Cloud telephony – among the most important recent innovations in telecommunications – is poised for a banner year in 2013, thanks in part of the role so-called big data will play in improving the quality and depth of analytics and telecom applications.
Winners in the year ahead will be those organizations that successfully apply the latest tools to extract meaningful information from massive stores of user data, to foster conversion and improved business decision-making.Having been in the space for the better part of a decade, my picks among the trends to watch follow.
Phone (News - Alert) call data mining/analytics
While analytics tools abound for PPC and general conversion purposes, look for movement toward comprehensive telephony solutions that mine big data and help businesses make better decisions.
Applying call attributes will enable useful conversion analytics in cloud telephony. What call time leads to the greatest number of conversions? In what regions of the country? Among which demographic groups?
Given that there are literally billions of call attributes, in 2013 look for the industry to begin to present this kind of data in a meaningful way.
Push notification in SMS
Geo-location – long a mainstay in SMS text message – has proved increasingly important for deals providers like Groupon, Living Social and the like.
Push notification is likely to be the next realm of innovation left in text messaging – assuming people opt in, that the opt-in request is effective and inoffensive, and that privacy is absolutely respected.
Interactive voice broadcast applications
Voice broadcast applications are typically one way, but that may be about to change.
Determining who is actually responding to a voice broadcast message is key, especially when notifying masses of people affected by an emergency. If you have that data and determine what the individual’s status is – via text messages as well as the phone – you can take the voice broadcast app to another level. In the floods in Pakistan, SMS users were able to get more info than voice broadcast recipients because they were mobile. Look for voice broadcast applications to begin to close the loop in 2013.
The death of downtime
With the cloud’s emphasis on redundant databases and servers, telephony uptime is increasing exponentially, so in 2013, phone service that simply doesn’t go down will become the status quo.
Greater reliability means developers won’t have the same worries about infrastructure issues and will instead be able to spend more time architecting more elegant solutions. That in turn will mean that businesses can scale up more rapidly than ever before, and support an unprecedented volume of calls.
The death of downtime really signifies the maturity of cloud telephony.
The emergence of best practices
The era of big data and the death of downtime will make it more important than ever that organizations embrace industry best practices in all aspects of cloud telephony.
In 2013, responsible voice broadcasting will be an absolutely essential first step. As innovation opens up a greater ability to target – and provides greater insights into user behavior, in the aggregate – the bar has been raised.
Every cloud telephony provider needs to educate its customers on the right use of its platform, to protect privacy and to ensure that these powerful technologies deliver on their promise – an especially crucial imperative as the FTC (News - Alert) looks at robocall abuses.While the market may reverberate from a merger out of nowhere, a shift in the regulatory winds, or some unanticipated product or technology breakthrough, these five should shape the contours of cloud telephony well into 2014.
Dinesh Ravishanker is CEO and co-founder of CallFire (www.callfire.com) in Santa Monica, Calif.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi