A New Operator Service                                 


                      Feature For The 5SS Switch :




                   Phile #8 of P/HUN Magazine Issue #5


                             By  Bandito    

A new operator services system for the 5ESS switch gives phone companies and

worldwide phone service administrators unparalleled flexibility in deploying

operators.  The system is called the Operator Services Position System (OSPS),

and it's operation is based on the Intergrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

capabilities of the 5ESS switch.  These capabilities permit simultaneous data

and voice communications between the switch and the operator's terminal


     OSPS allows the phone service providers to provide full-featured North

American and international operator service with operators located a distance

from the switching system.

AT&T has added a new feature--the Operator Services Position System--to its

5ESS switch.  A major difference between OSPS and the previous operator

system--the Traffic Service Position System  (TSPS)--is OSPS's ability to

provide several applications simultaneously on one switching system.  One

Switch with OSPS can serve up to 128 teams of operators handling different

applications, such as directory, toll, and operator assistance.

     The OSPS can be deployed as a stand-alone system or integrated with a

local, toll or gateway 5ESS switch.  For directory assistance, a basic services

terminal and a Directory Assistance System/Computer provide the directory

listing.  A video display terminal helps with charging and completing toll and

assistance calls.  In some applications, the OSPS supplies data from external

computer systems at the operator terminal.  The OSPS can also offer fully

automated services such as Automated Calling Card or Automated Coin Services. 

It does this by linking to network data bases to validate credit or calling

card numbers, and to determine the charging rates.

      For international applications, OSPS provides the international features

used in local, transit, and gateway applications,  For these applications, the

system makes available services such as call booking(thats when you say that

you want to make a call to Russia and the operator say "I'll call you in 5

hours so you can place the call, ok?"), and it can handle various types of

international trunking and signaling.


     Besides providing state-of-the-art operator services, OSPS also improves a

phone company's financial results by reducing operator, administrative, and

maintenance costs, improving network design efficiency, and creating new

revenue opportunities.

Operator Expense     

     Reducing the average amount of time operators take to handle a call can

cut expenses by millions of dollars.  A major effort, therefore, was devoted to

achieving this.  Attention to human-machine interfaces led to operator

positions that reduce the motions and concentration needed for each function. 

For toll and assistance, for example, the video display terminal improves the

position of information on the monitor screen and the grouping of action keys. 

The display terminal also has single keys that are set up to perform complete

functions.  This results in faster action and reduces operator stress.(I hope

this will help them get a better atitude) 

     To speed things up, the OSPS automates operator tasks associated with call

handling.  Paper records and information bulletins are eliminate by 

computerized ticketing and an automated multileaf bulletin.  Since a

significant portion of operator work time is normally spent in determining if a

line is busy and waiting for answer, this portion of the call can be automated.

Future releases of the system will allow operators to handle other calls during

these periods.

Administrative and Maintenance Expense

     Since OSPS is a feature of the 5ESS switch, administrative and maintenance

expense is reduced by making common use of the base 5ESS switch capabilities

and by using a common maintenance force.  The operator service center, where

the operators are, may be located away from the host 5ESS switch.  Additional

equipment, therefore, is provided to support administrative printers and

terminals, and the management of the operators.

     Such support comes from the OSPS administrative processor (OAP), an AT&T

3B2 computer.  Expense is minimized by allowing one administrative processor to

support as many operator services centers as the phone company desires; not too

many of these are need. Only one OAP is needed for every switch.  Most

commercial automatic call distributor applications use some type of manegement

information system (MIS) to provide similar administrative control and

reporting as does the OAP ofr OSPS.  Overall, administrative expense is reduced

by allowing several teams of operators and several types of calls to be

administered together.

Network Design Efficiency

     The 5ESS switch with remote integrated services line units allow operator

service centers to be hundreds of miles from the host switch.  OSPS can be

added to a 5ESS switch dedicated to operator services with any combinationn of

different applications, or integrated into a network switch serving other

gateway, toll, tandem, or local traffic.  If initial operator needs are small,

a single switch could serve just a few operator positions. (Because of the

modular design of the switch, the number of operator on one switch could grow

one by one until they got over 100. There could be as many as 128 teams of

operators handling a total of nearly 100,000 calls an hour.

     One OSPS can handle call processing and a second OSPS can handle operator

assistance.  This can be a permanent arrangement to minimize new operator

trunks and/or the number of sites staffed with operators.  It is also possible

to reconfigure operator teams.  Entire OSPS systems or selected teams can be

closed down during periods of low traffic.  Calls are then directed to other

teams or another OSPS in the network.  Because of these capabilities, the

network can be redesigned continuously to meet changing needs.

More Service Opportunities

     The OSPS is based on ISDN capabilities and open interfaces that support

customization, customer independence, and flexiblilty.  ISDN supplies

packet-switched access to data bases, as well as interfaces to operator

terminals and support systems.  The open interfaces make it easy to add new

services and to support multiple interchange and local exchange carriers.  Data

can be sent to the operator terminal from computer systems external to the

switch, allowing an operator to talk with a caller while receiving data from a

remote data base.  Both the data base information and the telephone information

can be displayed using the windowing capabilities of OSPS video display



     The OSPS was designed and built on the existing ISDN architecture of the

5ESS switch.  The switch consists of three major hardware modules, handling

administration, communications, and switching.  There are two types of

switching modules, one for normal voice calls, and another, an ISDN module, for

voice and data.  The ISDN switching module is the interface between operators

and the switch.

     The administrative module provides system administration functions,and

supports automatic calll distribution to operators for each OSPS application. 

Hardware and software are added to the basic switch to perform automated and

manual operator functions.  Different types of operator terminals are furnished

for different OSPS applications.  An OSPS administrative processor is available

to support each particular application.  The terminals allow operator to

receive and control calls, and to send and receive data through the switch. 

Functionally, these are ISDN terminals with simultaneous voice and data

communications capability.

      The terminals are connected by digital subscriber lines to the switch's

integrated services line unit (ISLU) or to a remote ISLU (RISLU) when the

operator services center is a distance from the host switch.  The ISLU or RISLU

acts as an operator position controller.  Operator terminals may be located

several miles from the position controller, with the exact distance dependent

on the application and type of interface.  Where the RISLU and multiplexed onto

digital facilities that connect to the host 5ESS switch.

Systems Interfaces and External Data Bases

     For directory assistance, the 5ESS switch communicates with a

vendorsupplied Directory Assistance System Computer (DAS/C).  In response to

customer requests, the operator consults the system for directory listings. 

Like the basic services terminal with which it works, the DAS/C can be

connected to a RISLU and share the remoting capabilities with the basic

services terminal or it can be connected directly to the ISLU.

     The OSPS administrative proccessor is used for directory assistance as

well as toll and assistance operation.  This processor is located in the

operator services center and/or force management center.  It is used with

administrative terminals and printers to support administration and managemnet

personnel by providing traffic, performance, and operator team data when


     The OSPS connects to other vendor or phone company data bases as well as

to other 5ESS switches.  The connections to other switches make available

remote capability for complete call handling.  The phone company may choose to

use these connections as paths between switches to provide call processing at

the originating switch and operator services at another switch.

     The switch's common channel signalinng interface accesses a number of

external data bases.  Network signaling interfaces unique to the international

application are available to provide new features.  These interfaces vary from

country to country.


     The heart of the OSPS is a full-featured, flexibly administered automatic

call distributor (ACD).  A call coming into an OSPS is selected for a

particular operator team based on its incoming trunk and the dialed digits. 

The originating switching module determines the call type and gives the ACD the

information needed to select the proper operator team.  If operators are

available, the call is routed to one on the team who has been sitting one her

ass the longest.  If an operator isn't available in that serving team, the ACD

holds that call and the customer is sent a response (a ring, announcement,

silence, music, etc.).  When an operator becomes available, the customer that

has been on hold the longest is routed to the operator who hasnt had a call the


     For directory assistance, the operator asks for number-identifying

information and then taps into the database.  The number is given to the

customer by a recorded announcement or the operator.

     For toll and assistance requests, the operator asks for charging

information and the system handles charge recording and the call completion. 

Alternate billing is verified and coins collected where appropriate.  Domestic

and international system function similarly, but with different country

specific features.

     The OSPS automated features include Automated Calling Card and Automated

Coin Toll Services.  The automatic charge recording feature for certain calls

includes automated announcements, coin-tone detection, and multifrequency tone

(from touchtone sets,DTMF) detection.  The system can tell if collect calls or

third-party calls are being charged to a uncollectable number(like payphones,

non-working numbers, phones with unpaid bills,etc) and informs the operator on



     There are three types of operator/agent terminals to match applications

and customer needs.  All are designed to increase operator comfort and

performance, reduce training time, and improve flexibility and control.

Video Display Terminal

     The video display terminal (VDT) is for toll and assistance applications. 

The VDT's digital voice capability achieves silence between calls and clear

voice transmission.  The voice features include automatic volume control,

toll-quality voice path, multiple alerting tone capabilities, and voice-path

fraud prevention.  Operators and office administrators have the option of using

mute and split capabilities, which isolate the parties' voice paths at

appropriate times during a call to eliminate talk-over. (Talk-over is a brief

message between the caller and the called person while they shouldnt be

talking.  For example, if collect charges will be accepted be the called party.

 No more of the "hey dude!! call me back I'm out of codes!!!)  

     The VDT's keyboard looks pretty good.  Has 117 keys, this includes a

little dialing pad, to the left of the keyboard where the IBM function keys

usually are, are keys like hold, 'MUTE', 'SPLIT ON', 'VOL UP', and 'VOL DOWN'. 

Also I can make out some keys like 'Cancel Call' and 'Make busy'. The keyboard

is lightweight and detachable, this lets the operators position it easily to a

comfortable position.  The keyboard has tactile feedback, keys are logical

grouped, and the most frequently used ones are larger than the rest.  Customers

can program macro-keys that will initiate a sequence of key strokes with only

one key.  These are located near the top of the keyboard and have no writing on


     The VDT conveys call-status information and enables operators to follow

the progression of calls.  The terminal has a large, high-resolution display to

increase readability, a glare-free, positive video screen (dark characters on

light background), and a type font that is easy to read.  A screen refresh

rate, well above current norms, prevents flicker.  In addition, several

controller capabilities further clarify call information (multiple character

sets, reverse video, underlining), and are used in a consistent manner to draw

the operator's attention to particular types fo call-handling information.

     To minimize movement of the operator's eyes and head, the most critical

information about a call is displayed at the bottom of the screen.  The display

shown during a calll relays only the information needed to handle that call. 

To a avoid distraction, information may be held by the system and not

displayed.  Fields can be edited locally to reduce time required to correct

operator keying errors.

     Now im going to make a pretty pitiful attempt at showing you the screen

how it appears in a picture I have of it.

    _____     ____      ______                  ____   _____    _______  

___|SCRN|____|I&C|_____|RATE|__________________|PG1|__|PG2|____|LOGIN| AT&T___ 

|                                              |                              |

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|                                              |S T A T I O N   C O L L E C T |

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|                    3 ___~~  2 ___:)  1 ___~` |Fwd  #  :614-555-6534         |

|                     |        |        |      |                              |

|                   :)|        |        |      |                              |

|                     |        |        |      |                              |

|                     |___~`   |___~`   |___~` |Bk  #   :312-555-2679         |

|                        0 + NON - COIN        |                              |

|                                              |                              |


| QUIT |      |  GET  | | V 3 |  |RATE| |    |  |   |  |AUTO   |  |HOTEL|      

| RATE |      | RATE  | |     |  |TIME| |    |  |   |  |COLLECT|  |RM #  3


    The ":)" are faces. Yes they see faces on the screen and ~~ is a picture of

a phone. And ~` is a picture of a phone off the hook. Didn't I tell you the

picture of the operators terminal was going to be pitiful?   

Intelligent Communication Workstation

     The intelligent communication workstation is for the international market.

 It has all the functions of the VDT but uses a personal computer with a color

display.  This adds flexibility to meet the requirements of different countries

and includes software to assist operators in handling otherf languages.  A

chinese version of the system, for example, allows the operator to enter names

using Chinese characters for entry into billing records.  Future releases will

make this a combined services terminal which can be used for both toll and

assistance and directory assistance.

Basic-Services Terminal  

     The basic services terminal (BST) is for directory assistance.  It has a

20-character display rather than a cathode-ray tube display.  Dedicated

function keys allow easy access to conference, transfer, and emergency

functions.  The BST has the same voice features as the VDT.  The display,

keyvoard arrangement, and call-handling keying sequences minimize operator



     The OSPS offers services and features for North American and international

directory assistance, and toll and assistance.  Capacity depends on the

application and the features required.  System capacities for North American

applications are shown in the panel below:

Service                   Current           Next System Release

Directory Assistance        

Calls/hour                90,000            160,000

Operator positions        512               1000


Toll and Assistance

Calls/hour                68,000            100,000

Operator positions        512               700


For these applications, call handling capacity is now 68,000 calls an hour for

toll and assistance and 90,000 calls an hour for difectory assistance.  While

these high capacities stem from the distributed architecture fo the 5ESS

switch, its modular design allow the OSPS to grow incrementally depending on

customer needs.

     Continuing architectural and design and hardware improvements will lead to

even higher capacities.  The next system relase, for example, will increase

toll and assistance to 100,000 calls an hour and directory assistance to

160,000 calls an hour.

Directory Assistance

     With directory assistance a caller gives a name and address and an

operator or the system responds with a phone number.  With vendor computer

systems, OSPS uses an internal audio response unit to "speak" the number to the

caller.  Future releases will permit adding or changing announcements by

interfacing with external audio response units.  Future releases also will

enable the operator to connect the person requesting the number and apply

billing in response to the caller's requests.  This provides a telephone

company with signigicant new revenue opportunities.  OSPS directory assistance

allows conferences between operators and hand=off of the call to another

operator.  Incoming directory assistance calls can be rerouted to operators on

a second OSPS.

Toll and Assistance    

     These operator services help callers complete toll calls, bill the call to

calling cards or to a third party,  bill the call person-to-person, and give

general help.  OSPS uses ISDN to furnish some of these services.  For example,

the system gives operators access to customer-supplied database computers. 

These computers may contain frequently referenced data such as emergency

numbers or rate and route information.  Operators are looged onto the database

automatically and single key actions transfer data from the data base screen to

the call handling screen.

International Applications

     Features start with a subset of the ACD, derectory assistance and basic

toll and assistance operator call handling features as in the North American

version.  Specific international needs are addes such as real-time billing

information, completed call retrieval, call booking, and a visible instruction


     Real-time billing information for international calls includes validation

of credit-card numbers or billing number, computing charges in real time and

storing them in completed call records.  The billing information can be

supplied to the customer by a synthesized announcement of time and charges or

direct operator quotation.

     Completed call retrieval aallows the operator to retrieve the record of a

completed call, including call charges in response to customer inquiry.  It

also allows the operator to give correct billing in the case of a call being

cut off and reconnected.

     Call booking is for customers wanting calls placed at a particular time

and to allow operators to store calls for later completion during less

congested periods.  Data for these calls is stored in the OSPS and may be

distributed to operators for setup as soon as possible or at a designated time.

 Operators also may request retrieval of previously booked calls.  

     The operator uses a visible instruction table to obtain special dialing

instructions or otherf call-handling material.  The text is stored in the 5ESS

switch as a series of pages, and is displayed in a window area on the VDT


     Additional features include customer and operator fraud protection,

enhanced charge and duration advice and language assistance, depending on the

needs of the particular country.  OSPS also supports the major international

signaling systems.


     The OSPS represents a new generation in operator services based on ISDN. 

The system can be configured to serve any operator application requiring access

to data bases and automated call distribution to operators. Since it is a

application on the 5ESS switch, it allows operator services to be provided at

local, tandem, or toll switching centers.  

     The design enables operators to be hundreds of miles from the switch. 

Features reduce a phone company's costs in the areas of operator expense,

administration and maaintenance, and network design.  The OSPS includes many

operator services not previously available and permits a wide mix of

applications on a single switch.  



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