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New system instantly brings benefits of speech recognition to over 5,000 staff and tens of thousands of callers

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, UK, 9th December 2002 - Fast-growing speech technology specialists Telephonetics have won a contract to provide Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust with a pioneering ContactPortalâ speech recognition telephony system.

Gloucestershire Hospitals is the first health Trust in the country to install Telephonetics' ContactPortalâ, which acts as a virtual operator 24 hours a day, using advanced speech recognition technology to answer, transfer and make telephone calls.

Now the Trust - which provides acute hospital services to 500,000 people in Gloucestershire and parts of neighbouring counties - will use the system to answer incoming calls and alleviate pressure on its switchboard operators, who currently handle up to 6,000 calls a day.

Staff at the hospital will also be able to use the voice-activated speech recognition system to make both internal and outbound calls, simply by saying the name of the person they want to speak to.

They can also say the name of the individual, department, hospital or GP they want to contact, thus avoiding the stress of having to look up telephone numbers during a medical emergency.

For Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust, the system will not only allow it to provide professional and consistent high quality call handling at any time of the day or night, it will also take much of the routine call answering away from switchboard staff, allowing them to focus instead on more complex calls.

"Our operators spend up a considerable part of their time simply answering and transferring calls," says Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust telecommunications manager Pat Mooney.

"By using Telephonetics' ContactPortalâ to welcome callers and put them through to the correct extension, we will be able to speed up the call handling process.

"We will also be able to substantially reduce pressure on operators, allowing them instead to focus on more complex calls, where their specialist knowledge and experience of how a hospital works are invaluable," adds Pat Mooney. "However, if the caller wants to speak to an operator, they still can."

Pat Mooney says the system will also benefit users of cordless phones, who will no longer have to look up or remember phone numbers if they need to contact someone, whether they're at their desk or on the wards. "What's the point of having a cordeless phone it you have to run back to the desk to look up the directory?" said Pat Mooney

"Instead, they'll simply be able to pick up the phone and say the name of the person or department they want to speak to," he says. "This is a feature that's also extremely useful for blind or partially sighted people, as well as community-based staff."

Not only will it be easy to contact staff on the move by phone, it will also be simple to reach them by pager, thanks to the ContactPortalâ's unique paging feature.

Because it integrates with existing paging systems, ContactPortalâ allows paging by voice, simplifying and speeding up this essential form of communication.

Telephonetics' ContactPortalâ also does away with the need for internal phone directories, which can be expensive to produce and quickly become out of date. Instead, the system acts as a 'directory enquiry' service, substantially reducing costs.

At Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust, all numbers and extensions - including those of suppliers, general practitioners and hospitals elsewhere in the country - have already been entered into the system database, where they are secure and can be updated automatically at any time.

"Not having to produce internal phone directories will be a tremendous advantage," says Pat Mooney.

Launched earlier this year, Telephonetics' ContactPortalâ provides an ideal solution to the perennial problem of recruiting hospital switchboard operators.

Because the system is extremely simple to use, no training is necessary for users. Not only can it be installed quickly and easily, it can also be integrated with virtually any make of PBX, extending the functionality of a switchboard without incurring major upgrade costs.

It can also be integrated with existing voicemail and call logging systems, so an organisation's investment in its existing technology is protected.

At Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust, Telephonetics' ContactPortalâ has been installed at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, where it has been integrated into the Trust's private network.

Made up of 20 iSDX switches, the network links all the Trust's sites, including Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Cheltenham General Hospital, Tewkesbury Hospital and Delancey Assessment and Rehabilitation Hospital.

The telecommunications network also provides service to other Trusts and PCTs, thereby extending the capabilities further.

"Despite the fact the system had to integrate with the protocols that govern the network, we had absolutely no problems whatsoever," says Pat Mooney.

"Its installation was an extremely simple, straightforward process that has instantaneously brought the benefits of speech recognition to over 7,000 staff -and tens of thousands of callers," he said.

Commenting on winning the contract, Paul Welham, director of sales and marketing at Telephonetics, said: "Everyone at Telephonetics worked hard to win this order at one of the UK's leading NHS Trusts. We all greatly enjoyed working with the Trust's staff. The win was an added bonus for us, as we know Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust is renowned for being one of the UK's top trusts, with a principle of only investing in systems that show substantial benefits to their patients and staff."

Telephonetics' ContactPortalâ- the technology

An advanced speech recognition system, Telephonetics' ContactPortalâ not only offers call routing by spoken voice but is also the first of its type in the UK to offer several unique communication features.

Also available is a highly advanced mobility feature, which allows staff to have calls forwarded to them wherever they are - such as their car, another hospital or even at home. Employees can also use ContactPortalâ to make calls from their mobiles simply by saying the name of the person or department they want to talk to.

Manager Secretary working allows users to divert all calls to another location when busy except for highly important callers. If for any reason a call is missed, users can elect to be sent an SMS or e-mail to notify them of the call.

The Telephonetics ContactPortalâ synchronises with most external databases, ensuring the directory is always up to date no matter how many times contact details change and with professional recordings the system will always give consistently polite telephone answering.
Multiple interfaces allow easy integration of multiple sites Trusts using one central system. Even if each site has identically named departments, the system can intelligently use caller line identification (CLI) and geographical call routing to direct callers to the correct destination. With partitioned directories, sites and departments can also have individual personalised directories.

Developed using digital signal processing resources from Aculab, ContactPortal(r) can be administered securely via a web-based package, allowing users to make changes to the system without the need for complex programming.

To find out more and to try the system for yourself, call Telephonetics on 01442 242242 and ask for Paul Welham.

About Telephonetics

Telephonetics specialises in the development of high-end digital computer telephony and speech recognition projects from conception through to specification, software creation, hardware installation and support. Its clients include large corporations, who rely on Telephonetics for its detailed and specialist knowledge of computer telephony and speech recognition.

Wholly owned and funded by the founders, Telephonetics currently controls approximately 75% of the UK multiplex cinema IVR market. It also provides bespoke developments, generic products and managed services for other industries, and has a blue chip client base that includes BT Cellnet and Avaya. Its solutions use best of breed open-systems technology from Aculab, Intel, Philips Speech Processing and Nuance.

For more information please contact:

Myriam McLoughlin
PR Manager
Tel: 01442 242 242

Paul Welham
Marketing Director

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Telephonetics VIP Ltd in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit