Real Time Communications Featured Article

Building Contextual Communications into Applications, IoT, and Workflows to Add Value: Changing the Real Time Communications Game

September 18, 2014

The buzz around big data emphasizes the massive amount of information floating around. The real question is: how can companies harness big data to beat the competition and reach business goals?

One answer is to build contextual communications capabilities into your applications, workflows, and the Internet of Things. That can enable you to do things like connect with customers where they are, deliver a unique customer experience, take faster action to address problems in an effort to avert disaster and/or save money, and more.

Behavioral data can also be collected and analyzed to build value in the form of process improvement, new customer recruitment, upselling, and new product creation ideas.

Communications industry veteran Art Rosenberg, a consultant with UC Strategies, addresses the contact center-related angle of this equation.

“The term that I prefer to use to describe what is going to change telephony-oriented contact centers is interaction centers,” he says. “This is because consumers, using smartphones and tablets, will increasingly be using contextual, multimodal online mobile apps for self-services, before they decide to click-for-assistance using the likes of WebRTC. They won't be making traditional POTS calls as a starting point for most customer service situations.”

He adds that mobile access to customers also opens the door to authorized, pro-active notifications and alerts from enterprise automated processes in such industries as banking, education, health care, and utilities. That, too, will help speed up better customer service performance, he explains.

“Why wait until the customer notices a problem and then calls to get it fixed by someone else, when many services can monitor and detect problems that customers are responsible for or can take more timely action themselves?” he posits.

There will always be a need for live assistance, he adds, but now it can be more flexible and selective than a phone call to also include video information and on-camera interactions when appropriate or even social network postings and comments that quickly reflect what customers think about products and services.

Contextual communications also plays in to the expanding Internet of Things.

IoT deployments are increasingly being built to leverage the intelligence of sensors at the edge of the network for more efficient data handling and faster, local decision making. Rather than sending all the data from sensors back to a central repository, the data from multiple sensors can be aggregated at the edge to enable the system to make local decisions for quicker results.

This kind of local intelligence could be particularly important in urgent situations – such as when a railroad switch malfunctions; ice is on the streets that could affect pedestrians, traffics, and roads; or there’s an oil or water leak.

The bottom line is that contextual communications can enable organizations to use resources such as data repositories, sensors, and the wireless network to gather information about customers and their assets to make more informed decisions about how best to cater to their needs, engage with them, save them money, and/or otherwise support their business goals. Putting things in context makes deciding how to respond, a whole lot easier.

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