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High Priority!
August 2002

Rich Tehrani Deliveries

By Rich Tehrani
Group Editor-In-Chief, Technology Marketing Corporation

I have long been fascinated by the transportation system in the United States and how it evolved through time. As Americans moved from a hunting-gathering society to an agrarian one and then to manufacturing, so, too, did our transportation change. First, there were foot trails, the migratory paths of animals and rivers, which served the needs of the population for around 10,000 years. Then came the Europeans, who built roads for their wagons (and the Yankee institution, the toll road) up and down the East Coast. Then people like Daniel Boone blazed trails west, through the Appalachians on to the Great Plains and, later, on to the West Coast the Conestoga wagons rolled. Upon reaching the West Coast, people began looking for a faster way for delivering people and goods (and the mail), and the transcontinental railroads were built to fulfill that need. In the last century, airplanes, trucks and automobiles (aided by the great Interstate Highway System introduced by President Eisenhower) enhanced the capabilities of trains, boats and wagons to deliver commerce at ever-increasing speeds, and have grown so effective that you can now have practically anything delivered anywhere overnight (just take a moment to reflect on how many UPS or FedEx trucks you see every day).

Application Delivery Through Web Services
We are currently in the midst of a transformation into an information and services society, and our methods of transporting knowledge, the basis of service, have evolved as well (briefly: word-of-mouth, letter, telegraph, telephone, fax, e-mail, instant messaging, PDAs). Delivering applications by the Internet or a corporate Intranet is the idea behind Web services, and Intel (www.intel.com) has announced it will begin delivering its LANDesk Management Suite through Web services. According to Robert Naegele, director, market development, Intel Software Products and Services Division, Intel has undergone a sea change in what they are doing. Naegele said, Were dedicating our development to Web services as users are looking for easier integration and a way to update and manage the product, which is more easily done through Web services. Web services are about deriving value from a specific product.

The first module of the Intel LANDesk Management Suite 6.5 to be delivered through Web services is LANDesk Asset Service, which provides comprehensive hardware and software inventory and asset auditing. It enables companies to collect inventory data via the Internet and run XML and HTML reports via a standard Web browser.

IP Delivery Tools
Internet Protocol (IP) has made possible the delivery of voice and data in a unified manner to the desktop, enhancing communications immeasurably. In the contact center, this means agents can not only speak with (or have a Web chat session with) customers and have the necessary customer data at hand, but also that agent desktops are a node on the network, and thus can be located anywhere and have greater access to decentralized data. Other benefits IP networks provide include more seamless interoperability with legacy systems, greater scalability, increased flexibility for better collaboration and the fact that converged networks are lowering the price barrier for sophisticated communications systems, so that advanced contact center functions are attainable for smaller companies.

One of the leaders in the IP space, Cisco Systems (www.cisco.com), recently delivered several new IP software enhancements: Cisco Unity Bridge 2.0, an option available with Cisco Unity 3.1 that is designed to provide interoperability with leading traditional voice mail systems; Cisco Customer Response Solutions (CRS) 3.0 platform delivering integrated contact distribution (ICD), interactive voice response (IVR) capabilities, and the IP Queue Manager; Cisco SoftPhone 1.3; and the Cisco CallManager Attendant Console.

Cisco recently made several hardware announcements as well: the Cisco Media Convergence Server (MCS) 7815-1000, an entry-level platform for IP communications solutions that run on enterprise networks. Faster processing speed enhancements have also been made to two existing Cisco MCS platforms, the Cisco MCS 7825-1133 and the high-availability Cisco MCS 7835-1266. Cisco also announced two packaged voice solutions, based on the Integrated Communications System (ICS) 7750, which are targeted at smaller locations. The ICS 7750-AV (for analog PSTN trunking) and the ICS 7750-DV (for digital PSTN trunking) can replace legacy voice equipment today, and can be upgraded to accommodate future growth. The packages include Cisco CallManager, Cisco Unity voice mail, Cisco Auto Attendant for automated call answering and forwarding services, as well as analog station interfaces for fax, modems and analog phones.

Improving The Delivery Of Support
Superior service delivery is always a must for any tech support desk, and for many people a key ingredient of solving tricky technical problems is the ability to show someone how to solve a problem while telling them as well. Addressing this need, Expertcity (www.expertcity.com) has developed a new, thin-client technology, DesktopStreaming Phone Mode, for its DesktopStreaming collaboration application.

According to Brian Donahoo, senior vice president of products at Expertcity, Expertcity created Phone Mode because the demand was there from tech support contact centers for a screen sharing application to go along with traditional phone support, as they felt having voice and screen sharing capabilities together would improve handle time and customer satisfaction. Expertcity responded by coming up with a new connection engine and scaled down the customer download, which allows a connection to be established in less than 15 seconds. Basically, when an agent receives a call and decides the customers problem can be solved most effectively by having screen sharing and control of the customers keyboard and mouse, the agent directs the customer to a Web site where the Phone Mode client can be downloaded. Before the download, the agent provides the customer with a unique connection code (the code numbers are randomly generated, are specific to the portal, are only active for five minutes and are for a one-time use only).

Once the connection is established, the agent has screen sharing and control of the customers mouse and keyboard. Using the Draw Mode, the agent is able to draw and highlight on the customers screen for demonstrations and training. Because this is a thin-client download, some components of Expertcitys DesktopStreaming application (such as file transfer, two-way screen sharing and chat) have been eliminated to reduce download time and errors. Donahoo said another benefit to the Phone Mode is that agent training time is around 30 minutes.

Delivering IP Capabilities To Service Providers
CosmoCom (www.cosmocom.com) has been busy this year working on its all-IP contact center platform, CosmoCall Universe. Steve Dellutri, CosmoComs co-founder and CTO, said that while CosmoCall Universe 4.3 can be used for many applications, CosmoCom specializes in working with service providers so they can deliver multitenant, hosted call center services to their clients. Since it is an IP platform, tenants can control their call flow through a browser and even enable multimedia applications on a legacy circuit.

Version 4.3 provides multimedia, multi-channel options, including telephone, voice and video over IP, keyboard chat, IVR (interactive voice response), e-mail, voice mail and fax. Other features include voice enhancements such as the newly improved CosmoCorder multimedia recording feature, optimized agent interaction with the PC sound system and a new graphical user interface for the agent softphone.

Version 4.3 also integrates CosmoCall Universes IP-based ACD (automatic call distributor) with a new CosmoDialer application. Dellutri said CosmoCom worked with U.K.-based Sytel (www.sytelco.com) on developing the predictive dialer application. Since the dialer is network-based, it can link to many data sources, which is a benefit to using it in a distributed environment, and provides flexibility to outsourced teleservices agencies.

Dellutri said even messages can be distributed using routing rules as one would for live voice as, for example, Sonera Juxto integrated SMS (short message service) into its hosted contact center offering. This ability to integrate disparate applications underlines something that Dellutri pointed out, which was that businesses are migrating to IP solutions for the flexibility of applications more than the cost.

With advances like these going on today, I look forward to seeing what the future will bring to transportation and the contact center industry.


Rich Tehrani
Group Publisher,
Group Editor-in-Chief

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