Asterisk is a complete PBX in software. It runs on Linux, BSD, Windows (emulated) and OS X and provides all of the features you would expect from a PBX and more. Asterisk does voice over IP in four protocols, and can interoperate with almost all standards-based telephony equipment using relatively inexpensive hardware.
Asterisk provides Voicemail services with Directory, Call Conferencing, Interactive Voice Response, Call Queuing. It has support for three-way calling, caller ID services, ADSI, IAX, SIP, H.323 (as both client and gateway), MGCP (call manager only) and SCCP/Skinny. Check the Features section for a more complete list.
Agent, also known as operator, is the basic unit who handles fax, phone call, e-mail and other business in the call center. In a traditional call center, the task of agents is just to answer or make calls while in the new system, due to the wildly usage of computer , agents will also be able to handle e-mail, SMS, fax and other types of business. Agents can use traditional phone (connect to the pbx), landline, mobile, or soft-phone and IP phone (running in the computer). A agent no. is generally used as the identity of a agent.
Usually the modern agent will use computer and have a software to help his work, when the agent phone have events, such as ringing, connected, hang up, the software will perform certain actions, such as the events prompted, screens popup; the contrary, agents can also control the phone via this software, for example, originate the call, consultation, three-way calling, reject, hang up and so on. Most of the software also will be integrated with the business system, like a CRM in most case . For some simple application, agent will not use computers, instead they can work via telephone keypad for basic operations, such as agent do not hang up after the call ends, and the system will give a prompt to mark this call through the keypad, for example success, failure, intends to and so on. In astercc, it provides work place for agents.
A queue is formed by a number of agents, a queue is a unit to procress calls in a callcenter, especially for a inbound callcenter, when a call dial in, when it is transferred to a queue then the queue is allocated according to certain strategies to agents registed in the queue. In the queue, it can also have the agent number indicating and agent rating features. Agent number indicating means when the agent is ready to answer the call from queue, the caller will first hear the agent number from IVR, then the conversation will start; Agent rating means after a conversation, agent hangup first, then the caller will be transfered to a IVR, which can prompt the caller rate the service of the agent by phone keypad.
In computer telephony, an ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) is a system that automatically distributes phone calls to a specific group of agent work stations.
ACD systems are quite often found in organizations that handle a large volume of incoming phone calls and where the caller has no specific need to talk to a certain person. The caller does want to speak with a person capable to provide information and assistance.
Routing incoming calls is the task of the ACD system. The system consists of switching hardware, phone lines and routing software. The routing strategy is a set of instructions that tells the ACD how calls are handled inside the system.
Check in means a agent join a queue, which means the agent is ready to answer calls sent from a queue, check out is opposite action, when agent check out, he would not receive calls from the queue. In some applications, call center agents need to belong to a different queue, and the necessary part of the check in / check out. In astercc, agent can check in, check out manually or be fixed in a queue by administrator.