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Updates to Voice Agent with Watson
As part of our drive to deliver improvements to the Voice Agent with Watson service, we are making changes in October around how we handle transferring calls and updating the pricing for the Voice Agent service.
On October 1, 2018, we made changes to the per-minute pricing on the Voice Agent with Watson service for instances on Standard plans. You do not need to take any action to benefit from the new price changes—all new and existing accounts are using the new pricing.
The changes to the pricing for standard accounts are as follows (all prices in USD):
| Usage (mins)
|| Previous per-minute price
|| New per-minute price
The price for the concurrent connections will remain the same at $20 per concurrent connection per month, tracked and billed based on peak daily usage. As of today, the first two concurrent connections are free on a Standard plan. If you have a Lite plan, you will not see any changes to your current plan.
Service changes requiring action
On November 16, 2018, we are changing how the IBM Voice Agent with Watson service handles call transfers for calls that originate from Twilio. If you are using another service provider, such as NetFoundry, or using connections from whitelisted IP addresses, then you will not need to make any changes to your configuration and will not see any changes in service behavior.
Due to Twilio recently adding support for transferring calls by enabling SIP REFER processing within the SIP trunk, the IBM Voice Agent with Watson service will no longer catch and process SIP REFERs associated with calls that originate from Twilio (keeping them connected to the Voice Agent service). Instead, whenever a transfer is initiated from a Voice Agent, the related SIP REFER message will flow back to the Twilio SIP trunk. The benefit of this change is that when a call which originated in Twilio is transferred back to Twilio, it will stop counting towards the concurrent connections tracked and billed by the Voice Agent service.
If you are currently using Twilio Elastic SIP Trunks to connect with the Voice Agent service, you will need to make the following changes to ensure transfers will continue to work after the service change:
- You need to enable REFER processing in the Twilio SIP Trunk. See the switch labeled Call Transfer (SIP REFER) on the General dashboard panel of each affected SIP trunk.
- You need to check the tick-box for Allow Call Transfers to the PSTN via your Trunk on the General dashboard panel of each affected SIP trunk.
- You need to ensure that all transfer targets are prefixed with a “+” sign.
After completing the above steps, you have the following two options for testing this new transfer method leading up to the service change, to ensure the correct changes have been made:
- For testing transferring calls from Voice Agent to numbers on the PSTN
- You can switch from using a sip URI (e.g., sip:+firstname.lastname@example.org) to using a tel URI (e.g., tel:+18002224444) for your transfer targets. Currently, all REFER messages containing a tel URI are sent back to Twilio for processing.
- For testing sip URI based transfer targets sent in a REFER from Voice Agent to Twilio
- You can change the origination URI configured in your Twilio Elastic SIP Trunk to point to 220.127.116.11 (instead of one of the Voice Agent’s public domain names, such as sip:us-south.voiceagent.cloud.ibm.com or sip:us-east.voiceagent.cloud.ibm.com). The test IP address will only be available until November 8, 2018, after which point you will have to be using the FQDNs.
- You can then attempt a call transfer. If it completes successfully, your configuration change has been made correctly and will continue to work once the service switches to referring the call back to Twilio on November 16, 2018.
- Once you have confirmed the new configuration works, you can then switch back to one of the FQDNs (domain endpoints listed in the service) and expect no disruption for transferred calls when the service change occurs. The new configuration will continue to work, with calls anchored in the Voice Agent service, until the changeover occurs.
The instructions found here describe how you can enable call transfers through a Twilio Elastic SIP Trunk today, and they will update on November 8, 2018, to reflect the new configuration requirements outlined above. If you use one of the above configurations today, it will work with the existing service and will continue to work once the change occurs.
If you do not make these changes by November 16, 2018, any calls which originate in Twilio and transfer out of the Voice Agent with Watson service will fail to transfer.