The telecommunication technology of Primary Rate Interface (PRI) is used to transmit voice and data signals over an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). With ISDN, subscribers get a superior call quality and the technique enables the movement of data by using packet switched networks.
PRI is a tried and tested way to establish a platform for the regular phone calls made from and received at a business contact centre. It is particularly suitable for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that do not have a high-speed Internet connection for VoIP or cannot afford to retain bandwidth for digital calling system on their IP network.
As an end-to-end managed service it offers a good return on the investment that goes into its infrastructure. Here are some reasons that justify the use of PRI for business voice solutions:
1. Multiple communication systems
The ISDN-based PRI is a reliable line for voice communication and can stay up even during a power failure since it is powered from the service provider’s site. However, its functionality is not merely limited to voice calls. With PRI, organisations can also incorporate data transfer and video conferencing into their business communication. The technology provides for quick and flawless transmission of data packets between the users and their network. Furthermore, this comes without any impact on the efficiency of the devices fuelled by its Internet connectivity.
2. Direct inward dialling (DID) feature
A business prefers to give distinct phone numbers to its different departments and managers. With such a facility, anyone calling from outside can reach the concerned unit or the person directly without being routed through a reception desk. It becomes easier for clients, vendors, employees and other people to contact the right entity in the organisation. However, if the telephone system is based on legacy PSTN links, giving separate numbers to everyone would mean adding multiple lines in the telecom infrastructure.
PRI offers an advantage in this scenario because it comes with 30 channels on a single line. It can, therefore, handle up to 30 conversations – voice, instant messaging, video calls – simultaneously.
3. Simplified billing
Closed User group (CUG) feature provided by the PRI-based voice solutions allows mobile subscribers to make and receive free calls from any group member. As there is no need to install multiple lines for different employees, the cost savings with PRI are evident. Another factor that makes these telecom lines budget friendly is their pooled billing nature. This means that even if a single line comes with 30 channels, it brings only one bill and all channels have the same calling plan. This is in contrast to a basic Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) connection where a business may not be able to call from some lines while other lines may be getting used frequently.
4. Automatic distribution of calls
Service providers offer multiple unique numbers with each PRI line (comprising 30 channels). A PRI line configured by Tata Tele Business Services comes with 100 numbers as a part of the package. Such numbers facilitate automatic call distribution (ACD) due to which if a dialled number is busy, the call gets transferred to the next free number, and the caller does not need to wait.
Automatic call distribution (ACD) is a valuable feature for customer care centres where it is important to address customers’ concerns in minimum time and avoid keeping them on hold. While PSTN lines can also be upgraded with ACD, the service is not provided by default – it must be added and paid for separately. This again makes PRI a better option than PSTN.
5. Call quality, scalability and security
With their digital voice channels, PRI lines provide a better voice quality than PSTN. Calls get connected easily because there are no conversions of signals on an end-to-end PRI link. All users can effectively communicate irrespective of the mode they are using – voice calls, file sharing and chatting through instant messaging or video chat.
Ease of scalability also gives businesses a reason to switch from PSTN to PRI. There are 30 channels on a single PRI line, and these can be increased in multiples of 30 with a growing number of users.
In terms of security, the digital model of PRI lines makes them better than the PSTN. Hackers or eavesdroppers cannot tap into digital channels to hear and record business conversations.
If your business wants to keep a check on telecom costs and leverage digital transmissions without sacrificing the Internet bandwidth, PRI would be an optimal solution for your contact centre.
Tata Tele Business Services is a leading brand offering Primary Rate Interface solutions for telecommunications. Each line comes with 30 channels and 100 default DID numbers. An assortment of other features customised for business voice solutions is also a part of the package. Call us at 1800-266-1800 to know more about our PRI systems.