Post by Joe Burton, Chief Technology Officer, Unified CommunicationsAs I read my colleague Alan Cohen’s excellent Halloween post the other day, I was reminded of the many conversations I’ve had with our best customers concerning how to manage who has access to what type of information -- the notion of policy management across an organization. Virtually all our customers want the business acceleration of Unified Communications, collaboration, and web 2.0. In fact, we would all like to use these capabilities to give us what we want, how we want it, on any device, RIGHT NOW. Read More »
Post by Sean O’Connell, Manager of Product Marketing for Cisco’s Customer Contact Business UnitRemember the great”Seinfeld” episode, in which Jerry’s neighbor Kramer attempts to imitate an automated voice self-service system for”Movie Phone,” and then after not being able to identify the dual-tone multifrequency selections (aka Touch-Tone),”upgrades” himself to support automated speech recognition? (The punch line being”why don’t you just tell me the movie you selected?”). Sadly, the reality is that Kramer’s hilarious imitation does a better job of than some (most?) of the speech recognition systems in operation today.In the area of customer service, which offers companies the potential for competitive (dis)advantage, many today offer their customers a variety of self-service options. Typically, one of those self-service options is the interactive voice response (IVR), or voice self-service, system. If you’re like me, perhaps you prefer to use self-service systems to avoid the potential hazards of live customer service, such as long wait times or being transferred from agent to agent. Read More »
Post by Michael Caton, Collaboration Evangelist, WebExPhil Leigh of Inside Digital Media has an interesting podcast with Dr. John Stuppy president of TutorVista, a one-on-one virtual tutoring service. TutorVista turns the tutoring model on its ear, most students will subscribe for $100 per month and have unlimited access to tutors to help them with a range of subjects. These students would largely be either high school or college students looking for help in a given subject or subjects. TutorVista tutors are full-time employees that are globally dispersed, have advanced degrees and use a virtual whiteboard application (it’s WebEx) and VoIP to interact one-on-one with students. TutorVista has an advantage over traditional tutoring companies in that the company doesn’t have to be concerned about scaling physical infrastructure, i.e. classrooms, with demand. Read more.
In the sprit of Halloween, I thought about the classic Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis film, Ghostbusters, after apparently defeating the evil spirit”Gozer,” the character Winston Zedmore joyously declares:”We have the tools. We have the talent.” In an offbeat way, these comedians created a snapshot of many of the collaboration issues that businesses are dealing with in the area of Unified Communications and Web 2.0 social networking technologies. How do you marry the rich complex talent of your employees, partners and customers to solve a business challenge within the secure boundaries of your information and communication systems? To be more pointed, a significant challenge arises when you try to break down command and control business cultures to create agile enterprises that embrace inclusion, while maintaining the boundaries of privacy and security and adhering to ever-increasing industry regulations such as accounting reform (Sarbanes-Oxley), health care information privacy (HIPPA), and account data security (PCI). While”the wall” on Facebook is a great place to post messages, I am not sure most people want their dentist or banker posting private information in this emerging communications environment. Read More »
Post by Phil Heyneker, executive communications manager As has been the case with any industry in its earlier stages, unified communications is still in its”pie-growing phase”. A few years ago, we thought this would be a $19B market by 2010. Today, in 2007, unified communications is roughly a $25B market, and we see it growing another $10B over the next few years. As the industry matures, success for suppliers will depend on our ability to work together in the interest of our customers, and address a few understandable concerns along the way. This posting will cover a few of these industry challenges and customer concerns around UC, and what we need to do as an industry to address them. Play Nice!While we all agree on some common attributes, we haven’t really reached a unanimously agreed upon definition of UC in the market today. In fact, research has indicated that only 10-11% of customers are even aware of UC as a solution set. But it makes sense that this is happening, as dozens of suppliers are approaching the market from various angles. Traditional voice suppliers, network suppliers, messaging software players, business application providers, video players, and mobility players are all doing their best to tell a compelling story that caters to their business. But if, at its most basic level, UC is the integration of all forms of business communications (voice, video, data, mobility), then each of these suppliers is actually quite relevant to the UC industry, each has a right to tell its own story in the space, and each has to recognize the other’s right to be there. Read More »