Most Commonly Asked Questions
Replay has been in the voice recording industry since 1996 and has built a reputation for providing the most innovative and affordable solutions for call centers. Our ability to offer custom recording solutions from many top manufacturers, along with excellent service and support is what separates us from the competition.
It depends on your site configuration, recorded line(s) type and recording requirements. Our sales team will offer you all the possible options and help you select the best solution for your business.
Your cost depends on following:
- Type of the lines required to record
- Total number of recorded lines
- Selected recording board vendor
- Recorder PC style and features
We also encourage you to purchase a yearly software maintenance plan. The maintenance plan allows you to access the support desk as well as receive software updates. Please note, your call recorder will continue to function and record without the yearly software maintenance plan
You can add/remove users anytime you want. No need for extra hardware or software license required.
Adding Phone Lines:
Adding extra phones might require extra hardware and /or software licenses. This depends on recording site configuration you selected. If recorder connected to PBX trunk lines, but you add only internal phones – no need for extra hardware or software on recorder side. If recorder connected to analog or digital PBX extensions (internal lines) and you add extra lines to record, you will need both extra hardware and extra software license.
Changes to your PBX or Radio environment after the initial installation typically involves a Replay Support tech to reconfigure the Recorder configuration and or licensing. We highly recommend contacting Replay Systems at least 3 weeks prior to any Phone or Radio Vendor changes to discuss options in order for the transition to go smooth and prevent any major loss of recordings. Please Note: Additional charges may apply for Application and configuration changes.
Access to recordings are granted by recorder administrator. User access rights can be narrowed to specific channel(s). Action permissions (search, play, monitor download etc.) can also be granted/revoked individually. Permission based access can be very granular and flexible.
Audio records are typically stored on the local hard drive. Replay Systems recommends storing the calls off the Recording Server, either on a NAS appliance or Network supplied share.
The amount of storage space needed is dictated by the customers archive requirements. State, local, HIPA, and customer auditing policies will also dictate how many days, months or even years of audio records are needed for future retrieval of audio records.
Typically, most installations are “turnkey” solutions and are configured and set up on site by a trained Replay Systems Specialist.
In some cases, and depending on the It environments requires a customer supplied servers (i.e. VM environment). The installation and configuration of the Recording Software will be done with Replay Systems guidance and support.
We offer a 1 year Warranty on the our systems which provides for all parts, 24 X 7 telephone support, and on-site support Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm. Replay also offers a 24 x 7 on-site at an additional cost.
We offer onsite installation and most of our installs are done onsite.
Beep tone can be generated by software but for analog telephone lines only. It is not possible to generate beep onto digital lines such as T1/PRI/ISDN, digital PBX phones, or VoIP phones. The alternative is to use the handset beep adapters which connects to the telephone handset coil cord because that is an analog connection.
Most PBX or phone systems do not have this beep feature either. But it does have an auto-attendant feature which makes an announcement that inbound callers can hear i.e. “Your calls are recorded for training purposes…” This auto-attendant is only for inbound calls and not outbound calls. So one way is to have the call recorder setup to only record inbound calls connecting to your trunk lines.
VoIP calls travel digitally on computer networks rather than via dedicated telecom cables. Some phones even connected via Wi-Fi. Because there are no wires dedicated only to phone calls, recorder cannot be connected to recorded line in conventional connection sense.
All VoIP recording methods fall into two categories:
- Passive recording– which is based on Network traffic sniffing or network traffic filtering. This is usually done by connecting recorder to network switch mirror (or SPAN) port, rather than phone lines. Via the SPAN port, the recorder will “sniff” for signaling and RTP (Real Time Protocol) packets that correspond to recorded calls. Ability to record often limited with ability to send required traffic to specific mirror port. On large and complex networks sending required traffic to specific mirror (SPAN) port could become a complex task, which is outside of the scope of this FAQ.
- Terminating recording– which applies to all recording methods making recorder part of the call. With terminating recording, recorded device or PBX sends copy of the conversation to the recorder. Recorder becomes kind of silent participant of a conference call. Cisco BIB (built-in-bridge) or SIPREC based recording falls into this category.
- Trunk Lines
Trunk lines are phone lines coming from your phone company and are usually connected to your PBX. In some cases they are connected directly to your phones. The PBX, (Private Branch eXchange), is an in-house telephone switching system that interconnects extension lines (in orange) to phone handsets in the telephone network. Usually you will have less trunk lines than extension lines. The phone handsets are what is used to make calls. VoIP travels on your computer network lines.
The 3 types of telephone recorders in use today:
A telephone recorder in the old days was a huge machine that used reel to reel tape. It was expensive, difficult to learn how to use and expensive to maintain. Cassette tapes made it become feasible for small companies to also record their calls but finding recordings was a nightmare and the user was required to remember to start and stop their own recordings as well as change tapes. With Cassette tapes, live call monitoring is also impossible. Tape units are now largely obsolete.
- Proprietary hardware:
Developed to replace the tape based telephone recorder, it consists of proprietary electronics and proprietary call recording software. The advantage of this is that everything usually works well together. The disadvantage is that the only way to repair, upgrade and maintain the proprietary unit is through the company that sold it, or their licensed technicians. This is usually quite expensive and it may be difficult or impossible to find that company’s technicians in some countries or regions. Because the hardware and software was all built into a single unit, upgrades are often impossible. This meant that companies often had to throw away their old proprietary telephone recorder when they wanted to record more lines, or started using a newer type line such as digital or VOIP. Proprietary hardware telephone recorders come in all shapes and sizes from one channel boxes that sit on a desk to huge rack mounted servers that recorded hundreds of channels and have very powerful call recording software to analyze voice patterns and integrate them with a databases.
- PC integrated:
The newest type of voice recorder integrates the power of a multichannel telephone recorder into an inexpensive and easy to upgrade PC. The call recording software is then installed to enable live call monitoring, search functions, archiving, playback and in some cases custom reports and grading. If the telephone recorder is attached to a network or the Internet, some call recording software will allow multiple users on different computers to access recordings or do live call monitoring. Costs are lower because PCs are relatively inexpensive and upgrades can be as easy as installing new PCI cards or call recording software. Maintenance and service are also much less expensive because parts can be purchased from a variety of vendors and a specialized technician is not needed.
Yes, Replay’s personalized training services are designed to suit your individual and business needs upon installation and throughout the life of your service agreement. Our training program is taught by exceptional instructors — the same that train our own technicians. The instructors teach courses that address your unique business challenges, objectives and goals.
In addition, Replay Systems offers Webex training tailor-made for your Center. This is ideal for new employees who come onboard or for old employees who need a refresher. The training seminar will be tailored to answer your employees’ specific questions and provide for their specific needs. Moreover, the training is done via Webex, so scheduling is not an issue as employees can tune in via the Internet! Webex training can also be helpful when introducing new and/or updated software applications in the future.
Yes, we offer a program called Replay QA. It is an independent third party QA Service Program in which you can contract with Replay to remotely and securely perform QA Evaluations that are tailored to your contact center’s needs.
We use only CJIS Certified Quality Managers and Analysts from Public Safety agencies who have years of experence in PSAP QA. Our evaluators do all of the time consuming work of locating the calls needed for review and performing the QA evaluations for them. Calls are selected and evaluated based on criteria that you specify.
Once evaluations are completed, they are immediately available for review by management and employee. The agency also receives monthly summary reports on overall performance. We also perform internal reviews of the evaluators and evaluations, to be sure we are doing everything to your specification. Utilizing data elements helps Evaluators focus on those evaluations that mean the most.
Call Recording Diagrams
Ways To Record
How to Record VoIP Calls on Your Network
Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is audio delivered in information packets on a regular computer network or over the internet. VoIP call recording works differently than recording trunk or extension lines or handsets. VoIP call recording taps into your network lines at a hub, or at the SPAN port on a switch. In this way as network traffic travels over your Ethernet cables, our recorders can detect compatible VoIP packets and record them. Use a network analyzer to check the SPAN or mirror port configuration.
Connecting a voice logger to the extension lines that come from a PBX offers the most recording data and options and should always be considered as your first option. Unlike recording from the trunk or handset, attaching a voice logger to your extension lines requires that your voice logger be compatible with your PBX. This is because the PBX literally communicates its information to the voice logger.
Most Major PBXs from manufacturers such as Avaya, Cisco, NEC, Nortel and Panasonic are supported. The lines between the voice logger and where you are tapping your extension lines should generally be no longer than 30 feet to insure that the signal quality of the recordings stays strong. One of the advantages of recording from the extension is that the voice logging software will gather call data directly from the PBX and append it to each recording. This information usually includes the extension making the call, the caller ID, or if the call was outbound or inbound.
Connecting a call recorder into a company’s trunk lines is the most common way call recording is done today in businesses. Though recording at the extension offers the most options, recording at the trunk lines is the second best alternative and offers a few advantages over extension line recording. A call recorder can tap into your trunk lines before they enter your PBX. To do this one needs a punch down block that allows the trunk lines to be ”T” split. The trunk lines go into the punch down block, then back out to the PBX.
Your VoIP SIP based telephone system can be even more effective with the addition of call recording functionality. Any size business can benefit from our recording solutions. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol and is a VoIP service offered by many Internet Telephone Providers today.
P25 is an IP based suite of standards for North American digital radio communications used by federal, state and local Public Safety organizations, enabling them to communicate with other agencies during emergency situations.
Replay Systems supports Harris and Motorola Astro P25 radio integrations.
A talk group is an assigned group on a trunked radio system. Unlike a conventional radio which assigns users a certain frequency, a trunk system takes a number of frequencies allocated to the system. Then the control channel coordinates the system so talk groups can share these frequencies seamlessly.
“Trunked” radio systems differ from “conventional” radio systems in that a conventional radio system uses a dedicated channel (frequency) for each individual group of users, while “trunking” radio systems use a pool of channels which are available for a great many different groups of users.
Alphabetical list of call recording terms:
- ANI: (Automatic Number Identification) ANI information is used like caller ID except for a few differences that make it impossible to block or hide.
- Analog line: The first type of phone lines the phone companies used. An analog trunk line is one coming in from the phone company. An internal analog lines runs within the company to an analog phone, usually over an RJ11 phone cable. A single phone conversation or channel can run over this type of line.
- Analog phone: A regular telephone designed to be used with Analog trunk lines.
- Call recording: (Also known as a Phone recording, Voice logging, Agent monitoring or Call monitoring.) The term call recording means to record a telephone call or other audio source. A call recorder is the hardware and software that tap into a phone line (usually multiple lines or channels) and records or monitors those calls.
- Channel: (Also known as a line or a port.) A channel originally was a term used for a single digital line, but now is fairly synonymous with a line or a port. Sometimes confusing as a Digital line such as a T1 may carry multiple channels. However a channel can only carry one phone conversation.
- Compression: Call recordings can be shrunk into smaller computer files that take up less space by using various compressions. Usually the smaller the file size the higher the compression and usually the poorer the audio quality.
- D channel: (Data channel) A special channel on T1 PRI or E1 PRI lines that carries information about the voice or phone channels such as the phone number the call came from (ANI information), and what phone number it is going to. (DNIS information)
- Digital extension: A digital extension is a number assigned by a PBX to a digital phone that allows a single phone number to be subdivided into many sub numbers. A digital phone recorder can capture what extension a call recording was made from when attached by a serial cable to the SMDR port of a PBX. The digital phone recorder must then be able to translate the SMDR data from the PBX and attach this data to the recording. This usually requires a few hours of testing and setup.
- Digital phone: Usually a phone that works with and requires a particular digital PBX or set of PBXs from the same manufacturer. The PBX assigns each digital phone a digital extension number that can be easily changed or reassigned at a later time. Digital phones, just like analog phones use RJ11 phone cables.
- E1 PRI: A digital trunk line that carries 31 channels or phone lines within it and 1 “D” channel, that carries digital information about the other 31 phone lines.
- E1 regular: A digital trunk line that carries 32 channels or phone lines within it.
- Ethernet cable: (Also known as 8P8C, Network cable or mistakenly as RJ45 cable) This is the standard cable used to connect networks and computers together. It has 8 pins at the end but otherwise looks like a large phone cable. A Versadial phone recorder will use CAT 5 Ethernet cable connect to the SPAN port of a hub or switch of a LAN (local area network) to record VoIP calls.
- Extension lines: Internal phone lines that connect the PBX with one or more phones at a location. Recording extension lines allows the collection of a wealth of data from the PBX as well as allowing for the recording of extension to extension calls. This is the preferred way to record though it may be more expensive as there are usually more extension lines than trunk lines at a location. This is because an extension allows several phones to access each trunk line since it is unlikely that all extensions will be in use at once. Extensions communicate in a format determined by the PBX that connects them to the trunk lines.
- Handset: Another name for the phone. A phone recorder can tap into a phone line at the individual handset as well as at a PBX or on from the trunk lines. Recording from the handset has several advantages but involves running an extra cable from each phone to the phone recorder that can be a lot of work and clutter.
- ISDN BRI: An older digital format that carries two phone lines or channels along with a third D channel that carries special information about the two phone lines.
- Monitor: To listen to “live” or ongoing call recordings. Phone lines, radio channels or any type of audio line can be monitored.
- PBX: (Private Branch Exchange) A PBX or PABX is an electronic device used to take incoming trunk phone lines and route them to the appropriate extensions inside a company. There are many brands of PBX with slightly different features. Most have a SMDR port providing a log of call information. The most common reason a company buys a PBX is to allow them to purchase less trunk phone lines from their phone company or telecom provider than they would otherwise have to buy. A PBX could allow a company with 24 digital extensions to only need four or 12 incoming trunk lines. Since it is rare that all 24 digital extensions would be in use at once the PBX is able to route incoming or outgoing calls on available trunk lines. When a PBX is used then the type of handsets or phones used must be compatible with that PBX.
- PDA: A portable digital assistant. Basically a small handheld computer sometimes integrated with a phone and known as a “smart phone.” PDAs usually run either the Palm OS or Windows Mobile operating system. In call recording a PDA may be used to monitor calls, search and access call recordings over a wireless network allowing supervisors more freedom in doing their job. Only Versadial currently offers call recording software that works on a PDA.
- PABX: (Same as a PBX) The more accurate but less used term for PBX.
- Phone brand and model number: Different phones are compatible with different PBXs and call recorders. To find out what model and brand phone you have either ask the telecom provider that sold them to you or look on the bottom of the phone. Most phones have this information printed there. This info could look like this: “Nortel M7280″ or “Plantronics CT12″.
- Phone line: The cable that brings audio to a phone. A phone line may be digital or analog and usually consists of a single channel allowing one call at a time to be transmitted over it. Some digital lines may be subdivided to carry multiple channels, each with a phone conversation. Such digital lines are T1s, E1s, ISDN or similar digital lines.
- Phone recorder / Digital phone recorder: (Also known as a Call logger, Voice logger, Agent monitor or Call monitor.) A phone recorder consists of the hardware and software necessary to tap into, monitor and record phone lines, radio transmissions or any type of audio line. Most call recording is done by recorders that can monitor and record multiple lines simultaneously as well as providing ways to search call recordings by various means, and grade or attach custom notes to these call recordings. Phone recorders range in price from the cost of a computer up to tens of thousands of dollars for large systems with complex software. Digital phone recorders are specialized to record directly from digital trunk lines, or from the PBX.
- Port: (Also known as a line or a channel.) Port refers to the plug in spot for an incoming line being recorded. A phone recorder with 4 ports would be able to record 4 phone lines or 4 conversations at once.
- Punch down block: Usually a small plastic frame box that allows multiple RJ11 phone cables to be plugged in and connected to a large Telco cable that can carry all the lines within one cable. This is useful in reducing the number of cables having to be run to between the phone recorder and the phones to be recorded.
- RJ11 cable: (Also known as a standard phone cable) Everyone has seen and used on of these standard phone cords. With 4 pins on a transparent plastic connector and a gray cable these usually only carry one phone line or channel.
- Serial cable: A serial cable is a common computer cable used to connect peripheral devices such as a modem to a computer and has 25 pins. Used by a phone recorder to connect to the SMDR port of a PBX.
- SIP: The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is an IETF-defined signaling protocol, widely used for controlling multimedia communication sessions such as voice and video calls over Internet Protocol (IP). The protocol can be used for creating, modifying and terminating two-party (unicast) or multiparty (multicast) sessions consisting of one or several media streams. The modification can involve changing addresses or ports, inviting more participants, and adding or deleting media streams. Other feasible application examples include video conferencing, streaming multimedia distribution, instant messaging, presence information, file transfer and online games.
- SMDR port: (Station Message Detail Recording) This serial port is common on most modern PBXs and provides information such as what phone numbers called in, what extensions they called to, and what time of the day they called. This valuable information can be harvested by the phone recorder and attached to the call recordings automatically by plugging a serial cable between the phone recorder and the SMDR port of a PBX.
- Telecom cable: (Also known as an Amphenol or Telco cable) A heavy 50 pin connector cable used to carry multiple phone lines inside a company. This cable handles up to 25 channels or phone lines within it and is typically used to connect from the phone recorder to a block with up to twenty five RJ11 or phone cables.
- T1 PRI: A digital trunk line that carries 23 B channels or phone lines within it and 1 D channel, that carries digital information about the other 23 phone lines.
- T1 regular: A digital trunk line that carries 24 B channels or phone lines within it.
- Trunk line: An incoming line from the phone company or telecom provider. These incoming lines can be analog, T1, E1, ISDN or PRI and often carry multiple channels pm each capable of carrying its’ own phone conversation. Tapping into trunk lines for call recording is usually more cost effective and easier than recording from the extension lines but may make it harder to search the call recordings later as the detailed extension information is not available unless a workaround such as SMDR integration is used.
- Voice logger: (voice recorder) The term voice logging means to record a voice or audio source. Voice logging is synonymous with call recording.
- VOIP: (Voice Over Internet Protocol) A newer technology that allows phone conversations to be digitized and sent as packets of information transferable over the Internet or local networks and then translated back into phone conversations. VOIP specific phones are necessary to translate the information into sound and some type of a network to carry the information. Phone recorders can capture and record VOIP conversations in a variety of ways.
- VOX: (Voice activation) Voice activation allows a phone recorder to start recording once a sufficiently loud sound comes in over a phone line. The volume level necessary to trigger recording can be set by a user in the VS Logger software. Choosing VOX as a triggering mechanism has pros and cons. VOX requires no compatibility between the PBX and the recorder and can be used to save storage space by getting rid of hold time. The disadvantages to VOX are the amount of time needed to determine the best threshold level to activate recording. If the level is too low then low volume connections may get missed, but if it is too high then ambient noise may trigger unwanted recordings. Other options for triggering recordings include “on-hook/off-hook” or an event such as the pressing of a defined button on the phone or on a computer.
- WAV file: An industry standard file used to store a piece of audio. This standard is playable on any Windows based computer and is the recognized standard. It is not a compressed format though and the file size is quite large. WAV files can easily be converted into other compressed file types.