Rockwell comes to Town.

by Editor Niels Kjellerup revised 05.03.2004 (originally written18.05.1998)

25 years ago, in 1973, Rockwell developed the first ACD for Continental Airlines**. The story of how AT&T declined to develop the ACD because "there is no a market for such a device" is already part of Call Centre Folklore. The Rockwell ACD - The Galaxy, was for several years the ONLY ACD in the US market, and its fair to say that Rockwell played a crucial Midwife role in the establishment of the first real call centres in the US. But even Rockwell underestimated the importance of the ACD in establishing the fast growing call centre industry in the 90'ies. Rockwell buried The Galaxy and its development team in The Switching Services Division, so deep in fact that I once spent 4 hours in 1996 on Rockwell's Internet-site trying to find it. And although The Galaxy was still regarded as 'The best of the Best'* other ACD-manufacturers grabbed center stage.

Until August 27, 97 when General Manager Michael Caglarcan announced the formation of The Electronic Commerce Division now part of Rockwell Semiconductor Systems. This announcement took place at the Incoming Call Center Management Conference in Denver to underline Rockwell's renewed commitment to the Call Center Industry. Rockwell has arrived in Town.

In the early 90'ies Rockwell introduced its new generation ACD - The Spectrum , which according to US technology consultant Isaac Frydmann was a breakthrough in its use of CTI. Dataquest nominated The Spectrum Best in Class ACD for medium and large Call Centers. So the Rockwell Switching Systems Laboratories was always in there. Now, with the backing of senior management we can now expect Rockwell to become a major player in the Call Center Industry covering the entire range of products from ACD, to CTI to data capture and data integration systems. I have investigated the new Electronic Commerce Division Website and hope this will help you form your own opinion of just have serious a player Rockwell ECD will become. On 7 February 2002 Rockwell rebranded its call center FirstPoint Contact.

** This note rec'd from Bob Perez 04.03.04 - History of ACD :

1973 North American Rockwell acquires the Collins Radio Company. North American Rockwell merges with Rockwell Manufacturing. Headed by Willard Rockwell, Jr., Rockwell Manufacturing was the direct descendant of the Equitable Meter and Manufacturing Company. The new entity was named Rockwell International. Collins Division of Rockwell International invents the first Automated Call Distributor (ACD) for Continental Airlines’ reservation system, launching the business known today as Rockwell FirstPoint Contact.


2. FirstPoint Contact Call Center Solutions

3. Original press release announcing The Electronic Commerce Division

4. ECD in Australia


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"The Best of the Best"*

In Copenhagen 1990 I meet up with GM Powell Taylor, the man who created and managed the GE Answer Center in Louisville Kentucky. The GE Answer Center has since it opened in 1981 been regarded as the worlds best call center and Model for most large corporate Call centers in the US even today. Powell was very excited and invited me to come to Louisville because next month (October 1990) we get the newest Galaxy ACD, It turned out that Powel Taylor for 5 years had budgeted to get the ACD of his dreams, but only now had the investment been approved. According to Powell the Galaxy was built to military specifications and next to fail safe in operating standards. So this and other anecdotes leads me to call the Galaxy "The Best of the Best".

Niels Kjellerup

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Rockwell FirstPoint Contact in Australia

Rockwell ECD opened its first office in Sydney Australia on Friday May 8th,98 and with the appointment of Gary Hines as Senior Consultant one could say Rockwell has come to town even in Australia. It has surprised observers, me amongst them, that Rockwell has decided to distribute its Call Center products via Ericsson & the Trade Winds Group, rather than establishing its own distribution arm. The $ 1,8 billion Call Centre Industry here is growing very rapidly since the Howard Government in September 1996 opened up to import of ACDs.

Contact details : Rockwell EC Australia

Level 18,124 Walker Street

North Sydney, NSW 2060 Australia

Voice: +61 2 9959.1888 & FAX: +61 2 9959.1855


18.05.98 Niels Kjellerup

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The original press release announcing The Electronic Commerce Division.

Rockwell Switching Systems Division Renamed Electronic Commerce Division

Division Restructured To Help Customers Become More Successful

Denver/Wood Dale, IL -- August 27, 1997 -- Rockwell announced today that its Switching Systems Division will be renamed Rockwell Electronic Commerce Division (ECD), and said the unit would restructure internally to apply expanded resources to the emerging global markets for forms of "personalized electronic commerce." ECD Vice President and General Manager Michael Caglarcan made the announcement at a news conference held during the Incoming Call Center Management Conference in Denver. The name change, new vision, and restructuring signify the commitment of Rockwell to ECD's growth as a major part of the global corporation's predominant focus on commercial electronics markets, according to Caglarcan. "We are very excited about the long term growth prospects for ECD," said Dwight Decker, president of Rockwell Semiconductor Systems, which includes the Electronic Commerce Division. "Virtually all industries are attempting to get closer to their customers and are increasingly targeting electronic marketing systems as a key tool in the attraction and retention of these customers. This is the business of the new Electronic Commerce Division, helping our customers make their customers more successful." "The call center industry is growing steadily, and our business in call centers has been growing at 40 percent a year," said Caglarcan. "We will expand our capabilities and product portfolios to accommodate the changing needs of consumers and global businesses in a networked economy, while providing the same high quality products, service and support for the broader field of personal electronic commerce that our automatic call distributor (ACD) and call center customers have relied on for the past 20 years. "Call centers, along with Web-based commerce and video kiosk-based transactions, are becoming popular business-consumer electronic commerce applications. We intend to play a leading role in the transformation of an existing industry and the creation of a new industry," added Caglarcan. As the developer of the first ACD and the producer of some of the earliest forms of computer-telephone integration, ECD played a leading role in the creation of the call center industry, which has grown rapidly over the past three decades and now employs millions of people. "Our new name reflects the transformation happening in the industry and our broader focus," said Caglarcan. The evolving commercial environment extends past today's call centers to business-consumer transactions on the Internet and video kiosks in supermarkets and on campuses that expand the reach of personalized customer relationship management. Though the telephone will remain the primary device to access call centers for voice-based transactions, future multimedia electronic commerce is likely to emanate from devices such as personal computers on data networks and wireless personal digital assistants. "Our core business has been 'mission-critical' call center systems. Our number one priority is to grow that business globally. However, even as our core business grows, we will also develop focus areas in systems integration and consulting services as well as introduce new personalized electronic commerce applications and products through an expanded set of distribution channels," said Caglarcan. To that end, Caglarcan announced that ECD is organizing into three business units to exploit the potential in personalized electronic commerce.

  1. The Call Center Systems business unit, headed by Roger Sumner, business director, will deliver the core mission-critical call center products.
  2. The systems integration and consulting activities associated with computer telephone integration engagements have been consolidated into a second business unit under the leadership of an executive to be named later.
  3. A newly formed business unit on alternative and emerging personalized electronic commerce products is headed up by business director Larry Henson.

ECD's repositioning coincides with the completion of Rockwell's transformation from a diversified technology enterprise to a company sharply focused on its leadership positions in selected segments of the electronics market (industrial automation, avionics & communications and semiconductor systems). Rockwell Electronic Commerce Division is a leading supplier of mission-critical call center systems and personalized electronic commerce applications. Rockwell designs, manufactures and services a suite of integrated call processing and workflow management technologies, including automatic call distributors, computer telephony integration software, Internet commerce applications, information collection, reporting and management systems, and call center systems integration and consulting services.

For more information contact: Rockwell Electronic Commerce Division 300 Bauman Court Wood Dale, IL 60191. Visit Rockwell's Web site at .

Rockwell (NYSE:ROK) is a global electronics company with leadership market positions in industrial automation, semiconductor systems, and avionics and communications, with projected 1997 sales of approximately $8 billion and 44,000 employees.


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