Bell Atlantic Testing Service That Lets Online Surfers
Take Incoming Calls -- Or Surf On
Service Targets Growing Online and Work-At-Home Segments;
Key Tool for Single-Line Households
April 20, 1999
NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic will move customer control up a notch with
a new service that alerts Internet users when they have an incoming call on
the same line and lets them decide how to handle the call.
Trials of the service, known as Internet Call Manager, and the on-line
ordering process the company will use to sell it are beginning this week.
Market introduction is expected later this year.
Internet Call Manager enables Internet users to answer a call, provide a
message to the caller, send the call to voice mail or forward the call to
another number. It will be a key service for households using just one line
for all voice and Internet traffic but is expected to be popular for homes
with additional lines, as well, because it increases the versatility of lines
used by teleworkers and others in the burgeoning work-at-home market
"Internet Call Manager is tailored to our customers' needs," said Margaret
Gardner, Bell Atlantic's director of call management services. "Customers
told our researchers they loved the idea that they could receive or manage
calls while they were on line and would likely buy the service when it is
"Internet Call Manager also is valuable to callers because it saves them the
frustration and inconvenience of a two-hour busy signal," Gardner said.
With the new service, when Internet users receive an incoming call while
they are on line, a dialog box will appear on their computer screen,
displaying the name and number of the caller. They can use their
computer's cursor to take the call and end the Internet session, send back a
message to the caller that they'll be in touch later, forward the call to
another number, or ignore the call. If they have Home Voice Mail, callers
will be able to leave a message.
All incoming calls, the call data and the disposition of each call, are
logged by the service for review by the customer after their Internet
The trial service will utilize technology developed by InfoInterActive, a
Canadian software company which develops enhanced services linking the
Internet to the public switched telephone network. Once the service is
deployed, Bell Atlantic's Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN) will
support it. When a call comes in to a busy line, the network will check to
see if the customer's link to their Internet company is active. If it is, it will
enable the on-screen call identification and processing options.
"We've taken our Internet Call Manager solution to the next level of
network efficiency at Bell Atlantic," said Michael Smith, executive vice
president at InfoInterActive. "By aligning with key strategic technology
partners, we have been able to address the specific needs of Bell Atlantic's
network and customers."
The trial involves customers with Bell Atlantic.netsm Internet service and
Bell Atlantic employees from suburban Long Island. Individuals have
been invited to participate in the trial and they will enroll via a special
Web site. They'll receive software, downloaded automatically from the
Web site, when they are accepted into the trial. Thanks to the versatility of
Bell Atlantic's Advanced Intelligent Network, Caller ID service is not
required for the service to work.
"We've designed this trial to test the service, the benefits it brings our
customers and our interactive on-line ordering process for the service,"
said Lorene DePasquale, product manager.
"The Internet continues to inspire new services that meet the needs of its
users, and in this case we've linked Web surfing and regular calling into a
great new product," she said.
"Today, 30 percent of the households we serve use online services and that
number will grow to 50 percent within four years," she said.
According to DePasquale, more than three quarters of households served
by Bell Atlantic have only one phone line. "The market is very large," she
said. "This service will make phone lines more versatile and give our
customers the comfort of knowing they're not out of touch while they're
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 42 million telephone access lines
and 8.6 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies
are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services,
market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of
directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's
largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with
operations and investments in 23 countries.
About InfoInterActive Inc.
IIA is a publicly traded Canadian technology company that develops and
deploys network-based enhanced services combining telephone, Internet,
and wireless technologies. The Company's patented flagship product -
Internet Call Manager - allows Internet users to monitor their calls while
their phone line is busy engaged on an Internet session. IIA currently has
signed agreements to trial or deploy Internet Call Manager with numerous
major telephone companies and Internet Service Providers in North
America, and holds U.S. and Canadian patents for the relevant technology.
InfoInterActive is traded in Canada under the symbol IIA. More
information on the Company can be found at