Oscom Story

APComms and the Oscom® Story

 

Answer Plus Communications (Aust) Pty Ltd (APComms) is the appointed Australian Master Distributor of Oscom® Telephone Call Recording Systems – having accepted the role in April 2012.

Our relationship with the Oscom® brand however goes back some years to 2003, when APComms was appointed as a non-exclusive distributor. We are pleased and honoured to extend and continue the association as Australian Master Distributor.

The history of Oscom goes back much further however, to 1992.

It is a story that bears telling as it demonstrates the experience and dedication to Voice Recording that is inherent in the Oscom® brand.

Here then is …….

The Oscom® Story

The following is the story of the Oscom® brand, the history of the development of the Oscom Voice Logging Recorders / Telephone Call Recorders detailing the various generations of Oscom Recorders up to the present, how the name came about and the company behind the products:

1992 – Oscar Communications formed.

In 1992, Oscar Communications commenced business in Sydney Australia.

Oscar Communications was one of the first companies to develop and manufacture digital voice logging recorders.

Previously Voice Recorders had been massive dual reel to reel recorders that stood around 2m tall using 1 inch (25mm) wide tape passing across head stacks that allowed for continuous recording of up to 84 channels, 24 Hours per day.
With the reel to reel systems there was a lot of tape wasted as (generally) only 30% of time was being used in recording actual telephone conversations, the rest of the tape time was wasted on the “silent period” between calls.

Naturally, the time taken to find calls was also an issue — in reel to reel recording this used to be called “wind and find”….

1992 – Release of Oscom 1000 Digital Recorder – the First Generation

Oscar Communications had seen an opening in the market for digital voice logging and developed their first product — the Oscom 1000. The Oscom 1000 Digital Recorder offered clients up to 32 channels of analogue inputs. Recordings were digitised and stored on DDS 1 DAT drives. Dual DAT drives offered clients either redundant recording or sequential recording.

There were two major advantages realized in moving to digital recording:
a) Storage requirements were greatly reduced as digital recordings occurred only when there was actual activity (instead of the full-time, 24 Hour Recording required with reel to reel recorders)
b) Each call was indexed making it much easier to find.

Users were now becoming more demanding with this increased freedom, ease of recording and speed of call retrieval.

The Oscom 1000 was further developed and expanded to a maximum capacity of 48 channels and from DDS 1 storage through DDS2, 3 and finally DDS 4 to provide increasingly larger storage capacity.

There were more than 6,500 Oscom 1000 units sold worldwide, becoming an industry standard for a time.

The Oscom 1000 Digital Recorder had some notable users including:
• Baring Securities in Singapore (that collapsed through rogue trading)
• Esso in Longford Victoria Australia
• Deutsche Bank
• Citibank
• Merrill Lynch
• Bank of America
• Prudential
• Changi Airport in Singapore
• Incheon Airport in Seoul
• and many others were users of the Oscom 1000 globally.

EDAC:

With the introduction of digital voice loggers Oscar Communications also introduced the Expandable Digital to Analog Converter (EDAC).

A major issue had arisen with the use of TDM Technology by PBX Manufacturers. The method available to record Digital Handsets was restricted to the use of logger patch units installed at each handset. At the time, voice loggers could only record an analogue input signal.

Oscar Communications developed the EDAC to address this issue, with the EDAC taking the digital TDM signal (from the PBX Digital Extension Circuit) and converting the audio part to an analogue signal for input into the voice logger.
The Oscar Communications EDAC was highly successful, and large numbers of EDAC ports were sold to Racal, Dictaphone, Nice, TEAC and Verint.

Political Issues:
Whilst the EDAC solved a problem for competitors in the Voice Recording marketplace, these companies were, at the same time, uncomfortable with the idea of purchasing the EDAC from a competitor.

1996 – Digital Techniques

To address the competitor concerns related to the EDAC (as noted), in 1996 a new company was created called Digital Techniques. It was set up originally for the sole purpose of selling the DTI EDAC to voice logging companies.

Digital Techniques used the same employees, the same shareholders and the same company directors as Oscar Communications. However, all of the voice logging companies were very comfortable with this arrangement – and so Digital Techniques became the company selling the EDAC and other accessories for Digital PBX’s like Nortel, Avaya and others.

** To the present day, many resellers still use the EDAC as the interface of choice for their digital handset recording interface, as the EDAC offers a passive, highly stable connection for the voice only. The EDAC is unable to capture other data that may exist in the Digital Extension connection, but always get both sides of the voice.

Oscar Communications further develops the Oscom Recorder range

Oscar Communications continued on with the Oscom Recorder range and produced successive generations of Voice Recorder products:

The Second Generation — Oscom 500 & Oscom 2000:

The second generation of voice logging products saw the release of two products, the Oscom 500 for up to 16 channels and the Oscom 2000 which could be equipped for up to 64 channels per server. These systems operated on machine language, a departure from the DOS based Oscom 1000, thereby offering greater stability.

The Third Generation — Oscom 400:

In 1996 the Oscom 400 was introduced as a third generation product.
The Oscom 400 utilised a 4 port ISA card and Windows software – a combination which could either be purchased as a kit or as an integrated solution including PC hardware.
The Oscom 400 Digital Recorder proved to be very popular and became the standard recorder in use with many organizations — like NSW Rural Fire Service, Malaysian Prisons and others.
The Oscom 400 Recorder was originally developed under Windows 95 and during its production life operated on successive Windows operating systems, up to and including Windows XP.
The NT drivers that had been developed under Windows 3.51 had been so well developed that they required no changes – despite Microsoft’s changes to their operating systems.

The Fourth Generation — the Oscom 800:

In 2003 the fourth generation product was launched — the Oscom 800.

The Oscom 800 was a 4 to 24 channel system that could be expanded in increments of 4 channels, and stacked up to a maximum of 144 Channels.
A 1.5 RU chassis meant that the Oscom 800 was easily rack mountable.
The Oscom 800 GUI was available in different languages including English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and German, to suit the various markets around the world.

2005 – Company Consolidation

In 2005, company management decided to rationalize the two company structure and, after some discussion with Oscom competitors, it was decided to merge Oscar Communications and Digital Techniques into a single operating company. A board meeting in September 2005 confirmed the merger and the name chosen to move forward was Digital Techniques. All trade-names and trademarks held by Oscar Communications were transferred into Digital Techniques ownership.

**Oscar Communications had trademarked the name “Oscom” back in 1993 for marketing purposes when the name “Oscom” stood as a shortened version of Oscar Communications.

The Fifth Generation — Oscom UR – Unified Recording

Digital Techniques has continued the development of Oscom voice loggers and in 2010 the Oscom UR was introduced to replace the ageing Oscom 800.

The Oscom UR is a new generation for many reasons as this new voice logger can be equipped to record analogue inputs, digital inputs from ISDN trunks and also SIP trunks and extensions.

The Oscom UR can record up to 300 SIP extensions in a single recorder making it the largest capacity system available today.  Individual URMS servrs can be stacked in a “Master/Slave” configuration to expand to > 1000 recording channels.

The Oscom UR also offers screen capture associated with recorded conversations and offers all the features and scalability necessary to allow for larger scale deployments of voice loggers.

April 2012 – the Oscom UR-Lite version released to cater for the low capacity market.

 

Oscom® Brand – the Outlook:

Today Digital Techniques is just as committed to the Voice Logging market and ongoing development of the Oscom range of voice loggers, to meet market requirements and needs. Oscom Voice Loggers are positioned to compete with any of the major brands globally, offering greater stability, scalability and reliability.

Digital Techniques are currently working on developments to the Oscom® Recorder range that will offer even greater options for clients requiring Voice Logging.

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The above should provide some idea of the experience and dedication to Voice Recording that is inherent in the Oscom® brand.

As noted, Oscom recorders have been used by large numbers of stock broking companies, banks, call centres, emergency services and Government organizations.

The Digital Techniques motto –

“Bring People and Technology Together”

Digital Techniques create solutions that are easy to use, easy to install and easy to maintain.
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**Historical details for the Oscom Story has been provided by Mr Rupert Utteridge, CEO, Digital Techniques.

** Digital Techniques are also very actively involved in the IP Telephony market and is the distributor and support centre for Asterisk and all related accessories.
Digital Techniques is also the distributor for snom® IP handsets and the snom® One IP PBX.

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