A dialer (US) or dialler (UK) is an electronic device that is connected to a telephone line to monitor the dialed numbers and alter them to seamlessly provide services that otherwise require lengthy access codes to be dialed. A dialer automatically inserts and modifies the numbers depending on the time of day, country or area code dialed, allowing the user to subscribe to the service providers who offer the best rates. For example, a dialer could be programmed to use one service provider for international calls and another for cellular calls. This process is known as prefix insertion or least cost routing. A line powered dialer does not need any external power but instead takes the power it needs from the telephone line.
An autodialer, autodialler, or automatic calling unit is an electronic device that can automatically dial telephone numbers to communicate between any two points in the telephone, mobile phone and pager networks. Once the call has been established (through the telephone exchange) the autodialer will announce verbal messages (called a robocall in the US) or transmit digital data (like SMS messages) to the called party.
A Smart Autodialer is an autodialer capable of personalizing messages and collecting touch tone or speech feedbacks. A speech engine is usually included for converting text to speech and recognizing speech over the phone.
To customize or personalize messages, a smart autodialer system uses message template, which contains variables that can be replaced later by actual values. For example, a time variable included in the message template can be replaced by the actual time when a phone call is made.
A semi-automatic dialer is a human controlled dialer. All actions, such as dialing, playing audio message, recording, are initiated by human, normally by the press of a key. It is a productivity tool for telemarketing agents.
An enterprise grade dialer must provide two key features. First, it must be capable of making large number of simultaneous phone calls; and second, it must provide an application programming interface (API) for system integration. Almost all enterprise grade autodialers employ computer networking technology, since voice boards have fixed number of ports and cannot be scaled up. In order to make 2000 simultaneous phone calls, for example, a group of computers have to be linked together to provide the support for that many phone lines.
Some advanced enterprise dialers are distributed dialers, i.e., independent dialers that are linked together through the Internet and controlled by a call dispatching program. With distributed computing, there is virtually no limit on scalability. All distributed dialers, by definition, can be accessed remotely. Today with optimized and highly specialized coding some companies have been able to sustain 2000 simultaneous calls using only one server and a single 100 mbit connection.