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Voice messaging goes Hollywood.

MCA Universal Studios MCA Universal Studios is one of the largest working studios in Southern California. The "lot" consists of 420 acres (two miles from front to back) with 167 buildings and numerous sound stages serving thousands of people each day. Our business depends on people and materials being in the right place at the right time.

Communications among producers, directors, actors, set designers, sound stages and many other must be accurate and timely.

Success and survival in the entertainment industry is like any other: We must be competitive. Considering the costs of movie or record production, and the size of MCA's facilities, communications services are crucial.

In the mid-80's, many people realized the value of answering machines and demanded access to this communications feature when using our facilities. Unfortunately, each answering machine required its own port on our telephone switches--at a cost of $800 per port. This became quite costly and a drain on our system, so we began looking for alternatives.

Nearly three years ago, MCA Universal Studios began using AT&T's Audix Voice Messaging System to replace the answering machines. Instead of just "standing in" for the answering machines, the system has vastly improved communications throughout the lot.

Not only have our customers given it rave reviews, but it has been a sound financial investment.

Telephone costs have been greatly reduced as we eliminated many answering machine ports supported by our telephone switch. In fact, the system paid for itself in the first year.

Studio productivity has also improved. For example, we have eliminated many missed calls, reduced telephone tag, enabled directors, producers, etc., to schedule more uninterrupted time (encouraging greater creativity), reduced costs and improved the utilization of our human resources.

The success and reception of the technology is evidenced by demand for the service. While not actively pursuing new users, the growth and utilization of the system since 1988 is phenomenal.

Since installation, the number of users has nearly doubled, with an additional 500 users being added in 1992.

Lyle Myers, MCA's Audix administrator, has handled the mailbox programming and port installation for the more than 7,500 phones already on the system.

Universal City receives more than 12,000 calls per month requesting routine information about public tours, such as ticket prices, operating hours, directions, special events and filming schedules. Before Audix, it took three people to respond to these calls. Today, this information is provided in both English and Spanish using the automated attendant feature.

Callers can select information using the telephone touch-tone pad, or they can hold the line for an operator. As a result, we are better able to utilize our employees' skills.

The system works through an AT&T Definity Communications System Generic 2 and enables producers or directors who are away from their offices to be paged when a message has been received.

Calls can be sent to the Audix System or forwarded to another department. The system even allows for multiple outgoing "one-to-many" broadcast messages.

Managers at MCA Universal's record sales division (with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Nashville and Chicago) use the broadcast feature to distribute business information simultaneously to more than 200 people coast-to-coast. Sales representatives on the road can make one phone call to access their messages.

Field offices use the system to provide information to remote locations and to keep in close contact with customers, headquarters, artists and many others.

Currently, MCA uses 23 automated attendants in the Audix System to handle caller requests for information from our mailroom, payroll/tax department, restaurant and human resources department. Anticipated demands will require the addition of several more automated attendants in 1992.

The restaurant/commissary uses the system to inform callers about daily menus, which frees the phone lines for business purposes. The mailroom has improved productivity by using the Audix System to direct incoming rush deliveries and to handle general information inquiries regarding services.

Human Resources uses the system to list job openings and to provide information on insurance benefits.

We are continuously reviewing the system and identifying additional needs where voice processing can be beneficial. After analyzing studio needs and weighing them against costs, MCA is considering adding an AT&T Conversant Voice Information System in 1992.

Initially, we want to program the Conversant to receive job applications over the phone. We hope to script questions into the system, which will then prompt callers for responses to be recorded on the Audix.

Once this addition is complete, our ability to receive and process job applications will be greatly increased.

The expansion plans and new possibilities for the system in 1992 are exciting. With this technology, we can continue to provide customers with facilities and communications services that will guarantee they'll come back to MCA Universal Studios for an encore performance.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:MCA Universal Studios
Author:McNeill, Rod
Publication:Communications News
Date:Mar 1, 1992
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