What are the trends in Voice and Value-added Services?

Hi, my name is Metin Sezer and I am the new Product Manager for the ECT effECTive® Network-Based Contact Center suite. I would like to introduce myself to you as in the future I will share my thoughts with you on the wide world of network-based contact centers, Interactive Voice Response, Automatic Call Distribution, service numbers and service creation.

I say new, but that’s not really true; after all I’ve been with ECT for quite a few years now. Previously, I worked on the development of voice services and also did project management here at ECT.

So why don’t we begin with the current voice and telco trends? I say, the answer comes from the IT world. There, we have been experiencing a huge step towards virtualization. Everybody uses the term “cloud”. Data centers, storage, even some desktop applications are moving away from enterprise systems and into the virtual world.

It’s the same with telecommunications and value-added services. Of course, the tendency to move away from premise-based equipment to hosted solutions has been evident during the past couple of years but I believe that this trend is going to increase. Why? Because companies and contact centers continuously demand better and more flexible solutions in their business and they have to keep an eye on their costs. At the same time, their business environment gets more challenging. Investing in expensive premise-based equipment that limits their flexibility and comes with high-priced service contracts will no longer be an option.

Additionally, security is a huge issue in the whole cloud debate. The IT and telco media are full of it. How secure is our data in the cloud? This is a database issue and raises the question, how good databases are protected. After all, in a contact center environment, there are tons of customer data and losing or damaging them … do I have to elaborate?

And there is the topic of desktop virtualization. That’s where, we at ECT are a forerunner with our effECTive® Visual Call Flow Builder and the Icon Development Kit. These are browser –based applications that look very much like a desktop application, with the big difference that they actually run in your browser. No additional installation whatsoever is required.

Last but not least there is social media. I witnessed myself that social media is gaining momentum in the contact center industry at a webinar I attended recently. Companies employ new ways to interact with their customers and consumers have found a new way to talk about companies. No small wonder that contact centers have to embrace this new form of customer relations. More and more contact center solutions will have social media capabilities and interface with Facebook or Twitter.

All this is good news for carriers, MVNOs and service providers because they will be able to augment their product range and increase their margins while keeping their investment low. It is also good news for their customers because they will be able to obtain flexible solutions at a decent price.

But what’s your opinion? What’s moving the telco world and which voice trends have you seen?

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