Archive for April, 2010

Value-added Services over Service Numbers: Our Market

Let’s talk about the general market for value-added services over service numbers. In Germany, we estimate that there are over 400,000 companies in all branches of the economy providing such services: mail order processing, teleshopping, telebanking, directory service, televoting and participation TV, technical support for consumer electronics, computers, appliances, customer support for utilities, insurance companies, travel agencies, credit cards, airlines, etc., and the list goes on and on. In 2009, WIK Consult estimates that in Germany alone this industry generated revenues in excess of 1.8 billion Euros. I value the worldwide market in 2009 between 12 and 14 billion Euros.

The good news for telecoms is that a large portion of the intelligence required for these services is moving out of the enterprise and into the networks of carriers and network providers. Why?

On the one hand, the small and middle-sized companies have to avoid capital and operative expenditures for their own telecommunications equipment in order to remain competitive. Even large companies with their own elaborate call center and voice processing solutions cannot afford to maintain a capacity for large and often unexpected peak periods.

On the other hand, the carriers have lost virtually their entire margin on service number routing and voice minutes, prompting them to look for a way to add value to these products.

As a result, most carriers are offering and ever more companies are utilizing network-based intelligence for interactive voice response, text to speech, speech recognition, call recording, predictive dialing, skill-based routing, call distribution, call monitoring, etc. The trend is clearly away from the enterprise call center workplace toward hosted call center workplaces in the network.

According to Frost & Sullivan, 3.2 % of worldwide contact center seats in 2008 were hosted in the network. By the end of 2011, Frost & Sullivan predicts an over ten-fold increase, so that 35 % of all contact center seats worldwide will be hosted, as the call center workplaces in the network become as sophisticated as anything available via enterprise equipment. This means another 4.2 million network-based agent seats.

I too believe that the entire call center industry is in a change of phase and that the intelligence realized today via enterprise equipment will in a very short period of time become network-based services purchased on demand from carriers and service providers. And of course, my colleagues and I are fueling just this development.

Welcome to Our New Blog on Network-Based Contact Centers

My name is Reinier Meuwissen and I am managing the ECT task force responsible for adding network-based intelligence to voice products realized via service numbers. My colleague Patrick Milata and I will be using this blog to share with you our experiences, perspectives and ideas, and we’re hoping to hear a lot from you as well.

Our biweekly contributions will alternate with blog entries from experts in the field. In particular, you’ll also find here regular articles from Werner Klötsch, the managing director of digame mobile GmbH, leading provider of interactive applications and televoting campaigns in Germany, responsible for “Germany seeks the Superstar” and “Big Brother” as well as the yearly Eurovision song contest.

With this new blog, we want to create a forum for everyone interested in these industries, exchange business ideas and share views on the underlying technology. Of course, this’ll only work if you actively participate in this dialog. So send us your comments, questions and editorials! In my next post, we’ll talk about the market for value-added services over service numbers.