Computer telephony integration, also called computer–telephone integration or CTI, is a common name for any technology that allows interactions on a telephone and a computer to be integrated or coordinated. The term is predominantly used to describe desktop-based interaction for helping users be more efficient, though it can also refer to server-based functionality such as automatic call routing.

Common functions, by application type

CTI applications tend to run on either a user's desktop, or an unattended server.

Common desktop functions provided by CTI applications

  • Screen popping - Call information display (caller's number (ANI), number dialed (DNIS), and Screen pop on answer, with or without using calling line data. Generally this is used to search a business application for the caller's details.
  • Dialing - Automatic dialing and computer-controlled dialing (power dial, preview dial, and predictive dial).
  • Phone control - Includes call control (answer, hang up, hold, conference, etc.) and feature control (DND, call forwarding, etc.).
  • Transfers - Coordinated phone and data transfers between two parties (i.e., pass on the Screen pop with the call.).
  • Call center - Allows users to log in as a call center agent and control their agent state (Ready, Busy, Not ready, Break, etc.).

Common server functions provided by CTI applications

  • Call routing - The automatic routing of calls to a new destination based on criteria normally involving a database lookup of the caller's number (ANI) or number dialed (DNIS).
  • Advanced call reporting functions - Using the detailed data that comes from CTI to provide better-than-normal call reporting.
  • Voice recording integration - Using data from CTI to enrich the data stored against recorded calls.


Common functions, by connection type

Computer-phone connections can be split into two categories:

  1. First-party call control:
    Operates as if there is a direct connection between the user's computer and the phone set. Examples are a modem or a phone plugged directly into the computer. Typically, only the computer associated with the phone can control it by sending commands directly to the phone and thus this type of connection is suitable for desktop applications only. The computer can generally control all the functions of the phone at the computer user's discretion.
  2. Third-party call control;
    Interactions between arbitrary numbers of computers and telephones are made through and coordinated by a dedicated telephony server. Consequently, the server governs which information and functions are available to a user. The user's computer generally connects to the telephony server over the local network.

Other protocols and interfaces



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