Flash Operator Panel
The Flash Operator Panel (or FOP, as it’s more commonly known) is an interface primarily for the use of switchboard operators. FOP uses Adobe Flash to present an interface through a web browser, and connects to Asterisk through the Asterisk Manager Interface.
There are two versions of the Flash Operator Panel: the original release (version 0.30, now a maintenance release only and likely incompatible with Asterisk 11), and FOP2 (shown in Figure), which is a vast improvement over the original FOP but requires the purchase of a license for any system with more than 15 extensions.
Figure . FOP2
Queue Status and Reporting
In most call centers, it is not enough simply to be able to route calls correctly. Of equal importance to most call centers is the ability for supervisory and management staff to determine how the queue and the agents are performing. For this, two things will be of benefit: live queue status information, and some manner of reporting package.
Queue Status Display
Queue status will often be displayed on a large, wall-mounted panel or a reader board. Here are some of the kinds of information that might be included:
• Number of agents logged in
• Number of callers holding
• Number of calls in progress
• Current longest hold time
• Average hold time
• Abandon rate
• Service level
Other information might be desired as well; the goal of a queue status display is to present to both supervisory staff and queue agents a quick visual indication of the state of the queue at a particular moment in time.
Additionally, group or agent performance metrics may be displayed, as an informational tool.
The Asternic Call Center Stats software provides a basic status display and is available in an open source lite version. There are also several commercial products that offer this functionality.
Queue reporting consists of reports and graphs that supervisory personnel can use to look at queue and agent performance from a historical perspective. Many of the metrics will be similar to those of the status display; however, the goal of reporting is to allow management to monitor staffing levels, identify problems, and analyze trends.
Call Detail Records
While Asterisk does a good-enough job of generating and storing CDRs, the records are in a very raw format, which makes it difficult to perform any sort of analysis on them.
Enter the CDR reporting package. In the 1990s, when long-distance rates were complex and expensive, an entire subindustry was spawned by companies looking to help other companies make sense out of complex long-distance rates. Nowadays, with long distance being far less expensive, as well as generally simpler in terms of pricing models, there is less need for detailed analysis of call records. Nevertheless, many of these highly experienced companies have added support for Asterisk CDR analysis; thus, if you want excellent reporting capabilities, you will find a huge industry with many experienced participants.
For a simple interface to the call records, a popular program is CDR-Stats, which is the successor to the hugely popular Asterisk-Stat package. This open source reporting interface provides a simple way to examine call detail records, as well as some basic metrics on calling patterns.
The A2Billing project is not simply a billing interface for Asterisk: it is, in fact, a complete VoIP carrier-in-a-box. This complex and comprehensive product delivers much of the technology you would need to provide a VoIP reseller service. The A2Billing platform has been generously released under the GNU Affero General Public License (APGL) as open source. The sponsor of the A2Billing project, Star2Bill ing, offers consultancy services to get you up to speed faster.
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