The reality of communications in today’s technology world is choice, with users taking advantage of an increasing number of devices and tools to communicate for both business and pleasure. To fully utilize this phenomenon, organizations need to accept that employees are omnichannel communicators and provide them with the appropriate communications and collaboration tools to foster productivity and facilitate ease of use.
One of the biggest problems with today’s real-time communications (RTC) solutions is that they are fragmented and lack interoperability in many cases, according to Rob Pickering, CEO of UC technology company IPCortex. And when businesses fail to provide their workers with the tools to unite these myriad communication channels, they are essentially shooting themselves in the foot in terms of business value and productivity enhancements. Organizations absolutely must work to provide collaborative communication tools to their employees, or risk further fragmenting business-wide communications. And that means having an understanding and support of contextual communications – the next step in the UC and RTC value chain.
“The underlying technology used by UC&C has moved on substantially in the last few years and many tools now exist online and operate as cloud-based web apps without plug-ins, which can be accessed easily from anywhere,” wrote Pickering in Computing UK. “The next step is contextual communications, which takes advantage of the new generation of ‘always on' apps, and will fundamentally change how we conduct task oriented communication.”
Contextual communications are becoming an increasingly important part of the overall RTC market, which Markets and Markets forecasts will reach $4.45 billion by 2020. Roughly defined as the process of placing voice and video in context, such as embedded into an app or device, this “context” enables seamless and fluid delivery of integrated communications. The technology also applies to applications that use contextual information to help users achieve their goals, whether they are workers or customers. In the workforce, contextual communications ultimately help employees streamline their productivity and tailor their interactions to meet the specific demands of the project they are working on.
When used within a contact center environment, contextual communications offer better ways for agents to predict customers’ needs and demands and provide a higher quality of service. That “context” also offers valuable information about a customer’s previous buying habits and preferences.
As omnichannel communications become pervasive throughout customer service as well as in the workforce, context is becoming a growing and valuable part of the picture. Rather than fragmenting and isolating disparate communication experiences and interactions, contextual communications foster collaboration and interoperability, leading to a better customer experience and productivity increases and enhancements throughout the workplace.