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This service allows users to define a "find-me" list of phone numbers, which are alerted sequentially upon receiving an incoming call that matches a set of criteria. While the service searches for the user, the calling party is provided with a greeting followed by periodic comfort announcements. "Please stay on the line while we locate the person you are trying to reach. Or press the # key at any time to interrupt the search process and leave a message." The caller can also interrupt the search at any point to leave a message by pressing a DTMF key.
When the Sequential Ringing service is active on an incoming call, it takes control of the call and provides the calling party with an announcement stating the system will attempt to locate the user. This announcement is provided on a one-way voice path to the called party. The system calls the user at the phone numbers in the Sequential Ringing list (starting with the user's base location, if enabled) one after the other until the call is answered, or the last number remains unanswered. At this point, the caller is provided with no-answer processing (Call Forward No Answer or voice mail).
For each phone number in the Sequential Ringing list, the following occurs:
A call is originated to the phone number and a timer is started. The timer is configured separately (in number of rings) for each location. The user can set the number of rings for the base location by dialing a feature access code. The feature access code is *610. Note however, that this setting applies to all services with no-answer handling, that is, the Voice Mail, Third-Party Voice Mail Support, and Call Forwarding No-Answer services.
If the called number is busy or results in a local announcement, the call is released and the service moves on to the next number. The base location can be configured so that Sequential Ringing will not attempt any further location if the base location is busy. If this happens, busy processing will occur immediately. If all locations are busy, busy processing occurs as well.
If the called party answers, the calling party is connected to the called party and the service ends. If the timer expires before the call is answered, the call is released and the service moves on to the next number. The maximum number of rings is 20.
If this is option is enabled and the caller presses the # key, the search process is interrupted and the caller is presented with no-answer processing immediately. Note that nothing prevents a destination from being configured (and thus alerted) twice, or the user from entering his or her own number should the user want his or her base location to be alerted last, for example. The Sequential Ringing user defines a set of criteria that determine if the Sequential Ringing service should be activated for the incoming call. The set of criteria is analogous to the Selective Call Forwarding set of criteria and allows for defining a time schedule (time-of-day, day-of-week) and calling number(s) for which the service should be activated. If the criteria are met, the service is activated as described above. Otherwise, the call is processed as usual. For Sequential Ringing to always be enabled, for example, one criterion set to "Every Day All Day" and "Any phone number" must be defined and activated. While the service goes through the list of locations, the caller is provided with the initial greeting followed by local ringback. Since the time necessary to find the user can be considerable (up to six times six rings, or more than three minutes), a comfort announcement is played after every 20 seconds of ringback. Once a call is successfully connected, or when the last location in the list remains unanswered, the ringback or announcement is interrupted and the caller is connected to the user, or provided with no-answer processing, as applicable.
The feature is assigned like any ordinary user feature. Answer Confirmation allows Sequential Ringing to prompt the called party to enter a digit to confirm the acceptance of the call. By alerting all destinations until a confirmation digit is received ensures that all of the called party's numbers are tried before the call is rolled over to a voice mailbox.
The following elements can be configured for Sequential Ringing:
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