What's new in computer telephony?
Help desk applications take Java to new heights
San Francisco (March 6, 1997) -- Two Java-based applications, one designed specifically for the JavaStation, were showcased earlier this month at the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) Wireless '97 conference here. Scopus Technology demonstrated a prototype of its Telecom Central help desk application, while Crystal WebWorks Inc. showcased its Live Assistance! Java-based application.
The Scopus prototype, running on Sun's JavaStation, will work in concert with Unix or Windows NT servers, a spokesman says. Instead of rewriting millions of lines of code in Java, just the C++ code that had been on the client has been rewritten in Java, he says.
While the company looks at the prototype as more of a proof of concept than a viable product right now, the growing interest in the JavaStation may well boost the product's chances. Late last year the company announced plans to offer the Telecom Central products on Unix and Windows NT for servers and Motif, Windows 95, Windows NT, and Macintosh clients; it did not discuss the JavaStation at the time.
Pricing and availability for the product have not been determined, according to the spokesman.
Live Assistant from Crystal WebWorks takes the help desk to the next plateau. Instead of making a phone call, a user can access the help desk via the Internet, where a technician can synchronize the caller's system to the help desk system. By actually seeing the screen the user sees, it's almost like having the technician at the user's site, said Mark Marchetti, sales and marketing director.
The two systems can be synchronized so that either the user or the help desk can control the screens. The help desk can then take the user's machine to sites that contain additional information before disconnecting, giving the user access to additional material they might not have known existed. When the connection is broken, the user is left at the new site so they can read, save, or print the additional information.
Among the key features are:
While the link is being established, callers are put into a queue. Once in the queue, they can use their browser to leave the help desk site. However, when the help desk answers the call, the users are advised that the call has been answered, and they can return to the help desk site. This, Marchetti said, gives users the ability to do something other than "just sit on hold."
The program, written entirely in Java, was developed on a Windows NT system and sent via ftp to a Sun Microsystems Ultra 1 for the show's demonstration, Marchetti said. The application came up immediately and needed no tweaking to run on the Sun box, he added.
Pricing for the server with five user licenses is $495. Additional user licenses are $99. The company is running a price promotion during the beta period prior to the product's release, which is due in April.
If you have technical problems with this magazine, contact firstname.lastname@example.org