Agent Desktop and Supervisor Desktop
An agent desktop is a required component of an IPCC deployment. From the agent desktop, the agent performs agent state control (login, logout, ready, not ready, and wrap-up) and call control (answer, release, hold, retrieve, make call, transfer, and conference).
Within the Cisco Intelligent Contact Management (ICM) configuration, an IPCC agent desktop is not statically associated with any specific agent or IP Phone extension. Agents and IP Phone extensions (device targets) must be configured within the ICM configuration, and both are associated with a specific Cisco CallManager cluster. When logging in from an agent desktop, the agent is presented with a dialog box that prompts for agent ID, password (optional, depending upon agent configuration in the ICM), and the IPCC phone extension to be used for this login session. It is at login time that the agent ID, IP Phone extension (device target), and agent desktop IP address are all dynamically associated. The association is released upon agent logout. This mechanism enables an agent to hot-desk from one agent desktop to another. It also provides for laptop roaming so that an agent can take their laptop to any IP Phone and log in from that IP Phone (assuming the IP Phone has been configured in the ICM and in Cisco CallManager to be used in an IPCC deployment). Agents can also log in to other IP Phones using the extension mobility feature.
All communication from the agent desktop passes through the CTI OS Server (see Figure 7-1). The CTI OS Server can run on the same Peripheral Gateway (PG) server as the Cisco CallManager PG process (typical scenario) or on a separate server. If the CTI OS Server runs on its own platform, then that server is sometimes called a CTI gateway (CG) as opposed to a Peripheral Gateway (PG). The hardware and third-party software requirements for a CG and PG are the same. Server sizing is discussed in the chapter on Sizing IPCC Components and Servers, page 5-1.
Figure 7-1 Agent Desktop Communication with CTI OS Server
For each Cisco CallManager PG (and Cisco CallManager cluster), there is one CTI OS Server. The CTI OS Server and the Cisco CallManager PG communicate with each other via the Open Peripheral Controller (OPC) process. All communications from the CTI OS Server are passed to the CTI Server, then via OPC to the Cisco CallManager PG process, then typically to either the ICM Central Controller or the Cisco CallManager.
There may be one or more CTI OS Servers connecting to the CTI Server. The CTI OS Server interfaces with the CTI OS desktop and toolkit as well as Cisco Agent Desktop (Release 6.0 and later). All agent state change requests flow from the agent desktop through CTI OS to the CTI Server to the Cisco CallManager PG to the ICM Central Controller. The ICM Central Controller monitors the agent state so that it knows when it can and cannot route calls to that agent and can report on that agent's activities. Call control (answer, release, hold, retrieve, make call, and so on) flows from the agent desktop through the CTI OS Server to the CTI Server to the Cisco CallManager PG and then to the Cisco CallManager. The Cisco CallManager then performs the requested call or device control. It is the role of the Cisco CallManager PG to keep the IPCC agent desktop and the IP Phone in sync with one another.
Types of IPCC Agent Desktops
There are three types of IPCC agent and supervisor desktops available:
•Cisco Agent Desktop — A packaged agent desktop solution.
•CTI Object Server (CTI OS) — A toolkit for agent desktops that require customization or integration with other applications on the desktop or with customer databases such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application.
•Prepackaged CRM integrations — These integrations are available through Cisco CRM Technology Partners. These integrations are based on the CTI OS toolkit and are not discussed individually in this document.
In addition to an agent desktop, a supervisor desktop is available with the Cisco Agent Desktop and CTI OS options.
Cisco Agent Desktop is a packaged agent and supervisor desktop application. It has a system administration interface that allows configuration of the desktop and workflow automation. Desktop configuration includes: defining what buttons are visible; specifying call, voice, and data processing functions for buttons; and specifying what telephony data will appear on the desktop. The workflow automation enables data processing actions to be scheduled based on telephony events (for example, popping data into third-party applications on answer and sending email on dropped events). The workflow automation interfaces with applications written for Microsoft Windows browsers and terminal emulators. Some customizations can be as simple as using keystroke macros for screen pops.
While CTI OS is a toolkit, it does provide a pre-built, operational agent and supervisor desktop executable. Source code for these executables is provided. Source code is also provided with a number of sample applications, which are included with the toolkit to allow for easy customization. The CTI OS Toolkit does provide the most flexibility. It allows a custom agent or supervisor desktop to be developed, as well as offering advanced tools for integrating the desktop to a database, CRM, or other applications.
Aside from the differences between configured versus customized applications, one major distinction between the two desktop solutions is that Cisco Agent Desktop offers all of the following features:
•Ad-hoc recording (CTI OS users must rely on a third-party recording solution.)
•IP Phone Agents (IPPA) — This is an XML application that allows agents on Cisco 7940 and 7960 IP Phones to log in and perform basic ACD functions from their phones.
•SPAN port silent monitoring — A server-based and switch-based silent monitor solution that works with IPPA as well as Cisco Agent Desktop agents. CTI OS does offer endpoint monitoring, but it requires a PC to be running at the agent's location, which is not the case with IPPA.
Prepackaged CRM integrations are provided by the major CRM manufacturers. These packages are based upon either CTI or CTI OS tools.
Cisco Agent Desktop, Supervisor Desktop, and CTI OS cannot co-exist with Cisco CallManager PG; the configuration of agents and supervisors must be kept separate. Cisco Supervisor Desktop cannot be used to monitor a CTI OS agent desktop, nor can a CTI OS supervisor monitor a Cisco Agent Desktop agent.
The following sections cover these two desktop options separately. Both rely upon communication with the CTI Server, as described in the previous section.
Cisco Agent Desktop and Cisco Supervisor Desktop
Throughout this section, statements about Cisco Agent Desktop apply to both Cisco Agent Desktop and Cisco Supervisor Desktop, except where specifically noted. The Cisco Supervisor Desktop integrates with Cisco Agent Desktop and allows supervisory functions such as barge-in, intercept, and silent monitoring.
The Cisco Agent Desktop and Supervisor Desktop Product Suite is a client-server application providing packaged CTI functionality for Cisco ICM and CTI. Cisco Agent Desktop includes a set of base server applications as well as a VoIP Monitor server application.
One of the base Cisco Agent Desktop services, the Enterprise server, is a monitor-only CTI application that provides value-added services to the agent desktop. Similarly, the other Cisco Agent Desktop services provide value-added features such as recording and chatting. Prior to Release 6.0, Cisco Agent Desktop received its CTI input from the CTI server; with Release 6.0 and later (except for IPCC Express), Cisco Agent Desktop receives its CTI input from the CTI OS Server.
The Cisco Agent Desktop servers may be co-resident on the Peripheral Gateway (PG). As the number of agents increases, the Cisco Agent Desktop servers might require a dedicated server. For more information on server requirements, refer to the chapter on Sizing IPCC Components and Servers, page 5-1.
Figure 7-2 illustrates the system components.
Figure 7-2 Cisco Agent Desktop
Cisco Agent Desktop Release 6.0(1) includes the following new features:
•CTI OS-based implementation
•No longer dependent on shares; configuration data is now stored in Directory Services
•Desktops are automatically updated when new versions are detected at startup
Cisco Desktop Administrator includes the following new features:
•Configuration settings are set up and maintained through the Cisco Agent Desktop Configuration Setup utility, which can be accessed through the Desktop Administrator (or as a standalone program). These configuration settings are no longer set up during the installation process.
•HTTP Post/Get action enables interaction between Agent Desktop (Premium version only) and web-based applications.
Cisco Agent Desktop includes the following new features:
•Improved Agent Desktop interface now includes call control, enterprise data, call activity, and an integrated browser in one window.
•Cisco Outbound Option now includes the Direct Preview Dialing mode.
•Improved status bar provides more information about the user and system status.
•Accessibility improved with the addition of improved icons, screen reader-compatible tool tips for all controls, screen reader-compatible shortcut key, and audible tones that sound when a non-agent-initiated dialog appears (for example, chat windows or supervisor interventions).
Cisco Supervisor Desktop includes the following new features:
•Agent call data now includes the skill group.
•Provides access to agent logs.
•Individual agent statistics combined into a Team Agent Statistics report.
•Improved status bar provides more information about system status.
•Report Preferences allow you to choose which columns are displayed in reports.
Chat capability has been enhanced in the following ways:
•Agents are no longer limited to chatting with conference call participants; agents can chat with supervisors and other team members.
•Chat Selection window displays agent phone hook states.
•Messages can be tagged as high priority for immediate notice.
Recording capability has been enhanced in the following ways:
•Recording is scalable, with the ability to record more calls simultaneously (32 calls in Enhanced version or 80 in Premium version)
•Multiple dedicated Recording & Playback servers
For more information, refer to the Cisco Agent Desktop and Supervisor Desktop product documentation, available at
Cisco Agent Desktop
The Cisco Agent Desktop software provides the core component of the Cisco Agent Desktop application: the softphone, workflow automation, login, call and agent event logging, and agent real-time statistics.
With Cisco Agent Desktop, you have the option of using either a Cisco IP Phone (7940 or 7960) or media termination (softphone). The media termination softphone allows the agent to make, answer, transfer, and conference calls. If your version of Cisco Agent Desktop includes media termination, agents do not need a physical IP phone; they can use the Cisco Agent Desktop softphone by itself.
For more information on the Cisco Agent Desktop, refer to the Cisco Agent Desktop User's Guide, available at
IP Phone Agent (IPPA)
The Cisco IP Phone provides the ability to use the IP Phone as the agent's device. Up until Cisco Agent Desktop Release 6.0, IPPA could be used only as a backup to the desktop application. With Release 6.0, IPPA is now supported as the agent's sole device. IPPA uses the XML display capability of the Cisco 7940 and 7960 IP Phones to provide a basic text interface to the agents, allowing them to log in and out, change state, and enter reason codes and wrap up data. The IPPA also provides the agent with caller data and queue data displays.
For more information on the Cisco IP Phone Agent, refer to the IP Phone Agent User's Guide, available at
Cisco Supervisor Desktop
Cisco Supervisor Desktop provides a graphical view of the agent team being managed by the supervisor. An expandable navigation tree control, similar to Windows Explorer, is used to navigate to and manage the team's resources.
Cisco Supervisor Desktop requires an instance of Cisco Agent Desktop running co-resident on the supervisor's PC. This instance of Agent Desktop is the same as the instance of Agent Desktop on the agent PCs.
The Supervisor Desktop installation includes installation of both the Supervisor Desktop software and the instance of Agent Desktop software. During the Supervisor Desktop installation process, you are prompted to choose the option of using either a hardware IP Phone (either the Cisco 7940 or 7960) or media termination (softphone). The instance of Agent Desktop allows the supervisor to take calls and enables barge-in, intercept, and retrieval of skill group statistics.
For more information on the Supervisor Desktop, refer to the IPCC Supervisor Desktop User's Guide, available at
CTI Object Server (CTI OS) Toolkit
Cisco CTI Object Server (CTI OS) is a high-performance, scalable, fault tolerant server-based solution for deploying CTI applications. It is Cisco's latest version of the CTI implementation. CTI OS serves as a single point of integration for third-party applications, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, data mining, and workflow solutions. Configuration and behavior information is managed at the server, simplifying customization, updates, and maintenance. Servers can be accessed and managed remotely. Thin-client and browser-based applications that do not require Cisco software on the desktop can be developed and deployed with CTI OS.
CTI OS incorporates the following major components:
•CTI OS Toolkit
•Client Interface Library
•CTI OS Agent Phone
•CTI OS Supervisor Phone
Architecturally, CTI OS Server is positioned between the CTI OS agent desktop and the CTI Server. CTI OS Server provides a mechanism to maintain agent and call state information so that the agent desktop can be stateless. This architecture provides the necessary support to develop a browser-based agent desktop if desired.
The CTI OS system consists of three major components (see Figure 7-3):
•CTI OS Server
•CTI OS Agent Desktop
•CTI OS Supervisor Desktop (only on Cisco IPCC for now)
Figure 7-3 CTI OS Basic Architecture
CTI OS Server connects to CTI Server via TCP/IP.
CTI OS typically runs on the same server as the CTI Server and Cisco CallManager PG processes. As an IPCC site gets larger, the CTI OS server process is the first process you should split off from the PG/CTI Server. Multiple CTI OS server processes can connect to a CTI Server. A single CTI OS server can support a maximum of 500 simultaneous agent logins, and additional CTI OS servers can be added to exceed this limitation. Server sizing for CTI OS is covered in the chapter on Sizing IPCC Components and Servers, page 5-1.
CTI OS is typically installed in duplex mode, with two CTI OS servers running in parallel for redundancy. The CTI OS desktop application will randomly connect to either server and automatically fail over to the other server if the connection to the original CTI OS server fails. CTI OS can also run in simplex mode with all clients connecting to one server, but Cisco does not recommend this configuration.
Endpoint Silent Monitoring was introduced in CTI OS Release 5.1. A supervisor can choose to silently monitor an agent on his/her team. Silent monitoring means that voice packets sent to and received by the agent's IP hard phone are captured from the network and sent to the supervisor desktop. At the supervisor desktop, these voice packets are decoded and played on the supervisor's system sound card.
For more information, refer to the Release Notes for CTI OS Release 6.0, available at
CTI OS also provides the following features:
•CTI OS JavaCIL API — SDK for Java-based desktops for agents and supervisors
•CTI OS Supervisor support for Agent Availability Status for IPCC across multi-media domains — Agent availability in multi-media channels (email, web) displayed on the supervisor's desktop
•Siebel Support — IPCC Enterprise Adapter certified for use with Siebel 7.05 and 7.53
For more information, refer to the Cisco CTI Object Server product documentation, available at
Additional Information about Cisco Agent Desktop and Supervisor Desktop
The following additional information related to Cisco Agent Desktop and Cisco Supervisor Desktop is available at the listed URLs:
•CTI Compatibility Matrix
Provides tables outlining ICM Peripheral Gateway (PG) and Object Server (OS) support for versions of Cisco Agent Desktop, CTI OS Server, CTI OS Client, Data Collaboration Server (DCS), Siebel 6, and Siebel 7.
•Voice-Over IP Monitoring Best Practices Deployment Guide for CAD 6.0/6.1
This document provides information about the abilities and requirements of voice over IP (VoIP) monitoring for Cisco Agent Desktop (CAD) Releases 6.0 and 6.1. This information is intended to help you deploy VoIP monitoring effectively.
•Integrating Cisco Agent Desktop into a Citrix Thin-Client Environment
This document helps guide a Citrix administrator through the installation of Cisco Agent Desktop Release 6.0 applications in a Citrix thin-client environment.
•Cisco Agent Desktop Service Information
This document provides release-specific information such as product limitations, service connection types and port numbers, configuration files, registry entries, event/error logs, error messages, and troubleshooting.
•Cisco ICM Software CTI Server Message Reference Guide (Protocol Version 9)
This document describes the CTI Server message interface between Cisco ICM software and application programs.
•Cisco ICM Software CTI OS Developer's Guide
This document provides a brief overview of the Cisco CTI Object Server (CTI OS), introduces programmers to developing CTI-enabled applications with CTI OS, and describes the syntax and usage for CTI OS methods and events.