Bristol is a city and county in South West England with a population of 459,300. The wider district has the 10th-largest population in England; the urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th-largest in the UK. The city borders North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, with the cities of Bath and Gloucester to the south-east and north-east, respectively. South Wales lies across the Severn estuary. Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were built near the confluence of the rivers Frome and Avon, around the beginning of the 11th century the settlement was known as Brycgstow. Bristol received a royal charter in 1155 and was divided between Gloucestershire and Somerset until 1373, when it became a county of itself. From the 13th to the 18th century, Bristol was among the top three English cities after London in tax receipts. Bristol was surpassed by the rapid rise of Birmingham and Liverpool in the Industrial Revolution. Bristol was a starting place for early voyages of exploration to the New World.
On a ship out of Bristol in 1497 John Cabot, a Venetian, became the first European since the Vikings to land on mainland North America. In 1499 William Weston, a Bristol merchant, was the first Englishman to lead an exploration to North America. At the height of the Bristol slave trade, from 1700 to 1807, more than 2,000 slave ships carried an estimated 500,000 people from Africa to slavery in the Americas; the Port of Bristol has since moved from Bristol Harbour in the city centre to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Dock. Bristol's modern economy is built on the creative media and aerospace industries, the city-centre docks have been redeveloped as centres of heritage and culture; the city has the largest circulating community currency in the UK—the Bristol pound, pegged to the Pound sterling. The city has two universities, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, a variety of artistic and sporting organisations and venues including the Royal West of England Academy, the Arnolfini, Spike Island, Ashton Gate and the Memorial Stadium.
It is connected to London and other major UK cities by road and rail, to the world by sea and air: road, by the M5 and M4. One of the UK's most popular tourist destinations, Bristol was selected in 2009 as one of the world's top ten cities by international travel publishers Dorling Kindersley in their Eyewitness series of travel guides; the Sunday Times named it as the best city in Britain in which to live in 2014 and 2017, Bristol won the EU's European Green Capital Award in 2015. The most ancient recorded name for Bristol is the archaic Welsh Caer Odor, consistent with modern understanding that early Bristol developed between the River Frome and Avon Gorge, it is most stated that the Saxon name Bricstow was a simple calque of the existing Celtic name, with Bric a literal translation of Odor, the common Saxon suffix Stow replacing Caer. Alternative etymologies are supported by numerous orthographic variations in medieval documents, with Samuel Seyer enumerating 47 alternative forms; the Old English form Brycgstow is used to derive the meaning place at the bridge.
Utilizing another form, Rev. Dr. Shaw derived the name from the Celtic words bras, or braos and tuile; the poet Thomas Chatterton popularised a derivation from Brictricstow linking the town to Brictric, a leading landholder in the area. It appears that the form Bricstow prevailed until 1204, the Bristolian'L' is what changed the name to Bristol. Archaeological finds, including flint tools believed to be between 300,000 and 126,000 years old made with the Levallois technique, indicate the presence of Neanderthals in the Shirehampton and St Annes areas of Bristol during the Middle Palaeolithic. Iron Age hill forts near the city are at Leigh Woods and Clifton Down, on the side of the Avon Gorge, on Kings Weston Hill near Henbury. A Roman settlement, existed at what is now Sea Mills. Isolated Roman villas and small forts and settlements were scattered throughout the area. Bristol was founded by 1000. By 1067 Brycgstow was a well-fortified burh, that year the townsmen beat off a raiding party from Ireland led by three of Harold Godwinson's sons.
Under Norman rule, the town had one of the strongest castles in southern England. Bristol was the place of exile for Diarmait Mac Murchada, the Irish king of Leinster, after being overthrown; the Bristol merchants subsequently played a prominent role in funding Richard Strongbow de Clare and the Norman invasion of Ireland. The port developed in the 11th century around the confluence of the Rivers Frome and Avon, adjacent to Bristol Bridge just outside the town walls. By the 12th century Bristol was an important port, handling much of England's trade with Ireland, including slaves. There was an important Jewish community in Bristol from the late 12th century through to the late 13th century when all Jews were expelled from England; the stone bridge built in 1247 was replaced by the current bridge during the 1760s. The town incorporated neighbouring suburbs and became a county in 1373, the first town in England to be given this status. During this period, Bristol became manufacturing centre. By the 14th centur
Method acting is a range of training and rehearsal techniques that seek to encourage sincere and expressive performances, as formulated by a number of different theatre practitioners. These techniques are built on Stanislavski's system, developed by the Russian actor and director Konstantin Stanislavski and captured in his books An Actor Prepares, Building a Character, Creating a Role. Among those who have contributed to the development of the Method, three teachers are associated with "having set the standard of its success", each emphasizing different aspects of the approach: Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner; the approach was first developed. All three subsequently claimed to be the rightful heirs of Stanislavski's approach. "The Method" is an elaboration of the "system" of acting developed by the Russian theatre practitioner Konstantin Stanislavski. In the first three decades of the 20th century, Stanislavski organized his training and rehearsal techniques into a coherent, systematic methodology.
The "system" brought together and built on: the director-centred, unified aesthetic and disciplined, ensemble approach of the Meiningen company. The "system" cultivates what Stanislavski calls the "art of experiencing", it mobilises the actor's conscious thought and will in order to activate other, less-controllable psychological processes—such as emotional experience and subconscious behaviour—sympathetically and indirectly. In rehearsal, the actor searches for inner motives to justify action and the definition of what the character seeks to achieve at any given moment. Stanislavski further elaborated the "system" with a more physically grounded rehearsal process known as the "Method of Physical Action". Minimising at-the-table discussions, he now encouraged an "active analysis", in which the sequence of dramatic situations are improvised. "The best analysis of a play", Stanislavski argued, "is to take action in the given circumstances."As well as Stanislavski's early work, the ideas and techniques of Yevgeny Vakhtangov were an important influence on the development of the Method.
Vakhtangov's "object exercises" were developed further by Uta Hagen as a means for actor training and the maintenance of skills. Strasberg attributed to Vakhtangov the distinction between Stanislavski's process of "justifying" behaviour with the inner motive forces that prompt that behaviour in the character and "motivating" behaviour with imagined or recalled experiences relating to the actor and substituted for those relating to the character. Following this distinction, actors ask themselves "What would motivate me, the actor, to behave in the way the character does?" Rather than the more Stanislavskian question "Given the particular circumstances of the play, how would I behave, what would I do, how would I feel, how would I react?" In America the transmission of the earliest phase of Stanislavski's work via the students of the First Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre revolutionized acting in the West. When the MAT toured the US in the early 1920s, Richard Boleslavsky, one of Stanislavski's students from the First Studio, presented a series of lectures on the "system" that were published as Acting: The First Six Lessons.
The interest generated led to a decision by Boleslavsky and Maria Ouspenskaya to emigrate to the US and to establish the American Laboratory Theatre. However, the version of Stanislavski's practice these students took to the US with them was that developed in the 1910s, rather than the more elaborated version of the "system" detailed in Stanislavski's acting manuals from the 1930s, An Actor's Work and An Actor's Work on a Role; the first half of An Actor's Work, which treated the psychological elements of training, was published in a abridged and misleadingly translated version in the US as An Actor Prepares in 1936. English-language readers confused the first volume on psychological processes with the "system" as a whole. Many of the American practitioners who came to be identified with the Method were taught by Boleslavsky and Ouspenskaya at the American Laboratory Theatre; the approaches to acting subsequently developed by their students—including Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner—are confused with Stanislavski's "system".
Among the concepts and techniques of method acting are substitution, "as if", sense memory, affective memory, animal work. Contemporary method actors sometimes seek help from psychologists in the development of their roles. In Strasberg's approach, actors make use of experiences from their own lives to bring them closer to the experience of their characters; this technique, which Stanislavski came to call emotion memory, involves the recall of sensations involved in experiences that made a significant emotional impact on the actor. Without faking or forcing, actors allow those sensations to stimulate a response and try not to inhibit themselves. Stanislavski's approach rejected emotion memory except as a last resort and prioritised physical action as an indirect pathway to emotional expression; this can be seen in Stanislavki's notes for Leonidov in the production plan for Othello and in Benedetti's discussion of his training of actors at home and abroad. Stanislavski confirmed this emphasis in
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion
Weightlessness is the complete or near complete absence of the sensation of weight. This is termed zero-g, although the term is more "zero g-force." It occurs in the absence of any contact forces upon objects including the human body. Weight is defined by the force which supports bodies at rest in a strong gravitational field; these weight-sensations originate from contact with supporting floors, beds and the like. A sensation of weight is produced when the gravitational field is zero, when contact forces act upon and overcome a body's inertia by mechanical, non-gravitational forces- such as in a centrifuge, a rotating space station, or within an accelerating vehicle; when the gravitational field is non-uniform, a body in free fall experiences tidal effects and is not stress-free. Near a black hole, such tidal effects can be strong. In the case of the Earth, the effects are minor on objects of small dimension and the overall sensation of weightlessness in these cases is preserved; this condition is known as microgravity and it prevails in orbiting spacecraft.
In Newtonian mechanics the term "weight" is given two distinct interpretations by engineers. Weight1: Under this interpretation, the "weight" of a body is the gravitational force exerted on the body and this is the notion of weight that prevails in engineering. Near the surface of the earth, a body whose mass is 1 kg has a weight of 9.81 N, independent of its state of motion, free fall, or not. Weightlessness in this sense can be achieved by removing the body far away from the source of gravity, it can be attained by placing the body at a neutral point between two gravitating masses. Weight2: Weight can be interpreted as that quantity, measured when one uses scales. What is being measured there is the force exerted by the body on the scales. In a standard weighing operation, the body being weighed is in a state of equilibrium as a result of a force exerted on it by the weighing machine cancelling the gravitational field. By Newton's 3rd law, there is an opposite force exerted by the body on the machine.
This force is called weight2. The force is not gravitational, it is a contact force and not uniform across the mass of the body. If the body is placed on the scales in a lift in free fall in pure uniform gravity, the scale would read zero, the body said to be weightless i.e. its weight2 = 0. This describes the condition in which the body is stress undeformed; this is the weightlessness in free fall in a uniform gravitational field. To sum up, we have two notions of weight. Yet'weightlessness' is exemplified not by absence of weight1 but by the absence of stress associated with weight2; this is the intended sense of weightlessness in. A body is stress free, exerts zero weight2, when the only force acting on it is weight1 as when in free fall in a uniform gravitational field. Without subscripts, one ends up with the odd-sounding conclusion that a body is weightless when the only force acting on it is its weight; the apocryphal apple that fell on Newton's head can be used to illustrate the issues involved.
An apple weighs 1 newton. This is the weight1 of the apple and is considered to be a constant while it is falling. During that fall, its weight2 however is zero: ignoring air resistance, the apple is stress free; when it hits Newton, the sensation felt by Newton would depend upon the height from which the apple falls and weight2 of the apple at the moment of impact may be many times greater than 1 N. It was great enough—in the story—to make the great man invent the theory of gravity, it is this weight2. On its way down, the apple in its free fall does not suffer any distortion as the gravitational field is uniform. In a uniform gravitational field: Consider any cross-section dividing the body into two parts. Both parts have the same acceleration and the force exerted on each is supplied by the external source of the field. There is no force exerted by one part on the other. Stress at the cross-section is zero. Weight2 is zero. In a non-uniform gravitational field: Under gravity alone, one part of the body may have a different acceleration from another part.
This would tend to generate internal stresses if the body resists deformation. Weight2 is not 0. Throughout this discussion on using stress as an indicator of weight, any pre-stress which may exist within a body caused by a force exerted on one part by another is not relevant; the only relevant stresses are those generated by external forces applied to the body. The definition and use of'weightlessness' is difficult unless it is understood that the sensation of "weight" in everyday terrestrial experience results not from gravitation acting alone, but instead by the mechanical forces that resist gravity. An object in a straight free fall, or in a more complex inertial trajectory of free fall, all experience weightlessness, since they do not experience the mechanical forces that cause the sensation of weight; as noted above, weightlessness occurs when no resultant force acts on the object uniform gravity acts by itself. For the sake of completeness, a 3rd minor possibility has to be added; this is that a body may be subject to a field, not gravitational but such that the force on the object i
Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction dealing with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, extraterrestrials in fiction. Science fiction explores the potential consequences of scientific other various innovations, has been called a "literature of ideas." "Science fiction" is difficult to define as it includes a wide range of concepts and themes. James Blish wrote: "Wells used the term to cover what we would today call'hard' science fiction, in which a conscientious attempt to be faithful to known facts was the substrate on which the story was to be built, if the story was to contain a miracle, it ought at least not to contain a whole arsenal of them."Isaac Asimov said: "Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology." According to Robert A. Heinlein, "A handy short definition of all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world and present, on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method."Lester del Rey wrote, "Even the devoted aficionado or fan—has a hard time trying to explain what science fiction is," and that the reason for there not being a "full satisfactory definition" is that "there are no delineated limits to science fiction."
Author and editor Damon Knight summed up the difficulty, saying "science fiction is what we point to when we say it." Mark C. Glassy described the definition of science fiction as U. S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart did with the definition of pornography: "I know it when I see it." Science fiction had its beginnings in a time when the line between myth and fact was arguably more blurred than the present day. Written in the 2nd century CE by the satirist Lucian, A True Story contains many themes and tropes that are characteristic of contemporary science fiction, including travel to other worlds, extraterrestrial lifeforms, interplanetary warfare, artificial life; some consider it the first science-fiction novel. Some of the stories from The Arabian Nights, along with the 10th-century The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter and Ibn al-Nafis's 13th-century Theologus Autodidactus contain elements of science fiction. Products of the Age of Reason and the development of modern science itself, Johannes Kepler's Somnium, Francis Bacon's New Atlantis, Cyrano de Bergerac's Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon and The States and Empires of the Sun, Margaret Cavendish's "The Blazing World", Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Ludvig Holberg's Nicolai Klimii Iter Subterraneum and Voltaire's Micromégas are regarded as some of the first true science-fantasy works.
Indeed, Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan considered Somnium the first science-fiction story. Following the 18th-century development of the novel as a literary form, Mary Shelley's books Frankenstein and The Last Man helped define the form of the science-fiction novel. Brian Aldiss has argued. Edgar Allan Poe wrote several stories considered science fiction, including "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" which featured a trip to the Moon. Jules Verne was noted for his attention to detail and scientific accuracy Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea which predicted the contemporary nuclear submarine. In 1887, the novel El anacronópete by Spanish author Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau introduced the first time machine. Many critics consider H. G. Wells one of science fiction's most important authors, or "the Shakespeare of science fiction." His notable science-fiction works include The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds. His science fiction imagined alien invasion, biological engineering and time travel.
In his non-fiction futurologist works he predicted the advent of airplanes, military tanks, nuclear weapons, satellite television, space travel, something resembling the World Wide Web. In 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs published A Princess of Mars, the first of his three-decade-long planetary romance series of Barsoom novels, set on Mars and featuring John Carter as the hero. In 1926, Hugo Gernsback published the first American science-fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in which he wrote: By'scientifiction' I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story—a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision... Not only do these amazing tales make tremendously interesting reading—they are always instructive, they supply knowledge... in a palatable form... New adventures pictured for us in the scientifiction of today are not at all impossible of realization tomorrow... Many great science stories destined to be of historical interest are still to be written...
Posterity will point to them as having blazed a new trail, not only in literature and fiction, but progress as well. In 1928, E. E. "Doc" Smith's first published work, The Skylark of Space, written in collaboration with Lee Hawkins Garby, appeared in Amazing Stories. It is called the first great space opera; the same year, Philip Francis Nowlan's original Buck Rogers story, Armageddon 2419 appeared in Amazing Stories. This was followed by the first serious science-fiction comic. In 1937, John W. Campbell became editor of Astounding Science Fiction, an event, sometimes conside
A practical joke, or prank, is a mischievous trick played on someone causing the victim to experience embarrassment, confusion, or discomfort. A person who performs a practical joke is called a "practical joker". Other terms for practical jokes include jape, or shenanigan. Practical jokes differ from confidence tricks or hoaxes in that the victim finds out, or is let in on the joke, rather than being talked into handing over money or other valuables. Practical jokes are lighthearted and without lasting impact, thus most practical jokes designed to encourage laughter. However, practical jokes performed with cruelty can constitute bullying, whose intent is to harass or exclude rather than reinforce social bonds through ritual humbling; some countries in Western culture traditionally emphasize the carrying out of practical jokes on April Fools' Day. A practical joke is "practical" because it consists of someone doing something physical, in contrast to a verbal or written joke. For example, the joker, setting up and conducting the practical joke might hang a bucket of water above a doorway and rig the bucket using pulleys so when the door opens the bucket dumps the water.
The joker would wait for the victim to walk through the doorway and be drenched by the bucket of water. Objects can feature in practical jokes, like fake vomit, chewing-gum bugs, exploding cigars, stink bombs and whoopee cushions. Practical jokes occur in offices to surprise co-workers. Examples include covering computer accessories with Jell-O, wrapping a desk with Christmas paper or aluminium foil or filling it with balloons. Practical jokes commonly occur during sleepovers, when teens play pranks on their friends as they come into the home, enter a room or as they sleep. American humorist H. Allen Smith wrote a 320-page book in 1953 called The Compleat Practical Joker that contains numerous examples of practical jokes; the book became a best seller - not only in the United States but in Japan. Moira Marsh has written an entire volume about practical jokes. - she found that in the USA males perpetrate such gags more than females. A practical joke recalled as his favorite by the playwright Charles MacArthur, concerns the American painter and bohemian character Waldo Peirce.
While living in Paris in the 1920s, Peirce "made a gift of a big turtle to the woman, the concierge of his building". The woman doted on the lavished care on it. A few days Peirce substituted a somewhat larger turtle for the original one; this continued for some time, with larger and larger turtles being surreptitiously introduced into the woman's apartment. The concierge was beside herself with happiness and displayed her miraculous turtle to the entire neighborhood. Peirce began to sneak in and replace the turtle with smaller and smaller ones, to her bewildered distress; this was the storyline behind Esio Trot, by Roald Dahl. Modern and successful pranks take advantage of the modernization of tools and techniques. In Canada, engineering students have a reputation for annual pranks. A similar prank was undertaken by engineering students at Cambridge University, where an Austin 7 car was put on top of the Senate House building. Pranks can adapt to the political context of the era. Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are known for their "hacks".
Not unlike the Stone Louse of Germany, in the American West the jackalope has become an institutionalized practical joke perennially perpetrated by ruralites on tourists, most of whom have never heard of the decades-old myth. The 2003 TV movie Windy City Heat, consists of an elaborate practical joke on the film's star, Perry Caravallo, led to believe that he is starring in a faux action film, Windy City Heat, where the filming, ostensibly for the film's DVD extras documents the long chain of pranks and jokes performed at Caravallo's expense
A call centre or call center is a centralised office used for receiving or transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. An inbound call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information enquiries from consumers. Outbound call centres are operated for telemarketing, solicitation of charitable or political donations, debt collection and market research. A contact centre is a location for centralised handling of individual communications, including letters, live support software, social media, instant message, e-mail. A call centre has an open workspace for call centre agents, with work stations that include a computer for each agent, a telephone set/headset connected to a telecom switch, one or more supervisor stations, it can be independently operated or networked with additional centres linked to a corporate computer network, including mainframes, microcomputers and LANs. The voice and data pathways into the centre are linked through a set of new technologies called computer telephony integration.
The contact centre is a central point. Through contact centres, valuable information about company are routed to appropriate people, contacts to be tracked and data to be gathered, it is a part of company's customer relationship management. The majority of large companies use contact centres as a means of managing their customer interaction; these centres can be operated by either an in house department responsible or outsourcing customer interaction to a third party agency. The origins of call centres dates back to the 1960s with the UK-based Birmingham Press and Mail, which installed Private Automated Business Exchanges to have rows of agents handling customer contacts. By 1973, call centres received mainstream attention after Rockwell International patented its Galaxy Automatic Call Distributor for a telephone booking system as well as the popularization of telephone headsets as seen on televised NASA Mission Control Center events. During the late 1970s, call centre technology expanded to include telephone sales, airline reservations and banking systems.
The term "call centre" was first published and recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary in 1983. The 1980s experienced the development of toll-free telephone numbers to increase the efficiency of agents and overall call volume. Call centres increased with the deregulation of long distance calling and growth in information dependent industries; as call centres expanded, unionisation occurred in North America to gain members including the Communications Workers of America and the United Steelworkers. In Australia, the National Union of Workers represents unionised workers. In Europe, Uni Global Union of Switzerland is involved in assisting unionisation in this realm and in Germany Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft represents call centre workers. During the 1990s, call centres expanded internationally and developed into two additional subsets of communication, contact centres and outsourced bureau centres. A contact centre is defined as a coordinated system of people, processes and strategies that provides access to information and expertise, through appropriate channels of communication, enabling interactions that create value for the customer and organisation.
In contrast to in-house management, outsourced bureau contact centres are a model of contact centre that provide services on a "pay per use" model. The overheads of the contact centre are shared by many clients, thereby supporting a cost effective model for low volumes of calls; the modern contact center has developed more complex systems, which require skilled operational and management staff that can use multichannel online and offline tools to improve customer interaction. Call centre technologies include speech recognition software to allow computers to handle first level of customer support, text mining and natural language processing to allow better customer handling, agent training by automatic mining of best practices from past interactions, support automation and many other technologies to improve agent productivity and customer satisfaction. Automatic lead selection or lead steering is intended to improve efficiencies, both for inbound and outbound campaigns; this allows inbound calls to be directly routed to the appropriate agent for the task, whilst minimising wait times and long lists of irrelevant options for people calling in.
For outbound calls, lead selection allows management to designate what type of leads go to which agent based on factors including skill, socioeconomic factors and past performance and percentage likelihood of closing a sale per lead. The universal queue standardises the processing of communications across multiple technologies such as fax and email; the virtual queue provides callers with an alternative to waiting on hold when no agents are available to handle inbound call demand. Call centres have been built on Private branch exchange equipment, owned and maintained by the call centre operator themselves; the PBX can provide functions such as automatic call distribution, interactive voice response, skills-based routing. In virtual call centre model, the call centre operator pays a monthly or annual fee to a vendor that hosts the call centre telephony equipment in their own data centre. In this model, the operator does not own, operate or host the equipment that the call centre runs on. Agents connect to the vendor's equipment through traditional PSTN telephone lines, or over voice over IP.
Calls to and from prospects or contacts originate from or terminate at the vendor's data centre, rather than at