposes, failure to record could have serious consequences, in which case it’s imperative to understand your options and choose wisely.

Think Ahead
VoIP (define - news - alert) and contact center technologies continue to evolve at a rapid pace. As a result, it’s extremely important to think about the future when choosing a VoIP recording solution. Is there a chance that you’ll employ an 802.11 wireless network? Will you ever adjust your compression rates as technology evolves? Do you plan on recording PC screen activity? Do you think you’ll consider employing remote agents in the future? Most implementation issues can be avoided if the VoIP recording infrastructure is integrated into the overall network configuration at the initial design stage.

The First Generation Of VoIP Recording
Many organizations take a converged, hybrid approach to implementing VoIP — they’re usually not ready to switch over to VoIP telephony all at once. However, traditional recording methods often require a complete system changeout in order to migrate from recording in a traditional telephony environment to recording in a VoIP environment. Although there are several first-generation VoIP recording methods, the most prevalent is host-based packet and media processing. Although effective to a certain degree, this method doesn’t offer the flexibility necessary for highvolume or full-time recording of VoIP interactions and often cannot meet the needs of the diverse global business marketplace.

Challenges Of Host-based Packet Media Processing
First-generation host-based packet media processing typically requires extensive server processing resources and can impose a tremendous burden on network traffic. Most host-based offerings suffer from performance problems related to running the application and network interface functions on the same regular media processing server.

Perhaps one of the most noteworthy issues with host-based packet and media processing is the fact that it is limited in its ability to record encrypted calls. Beyond the internal telephone network, the IP signal must be encrypted for security purposes. This means that the packets can no longer be sniffed — unless the security of these interactions is unimportant to the organization, which is highly unlikely. Also, hostbased media packet processing has a point of failure when an IP soft phone is utilized by an off-site user.

The Next Generation Of VoIP Call Recording Solutions
Inevitably, the rigidity and numerous challenges associated with firstgeneration VoIP recording systems gave rise to the emergence of secondgeneration solutions. These advanced solutions are based upon network interface board technology designed specifically for voice recording. They leverage open architecture and are platform-independent — integrating seamlessly into your existing and evolving infrastructure. They can sit securely behind your firewall and work in harmony with your network operations. Other capabilities of advanced solutions are as follows:

Simple migration path and minimal network impact. One of the greatest advantages of second-generation solutions is simple migration to emerging VoIP technologies. Complete system change-outs are no longer necessary to migrate from recording in a traditional telephony environment to recording in a VoIP environment. All that’s required is a change-over of the voice interface boards in the server. They reliably record audio from most traditional digital and analog and new VoIP PBXs/ACDs in the same server — preserving your initial investment. Also, second-generation solutions have very little impact on network resources — another major benefit. You do not need to forklift your network control data or upgrade your network just to reliably record VoIP interactions.

Single, feature-rich software application interface. Unlike many traditional offerings, organizations can now use one application to record and access their digital and analog interactions as well as their VoIP interactions. Many first-generation VoIP recording systems were developed as completely new, separate applications — often compromising and limiting the functionality of the application. Second-generation solutions offer the same rich set of search, playback and reporting capabilities that organizations have become accustomed to for many years.

Industry- standard GSM file formats. Another great development is the ability of second-generation VoIP solutions to capture all audio in standard GSM file format. These solutions perform transcoding on-the-fly, normalizing and compressing it all into an industry-standard, non-proprietary GSM file format, regardless of disparate audio sources. This allows for simple, centralized storage and playback using any standard media player.

Advanced security. Since second-generation VoIP recording solutions have the ability to process only voice packets up front, you do not need to worry about confidential IP data packets being transferred to the call recording application.

Self-maintaining solutions. Based on state-ofthe- art digital signal processor (DSP) technology, second-generation solutions are selfmaintaining and provide for all network interface, packet filtering, media processing and recording functions. There is no need to constantly adjust network compression rates, rely on customer- provided routers and additional hardware, or increase the capacity of your current PBX to reliably capture calls. They ensure real-time response and quality of service on every channel recorded by greatly reducing the server processing resources (CPU) required by most host-based offerings.

True video screen recording. Secondgeneration solutions have also made true video-quality screen recording in a VoIP environment a reality, without compromising the quality of the video recording or affecting network performance. Unlike older technologies that constantly stream data over the network, file transfer of screen recordings originally captured at local PC workstations can be either continuous upon conclusion of every recording session or done via scheduled bursts after hours, when the network is less busy.

Do Your Homework
As you move through the normal cycle of replacing your PBX system, you will probably view VoIP as a logical choice for achieving increased productivity from converged messaging. When that times comes, be sure to do your homework. Finding the right solution — or the wrong one — will have a major impact on your organization, both now and for years to come.

Patrick Botz serves as global director of marketing for Voice Print International (http://www.voiceprintonline.com), (news - alert) a provider of interaction recording and workforce optimization solutions for contact centers. As a CRM practitioner, Botz focuses on the mission-critical aspects of capturing real-time customer intelligence and optimizing workforce performance in real time. He may be contacted at [email protected].


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