SIP Backchannel Connections

Virtual Agent Hub supports SIPClosed Protocol used for signaling and controlling multimedia communication sessions such as voice and video calls. backchannel connections between CXone and voice virtual agents that support this type of connection. This allows CXone to connect directly to the virtual agent. The virtual agent manages the entire conversation with the contact. The Studio script waits for the virtual agent to send the signal that the conversation is complete or the contact requires transfer to a live agent.

The default method of connecting to a virtual agent uses Virtual Agent Hub to process all requests and responses. A SIP backchannel connection does not use Virtual Agent Hub for processing or routing. For these connections, Virtual Agent Hub is only used to configure the SIP connection between the virtual agent and CXone. All SIP requests and responses are streamed between CXone and the virtual agent.

A SIP backchannel connection consists of two parts: 

  • The two-way SIP audio connection.
  • The signaling mechanism from the virtual agent to CXone.

The virtual agent uses the signaling mechanism to communicate to CXone when the conversation is complete or if the contact requires escalation to a live agent. Google Dialogflow CX with SIP uses the Google PubSub feature for signaling. All other virtual agent providers with SIP use the CXone signaling API.

When you enable a SIP backchannel connection: 

  • You use two phone numbers. One is the DNISClosed Identifies the number the contact dialed to reach you for inbound voice calls and the number the agent or system dialed on outbound voice calls. that contacts call. The other is a used for routing between CXone and the virtual agent.
  • The voice virtual agent can connect the contact to a live agent when needed. The virtual agent sends a request back to the script, which must then request an agent (Reqagent action).
  • If you want the virtual agent to be able to transfer contacts to CXone to be handled by a live agent, the configuration must include a SIP header URL. You add this when you create the virtual agent app (Dialogflow CX . Your script must be set up to route the contact to an agent.
  • The Voice, Transcription, and Test+Add tabs on the Add Bot page in Virtual Agent Hub are not visible after enabling the SIP Configured option. These options don't work with SIP-enabled virtual agents.
  • You cannot use the GET BOT TRANSCRIPT Studio action to obtain a transcript of the interaction.

Supported Virtual Agent Providers

Currently, Google Dialogflow CX is the only provider you can set up a SIP backchannel connection for using the CXone API. It uses the Google PubSub feature.

CXone supports other voice virtual agent providers that require SIP backchannel connections. However, setup for virtual agents from these providers must be completed by NICE CXone. These virtual agents and providers include CXone SmartAssist, IBM Watson, and Omilia.