1998: Phone Web

Photo: Phone       Web. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) services automate routine processes and transactions, offering a powerful means by which a business can reduce operating costs as well as increase the company's prestige. Unfortunately, IVR systems require a substantial investment in premises equipment, highly specialized programmers, and technical staff that few smaller businesses can afford. Phone Web provides a much more feasible alternative to the standard IVR system. It eliminates the need to purchase premises equipment, and it is based on Phone Markup Language (PML), a simple language that is an extension of HTML — so Phone Web can be set up without the need for highly skilled programmers.

Here's how it works. Phone Web allows you to access the content and interactions of Web pages through a telephone. When calling a Phone Web IVR system, you gain access through AT&T's inbound network services. Information that you enter is received by the Phone Web hardware, which retrieves the appropriate PML page, interprets that page, and sends the response back to you.

AT&T also employed Phone Web technology in the AT&T ONE RATE® plan by allowing you to customize your telephone service using an intuitive Web interface rather than going through the time-consuming process of making similar changes over the phone. In the years to come, Phone Web will continue to provide new paths to savings and self-service.