As it was on Enterprise Connect: what cloud communication technology lives on for

    Enterprise Connect is perhaps the only event in the United States that annually brings together all key companies and experts in the field of cloud communications and related technologies. This is where you can see the launches of new products of key market players - such as Microsoft, Google, Avaya, Genesys, Cisco - to “touch” the products of key vendors and communicate with developers to gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies of solutions. And, of course, get an idea of ​​the state of the market and the prospects for its development. For this, we all (the CoMagic / UIS team) went there in early March. Below is something like “travel notes” about what we saw and heard at the conference.

    Who was?


    The main topic of the conference was the topic of “cloud communications”. It is clear that this is a very broad concept that combines many solutions for various purposes and scale - from virtual PBXs to enterprise-class solutions, cloud contact centers and PaaS (platform-as-service) solutions that allow companies to build their own solutions on a vendor platform (a striking example of the model is the Twilio service, on the platform of which a connection is built, for example, of the world famous Uber service).

    Main trends


    1. By far, the main current trend in cloud communications in the Enterprise segment is the combination of three components in one product / ecosystem: Calling (calls), Texting (text messages), Meetings (audio and video conferences). All major US vendors (RingCentral, 8x8, Cisco, Avaya, Mitel, etc.) speak of this particular configuration of their product solutions.
    2. The second important point. If in Russia there are still doubts “whether a virtual telephone exchange is needed at all” or is it better to use regular office telephony / Asterisk ( recall a recent article ), then in the USA there is absolutely no doubt that the future lies in cloud communications, and in principle they are already beginning to dominate the market.
    3. All major communications software manufacturers are focusing on developing their APIs and building an ecosystem of developers around it. Example Cisco with its new Spark product:


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    New Product Launches


    Microsoft introduced a new version of its product Skype for business


    Now Skype for business includes a virtual PBX, and you can buy numbers in many countries of the world in a minute. If this product starts to work with Russian numbers, the BATS market in Russia may go awry. They promise that by June 100 countries will be available.

    What's cool about “PBX from Microsoft”:
    • Added cool tools to monitor the quality of communication. For each call, you can see a bunch of information about the location of the subscribers, the parameters of the quality of communication.
    • We added speech2text - on the fly they will be able to transcribe the conversation into text.

    Avaya Launches “Cloud Messaging Platform as a Service”


    • We decided not to mix with the main brand and launch it as a separate product - the Zang service.
    • Avaya sees a big future in the development of cloud communications as a service (CPaaS) and will rely on Zang.

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    Insight: what most American users want from cloud PBXs


    In one of the reports, I came across an interesting study:

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    Note: auto attendant, ACD - automatic call distribution by pressing a button or voice control.

    Another insight: analytics will change customer service in 2016


    On the final day of the conference, there were mainly panel discussions, so we will briefly talk about what was discussed in the framework of the most interesting section for us (like CoMagic).
    Representatives of the largest world companies developing solutions for customer service (contact centers, first of all) talked about modern technologies that can improve customer service.

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    Trend - communications are becoming more personal. More and more customer information is becoming available. All cooler technologies that allow you to store large amounts of data and process them in real time. The figure shows a diagram of an “ideal contact center” using all modern data processing technologies and communication channels with customers.

    Users want companies to collect more data about them and use this information to serve them faster / better:

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    In order to provide the possibility of personalized service, 70% of users are ready to share their personal data with companies (I wonder how much the result would differ in Russia?):

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    Results: what communications of the 21st century will look like


    The central theme of the conference was personalization. To personalize communication with customers, new methods of interaction / interpenetration of communication channels are invented:

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    Two technologies that were positioned as the newest and most advanced were especially remembered:
    1. Web-aware IVR
      technology allows you to build individual call processing scenarios based on the properties and preferences of a particular visitor when calling a site visitor to a company. In order to make this possible, a symbiosis of virtual PBX technologies and the so-called "dynamic call tracking" is required. The phone call is associated with the session of the visitor on the site and, accordingly, with all session data - the current open page, the source of the visit, the history of previous visits, etc. This provides truly unlimited opportunities for improving the quality of service - a completely new layer of data opens up that can be used to build communications with customers.
    2. Channel orchestration
      This is also a very interesting technology that allows you to "seamlessly" switch from one communication channel to another during communication (chat, talking on the phone). For example, in a telephone conversation, the operator can offer the client to continue chatting in order to send the client a link to the desired page on the site. This technology also requires linking a call with a site visitor and is also very promising.

    We also remembered this because in the UIS / CoMagic product lines we already invented something similar. In 2015, several research projects were launched, two of which were devoted to just such technologies. As a result of the first project in our virtual telephone exchange, the “Segmentation” operation (our name is Web-aware IVR) appeared in the settings for call processing scripts.

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    And the second research project on “seamless” linking of communication channels is still ongoing and will also soon enter the stage of implementation of product features. As a result, we got a little proud and concluded that Russian cloud communication technologies are not only technologically not behind the Western ones, but, on the contrary, are at the forefront of progress.

    Well, we will continue to continue to study the experience of our Western colleagues, share our own and, most importantly, work hard to develop our services so that Russian companies can use the most advanced cloud communications technologies to serve their customers.

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