C&P Telephone (Formerly Bell Atlantic, currently Verizon) was Our First Large Client…
The first phone systems sold by Infotel were portable systems designed for Richmond, Virginia based Bell Atlantic marketing department. Our contract stated simply, “Make it work like the phone company.” Below are some of the many service simulators we designed. These kiosks taught Bell Atlantic employees and customers alike the many benefits of Bell Atlantic service offerings.
“Infotel Systems proved to be competent, creative and technically skilled. All projects were delivered on time and always exceeded our expectations.” – Joan Chalkley, (retired) Manager, Bell Atlantic.
The products listed below are now part of Verizon. Some of these exhibits were quite complex as they mimicked various telephone services. In building these exhibits, we learned a lot about how Verizon central office equipment works and made many friends with Verizon engineers.
Needs: Centrex was a state of the art telephone system (for its time.) All telephone switching equipment was located, updated and maintained at the telephone company local office. Our client needed to educate the public on how Centrex worked. This originally required Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company (C&P Telephone) engineers to install four active Centrex telephones at local trade shows. This installation proved to be expensive and took too long to coordinate with trade show officials. C&P Telephone needed a solution that would take advantage of economies of scale.
Our Solution: Our contract had one sentence in it: “Make it work like the phone company.” We designed a computer controlled Centrex exhibit that simulated, in every detail, the desired Centrex telephone service. The exhibit displayed four phones on a console and graphically depicted the same on the computer screen above. All Centrex phone interactions were simulated in real time and offered a total of twelve Centrex features. Since the Centrex service simulations took place without the need for expensive and time consuming hook up of outside Centrex lines, the client’s ongoing expenses were minimal.
Tech Details: We accomplished this task using a custom-designed “cross-point switch.” This switch was controlled by a 386 PC running a Microsoft C 6.0 program. We basically created our own switch software that worked like an AT&T 5E switch. Via the control hardware, the program sensed off-hook telephones and dialed digits. The program then depicted the particular Centrex feature accessed by drawing the scenario as it happened on the color monitor.
This machine was the start of Infotel’s early years of engineering phone systems for C&P Telephone (now Verizon.)
Needs: Teach school children how to use 911
Our Solution: We designed a portable exhibit that shows what happens in a 911 response center when a call comes in. The high level of automation in the display kept the children’s interest while important concepts were taught.
Class Simulator (5e):
Needs: IQ Services was the C&P Telephone of Virginia trademark for generic Bellcore CLASS(tm) services. C&P needed to educate the public on how these IQ services worked. This originally required C&P engineers to install four active telephone lines at each trade show.
Such installations tended to be cost prohibitive and took too long to coordinate with trade show officials. Our client needed faster setup of displays at a lower continuing cost.
Our Solution: We designed and produced a computer-controlled CLASS service exhibit that simulated, in every detail, the desired telephone service. Two people could transport it in an extended cargo van and set up the simulator in fifteen minutes. As the CLASS service simulations took place without the need for expensive and time-consuming hook-up of outside telephone lines, the client’s ongoing expenses were minimal.
Info & Order Kiosk:
Needs: Our client desired a dynamic and interactive display to present new phone services to both business and residential customers attending trade shows. They also needed to answer any questions the audience might have had, regardless of the level of expertise of the employee running the booth. Additionally, NJ Bell managers required that this display track interest levels of each service offered.
As noted above, these installations tended to be cost prohibitive and took too long to coordinate with trade show officials. Our client needed faster setup of displays at a lower continuing cost.
Our Solution: We produced a display that described available telephone services through computer-animated color graphics. The display also allowed the client to add details and descriptions to any service description screen. Finally, the display recorded the area of interest each user selected and maintained an ongoing counter system.