Cognitel recognizes callers' spoken names, and responds with individualized greetings or messages, call transfers or paging notifications.
"Home office or home (SOHO) users are most likely to benefit from Cognitel," said Eric Almeida, President of NovCom. "Cognitel provides many of the advantages of a receptionist or answering service, at a vastly lower cost."
"Do you often want to relay some specific information to a given caller, but know you'll be absent when he or she calls?" Almeida continued. "Cognitel addresses this dilemma, and eliminates so-called 'telephone tag'. "
No additional hardware is required; the only system requirements are a voice-enabled Windows-compatible modem and a Pentium microprocessor. Most Windows 98 PCs shipped since August 1998 contain voice-enabled Winmodems, which are fully compatible with Cognitel. Prior to that time, only a limited number of PCs and modems were compatible. Details on compatibility can be found here.
Cognitel works with or without Caller ID.
"Until now PC telephone answering systems have been able to identify callers only by means of Caller ID," Almeida explained. "The problem is that Caller ID is not always available, for example if the caller is calling from a PBX-based phone system, a cell phone, or a public phone. That's limited the utility of such systems. Cognitel overcomes these limitations by employing advanced speech recognition technology."
Cognitel asks the caller to state his/her first name and last name. If the user has previously entered the name in the system, a personalized action can be taken.
"The most common action is likely to be a customized greeting or message, which can be changed at any time," Almeida said. "But that's not all. If you have a three-way line service from your phone company, you can have certain callers transferred to another number such as a cell phone."
"Are you ever in a situation where you're expecting about 20 calls, but want just one caller to be transferred to your cell phone?" Almeida asked. "Cognitel gives you that capability."
In addition Cognitel may page the user when a call is received from a certain caller, if the user also subscribes to a paging service.
Cognitel's call transfer and paging features allow users to consolidate all telecommunication to a single telephone number.
"With Cognitel you don't need to give out two or three numbers to the people who call you - just your main number," Almeida said. "Meanwhile you decide who reaches your cell phone or pager, and when."
Cognitel creates a record of incoming calls, listed by caller, which allows the user to listen to the most important messages first when returning to the home or office. This log of telephone contacts can also be stored or printed for reference purposes.
Cognitel's messages can be played from the Microsoft InBox, or from a special quick-time message player.
If the user is present, Cognitel provides a call-screening mechanism. The user may choose whether or not to accept a given call only after the system's name queries, when the identity of the caller has been established.