PLDT Interacts: IVRS (Part I)

In the PLDT phone bill I received recently, I saw an announcement that will make many people happy. PLDT’s unlimited P10 per call is now a regular service and no longer just a promo.

Registration for the service is required, though, and the subscription will cost an additional P20 on your monthly bill. I tried out PLDT’s registration via phone and that’s what this article is about.

I dialled 10-10-10 on my PLDT phone and an Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) answered. I wasn’t speaking to an operator. I was listening to recorded messages that gave me step-by-step instructions on what to do. There were the usual instructions like entering the phone number using the telephone keypad.

But there were two things new and interesting to me.

First, I was asked to say my name and address in a clear voice. My voice was being recorded! Made me think, is PLDT going to use this for biometric identity verification?

For example, a telco in South Africa uses voice verification over cellphone (instead of the usual PIN) to confirm the identity of a caller before authorizing sensitive transactions.

Second, I was asked to give my cellphone number using the keypad. There was a reminder saying that I had to key in a *valid* cell number in order to receive a transaction number.

Makes me wonder: does PLDT have access to a database of all *valid* cellphone numbers? Well, probably not an exhaustive list.

Makes me wonder further what this kind of technology can be used for.

  • Can, say, GSIS adopt this technology to update records?
  • Can PhilHealth use this to verify identity of a patient for speedier claims processing?
  • Can OFWs transact with DFA through voice verified phone calls?
  • Can the NTC use this method if/when they ask pre-paid subscribers to register their SIMs?
  • Can we use the technology to vote for our next president? (Ha! I’m sure, this one won’t happen soon.)

Experiencing the way PLDT interacted with subscribers (me!), this tells me that there are more useful and innovative ways of using the telephone than joining Eat Bulaga contests.

ka edong

Tomorrow: Toni Rose Gayda called me!

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  • how bout giving commands in tagalog and broken english?

  • right, andre! There are Tagalog/Taglish IVRSs. Sometimes, I select the Taglish instructions in BPI ExpressPhone.