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Does network answer machine detection really exist?


Not in the UK. Network answer machine detection is an increasingly popular technology, although primarily in the USA where it is becoming common. As yet we have seen no live deployments in the UK – perhaps one of the reasons why some have questioned whether the capability actually exists.

In theory, there are no technical barriers to its deployment here, particularly were it to be offered as a network-based offering by one of the major carriers. However, we’ve yet to see an operational network answer machine detection solution in the UK.

The technology also only applies to certain types of answerphones that are able to pass back a message through ISDN signals. The advantage of such an ISDN/SIT messaging approach is that predictive diallers can recognise immediately if their call has been picked up by an answering machine – thus reducing the risk of false positives and abandoned calls.

It’s also important to note that we’re only talking about network answer machine detection. Premise-based systems don’t provide the same messaging, so it would still remain difficult to detect within two seconds when using AMD detection. Similarly, network answer machine technology wouldn’t pick up on any home-based answerphones, which we suspect still account for a significant proportion of UK answerphones.

These factors combine to suggest that, even with network answer machine technology, answer machines will remain difficult to detect within two seconds, and that – to remain compliant with stringent Ofcom legislation – AMD technology should stay disabled.


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