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News, events and useful information

The Value of Outbound Court Notifications

We get notifications reminding us of our many things in our daily lives, such as dentist appointments, package deliveries, or the expected arrival time of the cable TV repair technician.  There has been a dramatic increase in usage by the public sector - perhaps most notably regarding the Covid-19 vaccine. While attending the NACM (National Association of Court Management)  in mid-July, we had some interesting conversations that underscored the importance of court notifications, the focus of this post.

Courts use notifications for a variety of things, including jury service reminders, hearing reminders, payment reminders, collections notices and more. When it comes to criminal cases, nationwide, 35% of defendants fail to appear for court dates.  As a result, warrants are issued, people are detained for days weeks depending on the nature of the charges, and the court date is rescheduled.  This slows down an already backlogged system, and the cost of issuing and serving warrants and detaining people is staggering.  Courts that have implemented hearing reminders have experienced a reduction in failures to appear, and since the cost of each reminder is pennies, it is a valuable tool.  

Payment reminders are an effective way of improving cash flow.  Collections notices are also effective because most people want to avoid being sent to a collection agency and courts want to avoid this because a significant percentage of the revenue is often retained by collection agencies - as much as 25% or more.  Jury reminders are now offered by jury management system providers and IVR system providers alike, and help to improve jury yields.   

By selecting the right solution for your needs and following best practices, the impact and value of these reminders will be optimized.  We will cover this topic on a future post. 



The Bots Are Coming....


Bots, like chat bots or telephone bots, give you the ability to implement user friendly services that allow your public to easily access things they need, like account balances, due dates, payment portals, status checks and more. Bots tend to be friendlier than old school interfaces by allowing users to input requests the way they like to say them. Natural language technologies, hosted in the cloud, then can interpret the request giving the bot the ability to guide your customers to the information they seek.

We have recently launched our first bot which we are calling Portals Court Assistant. Users can check jury status, lookup case information, access payment portals and obtain locations and hours.

Additional bots are on the way. We envision these bots serving varied interests including government agencies, healthcare and enterprises of all kinds.

Great efficiencies are achieved as back end and front end scripting are all done only one time. Connectors to different services, such as SMS text, telephone speech recognition, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp Messenger and others are brought online to the chat bot program without any additional software development needed.

While bots can significantly improve access to information and key functions, bots can also hand off customers to agents when the need arises. Help is never very far away.

Let us make life for your public users better than ever! Contact us for a demonstration today. 

NCSC 2018 eCourts Conference – Be there or be left behind

The 2018 eCourts conference is just around the corner, and ATI Connect and Streamwrite are excited to be participating again this year.

There has been much debate about attending trade shows in the digital age, where content marketing and social media marketing has been the popular choice as of late.

We still feel that the value in face-to-face interaction is enormous. It’s a great way to meet many of your customers in just a few days and it also allows you to meet prospects that you may otherwise never get the opportunity to know.

One of our goals as an exhibitor is to promote brand awareness in our industry, and attending the shows permits us to engage in real-time conversations, share product knowledge and receive instant feedback from decision makers looking to find solutions to an existing problem.

Additionally, it’s the perfect venue to see what’s new and what the latest trends are. You should always try to make time to walk the floor and meet actual users of the products. Spending a few minutes visiting with other exhibitors is key as well, these shows offer great networking possibilities. It also allows you to understand what your competitors are offering and doing.

So is it worth the extra time and expense to attend trade shows? Absolutely! For us, it’s a requirement if we intend to stay current with the needs of our customers as well as create new and exciting applications.

If you plan on attending the show please stop by and meet with the team and enter our drawing to win an iPad. We will be in booth #119. 

Hope to see you there!


Serving Customers

Serving Customers

Pete Peterson 9/12/2018


It’s the single most important job of any business. And the most challenging.

 A balancing game exists today for companies to both serve customers in a personal and careful manner, and to lower the costs of doing so. Sending a customer away feeling that they were helped in a way that saved them time and solved their problem can be achieved through many different approaches. The easy answer is to always have a live agent, ready, and available without an extended wait. This was the gold standard for decades – “I’m here, I’m on the phone, and I’m ready to help you now”.

The pendulum swung to automation starting in the 80s, and peaking in the late 90s with systems that encouraged customers to forgo live help and retrieve information automatically, first through IVR and later through web, email and most lately Text/SMS. Early on, this was seen by the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers and GenX’ers as impersonal and unhelpful. In the early days of automation, they were spot-on right about this in most cases. Early ventures into automation was done in a way that often forced callers to navigate endless IVR menus and questions, entering account information repeatedly - finding that in the end, they needed to still talk to someone and then wait in an extended queue since the provider was banking on automation to lower their FTE headcount. Automation got a really bad name during those years.

 Fast forward to the ‘00s – The web is fully part of our lives. The fore mentioned generations have now joined their Millennial kids in accepting automation as convenient and a valid alternative to a live agent – at least in web form. I took a few years for IVR to catch up.

 It was in these years that ATI began to re-think IVR. How can we design IVR in a way that doesn’t drag callers through piles of menus asking multiple questions that don’t apply to most customers? The answer: Context Sensitive IVR. Imagine that you know a lot about the customer -- who’s calling. You wouldn’t offer nearly as many menu options or branches to someone if you know where they stood with the provider. For example, instead of reading a list of 10 options like Payment, balance, address correction, etc., we might start out with a special context for this customer because they have a credit amount on their account. We might identify a customer that cannot be handled automatically because of their status, and vector them into a special agent queue for that particular status. We might make special offers to this client based on their previous buying habits. All of this can be done as long as we first identify the caller with an account number or caller ID.

As we moved on into the new millennium, other channels became available that followed the same benefits of context sensitive scripting – integrated WEB, SMS and IVR lend themselves well to a cross-platform approach that blends live telephone agents and chat help.

ATI’s PORTALS platform is the product of these decades of experience with customers and clients, and has played a major role in Corporations, Medicine, Universities, government and courts interfacing with their callers and customers.

The new frontier of customer service will encompass AI, WEB RTC and other new tools and protocols – and PORTALS will be there – connecting customers and solving problems. 


RCS Poised to Replace SMS for Texting

RCS, short for Rich Communication Services, is the newer technology poised to take over for the aged Short Message Service (SMS) we've been using for the past decade or more. While SMS is very affordable and available on every device, it has some obvious shortcomings. Message delivery is not guaranteed and there is no mechanism to validate that a message has been delivered. One statistic I found indicates that 1% to 5% of SMS messages are lost completely and many others may not be delivered to the recipient until much later. Using SMS services for emergencies is a questionable practice.

Rich Communication Services

All of that said, in the United States, 6 billion SMS messages are sent each day according to Michael O'Grady of Forrester. The demand is there and a big improvement seems long overdue. 

RCS Brings Improvements

Rich Communication Services intends make the needed improvements. This new service intends to provide:

  • Instant Messaging
  • Person to Person Chat
  • Group Chat
  • Content And File Sharing
  • Person Presence Information
  • VoIP Calling
  • Video Calling
  • Geolocation Information
  • Audio Messages
  • Network Blacklisting
  • Capability Sharing from Presence or Other Available Options

In addition, RCS will support video files of up to 10 MB, while MMS max file size can vary from 250 KB to 1.2 MB.

Not A Perfect Service

RCS is not a perfect service. End to end encryption for chat services is not supported, leaving everything you type into a chat window, wide open to be intercepted just like in an SMS text message today.

Additionally, while Android is adding support for RCS, iPhone seems to have no intention to do so, meaning Apple and Google users won't be able to share the benefits of RCS across platforms (Android users can share the benefits of RCS among Android users and iMessage already shares these benefits but only among Apple users).

Carrier Adoption

On a positive note, it looks like RCS is being adopted by several carriers in the U.S. MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T have all adopted the service to date. It appears as though Verizon Wireless has yet to adopt the service.

While adoption is not yet 100%, there is good momentum for RCS and it does promise big improvements over its predecessor. I'll remain hopeful that my iPhone with Verizon Wireless services will someday soon see RCS as a standard feature and I can share in the greater eco system with messaging benefits across all device types.