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WHO'S CALLING? BELLSOUTH DISPLAYS THE ANSWER

 NASHVILLE, Tenn., July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- "Just a moment, let me catch this other call." Just about everyone's had this irksome experience and uttered those words. Now, with a new service to be offered by BellSouth Telecommunications (NYSE: BLS), phone users will be able to "see" who is calling before they put an on-going conversation "on hold."
 This service was one of several that was recently offered to 500 Nashville, Tenn., consumers in a concept test pioneered by BellSouth and Northern Telecom (NYSE: NT). The six-month test showed that "consumers find visual displays of telephone information both very convenient and extremely valuable," says BellSouth's Jack Huber, director of product and service innovation.
 Of the five "visual information services," the most popular was the service that displayed the name and number of an incoming caller -- named Caller ID Deluxe.
 "The message came out loud and clear that customers like the security and convenience of knowing who is calling before they answer the telephone and they like having options for handling those calls," said Huber.
 Call Log, the second most popular service, lets customers view a list of names and numbers of all unanswered calls. By pressing a button on the set, customers can return a call to anyone on the Call Log listing.
 Unlike today's Caller ID telephones and adjuncts, the network-based Call Log feature also records calls that were forwarded to another number or which received a busy signal.
 Other services tested during the trial were:
 Call Waiting ID. Call Waiting customers can see the name and number trying to reach them without interrupting their current call.
 Deluxe Call Waiting ID. Call Waiting customers can see the name and number that is calling, then press a button to answer the call, deliver a short pre-recorded message to the caller, or direct the caller to leave a message.
 Visual Call Block. Lets customers view and edit lists of numbers associated with callers from whom they do not wish to receive calls. Today's Call Block service requires users to edit these lists by listening to audio commands and pushing the appropriate keys.
 Call Waiting ID and Deluxe Call Waiting ID generated a lot of interest. Visual Call Block had more limited appeal, but was found useful by those customers that used it.
 The display-based telephone was a key element in the test. These prototype telephones from Northern Telecom featured a screen that displays three lines of text and "soft keys" to make activating and using services easy.
 Soft keys, similar to buttons found on bank automatic teller machines, change their function as the user progresses through a service. A speaker lets the user monitor the progress of a call.
 Customers were pleased with the simplified access to services and the ease of using soft keys. Most customers felt that the phone combined a lot of features currently available and integrated them into one unit. It was also determined that the telephone should cost less than $200.
 Many of the services offered by BellSouth were built on existing TouchStar(R) Services and Custom Calling Services. TouchStar, BellSouth's names for Custom Local Area Signaling Service (CLASS), are intelligent network services that perform call management applications. Huber believes the success of the test is due in part to the convenience added to these already popular services.
 "TouchStar and Custom Calling Services are widely deployed in our nine states," said Huber. "As a matter of fact, BellSouth is a leader in TouchStar sales with close to 3 million features currently sold. These new services, combined with TouchStar Services already available, could be purchased by up to 25 percent of our customers."
 Among the things customers liked about the individual services were:
 Caller ID
 -- Security of identifying callers
 -- Screening Calls
 -- Ability to identify crank callers
 Call Log
 -- Convenience and security of knowing who called, even if no
 message was left
 -- Ability to prioritize messages for call-back
 -- Ability to identify "crank" callers
 Call Waiting ID
 -- Never missing a call
 -- Ability to know and screen second caller
 Deluxe Call Waiting ID
 -- Ability to handle the second call without placing the first call
 on hold
 Visual Call Block
 -- Ability to block or "crank" other unwanted calls
 Results of the test were used by telecommunications research consortium Bellcore to create a national Analog Display Service Interface (ADSI) standard for this type of display-based set. The creation of the standard is expected to stimulate the production of such sets as well as the services that can be used with them.
 Huber said BellSouth plans to put the finishing touches on its new services and that some of them could be generally available as early as 1994.
 The company also plans to conduct an extended study in 1994 that will include display-based information services along with telephone services. Current plans call for multiple telephone set, switch and information services vendors to be part of the test.
 Tennessee was selected as the test site for these unique applications because of the state's advanced network deployed in the FYI Tennessee program. FYI Tennessee is an innovative program developed by the Tennessee Public Service Commission in cooperation with the state's local telephone companies to bring information age telecommunications technology to all Tennesseans.
 BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., with headquarters in Atlanta, provides unified direction and support for the local telecommunications operations of BellSouth in the southeastern United States. It does business as Southern Bell in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and as South Central Bell in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. These companies serve over 18 million local telephone lines and provide local and exchange and intraLATA long distance service over one of the most modern telecommunications networks in the world.
 Northern Telecom is a leading supplier of telecommunications switching equipment to telephone companies and offers a full range of CLASS, Custom Calling Features and other advanced services. Northern Telecom is also conducting trials of screen-based phones and services with Bank of Boston, Toronto Dominion Bank and New Brunswick Telephone.
 -0- 7/6/93
 /CONTACT: Karen Mangum Roughton of BellSouth Telecommunications, 404-529-6514, or Marian Montaldo of Northern Telecom, 919-992-4197/
 (BLS NT)


CO: BellSouth Telecommunications; Northern Telecom ST: Tennessee IN: TLS SU: PDT

MM-SB -- CH006 -- 8732 07/06/93 15:27 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 6, 1993
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