Last year, millions of workers were told to go home for “two weeks to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.” A year and a half later, many of us never left home, while others are choosing hybrid work.
This situation was what the TMC labs Unified Communications innovation awards were designed for. In our 2021 edition, the companies we have chosen are more important than ever in allowing organizations to function in this brave new world.
You may have heard cyberattacks are at an all-time high, in-part because it is a profitable business for hackers and also because there are more home workers, making it even easier for attackers to infiltrate these potentially less-secure computers.
CodeREDBridge from 101VOICE can be your company’s best friend if you get hacked, as it allows for instant, archived communication between decision makers as soon as something bad happens. OneBill software allows for efficient billing of many of the advanced services the communications market offers. Rainbow by Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is a full-featured collaboration and UC solution with near-infinite hosting choices, GDPR support and more.
Leading UCaaS solution, Dialpad is brought to you by the people behind Google Voice and Yahoo Voice, and has added sophisticated AI to allow your organization to gain instant insight into customer and other conversations going on. Finally, Upstream Works for Amazon Connect (UWA) enhances the Amazon Connect contact center with a complete cloud omnichannel solution that is optimized for enterprises. The unified agent desktop provides full visibility of the customer journey with productivity tools for all channels and interactions.
In short, this is a varied list of solutions that can help companies become more productive and efficient – in the age of remote, hybrid or even “from-the-office” working.
CodeREDBridge by 101VOICE helps improve organizations’ reputation and safety by strengthening their emergency response mechanisms by enabling key decision-makers better.
Emergencies can happen in at any time – it can be theft, fire, ransomware, weather-related emergencies, or social media rumors. It is impossible to avoid or predict such events, and they don't give you a warning before striking. But, such events can leave people organizations in a state of shock and stress. They don't know what to do, whom to contact, or how to handle the situation. In the absence of a proper emergency handling process, the problem becomes worse. The only way to properly handle organizational emergencies is by immediately contacting the key decision-makers.
But, it's not always possible to reach them immediately through email or text. CodeREDBridge provides a cloud-based instant communication platform that reduces the time it takes to communicate with the required administrators, regardless of their location. At setup, a phone number is assigned that any of the key decision-makers can dial during an emergency or critical event. The system will initiate a call and help them connect with all the necessary people who are skilled to deal with the problematic event, with a secure PIN code.
The system also sends an SMS and an invite to all those who missed the phone call. This ensures that they can all respond quickly. The communication within the bridge is also recorded.
The system is a combined module of an autodialer, SMS notification, audio conference bridge, PIN verification and other telephone modules all organized with a workflow process to deliver a platform to be used during critical events.
We chose CodeREDBridge by 101VOICE to win the 2021 TMC Labs Unified Communications Innovation Award because the threat of debilitating events, such as ransomware, has only increased over the past years. Moreover, the pace of business has dramatically increased, and customers and partners expect companies – regardless of size - to be on top of every situation, in an instant. This solution is all about the decision-makers and 2nd responders being able to communicate quickly and reducing the “mean time to know.”
Rainbow delivers collaboration capabilities for companies of all sizes and connects:
- collaborators (via text, audio, and video communication)
- tools (smartphones, PCs and connected objects)
- and business processes and ecosystems
It is an open platform, leveraging open source software as much as possible to deliver communications services to people, and leverages enterprise data to solve concrete pain points in various vertical ecosystems.
The Rainbow infrastructure has been architected with security by design, protecting users’ confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their data, while maintaining their trust and confidence. For service in Europe, Rainbow is operated in Data Centers of OVH, a strategic partner of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. With the Rainbow Edge architecture, Rainbow can also be operated in customers’ own private data centers, providing even stronger security to customers’ data and operations.
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Rainbow is a cloud-based, enterprise-grade, UCaaS hybrid cloud approach. Rainbow offers a global solution for collaboration and communications while addressing the specific needs of end-customers in various vertical segments.
Whether it is a small business requiring cost-effective mobility, a multinational organization or a government that wants a single standard for unified communications across their complex IT, broad geography, and business process environments, Rainbow can address their UC needs. Rainbow features a scalable cloud-computing UCaaS and CPaaS platform designed with high-availability and resilience in mind. Rainbow provides a wide range of Unified Communication services to users of enterprises of all sizes.
Unified Communications and Collaboration service features include:
- Videoconferencing: high quality voice and video calls in peer-to-peer or conference (up to 120 participants and up to 49 video call participants)
- Screen/app sharing: in-call content sharing to other participants
- Persistent messaging: instant messaging peer to peer or groups, with persistence of historic exchanges
- Presence: status of contacts. Presence can be converged with the PBX (News - Alert) information if connected to Rainbow (phone status). Information from the calendar or email server is also added to the presence information.
- Groups (Rainbow Bubble): Persistent group chat for team collaboration (up to 300 participants)
- File exchange/storage: personal cloud storage for each user, simple drag and drop file sharing
- Tags: Rainbows flexible object model allows for tagging users and devices to search by tags
- Webinar: one-to-many broadcasts of voice/video/screen content (500+ webinar viewers)
IP-PBX Connectivity: Rainbow connects to customers’ existing PBX investments (Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise and other brands) to combine the value of desk phones and Unified Communications. This allows large enterprises to provide the same level of service to any user by federating PBX networks with overlay services. This unique functionality is also largely appreciated by governmental institutions, which can easily broaden services to citizens, using a single browser or an application on a smartphone, to receive or generate voice calls as if those agents where in their offices.
Rainbow Hub: Rainbow is also a full cloud communications solution. High-end Rainbow desk phones deliver high quality voice to the desk.
Rainbow Edge: Rainbow can be deployed in a customer’s private data center to offer even higher data security in specific environments. Even when it is deployed on-premises, Rainbow Edge is operated by ALE from the cloud.
SaaS (News - Alert) connectors: Rainbow offers a range of connectors to integrate real-time communications within the application environment of end-users. Connectors are available to major SaaS platforms (Salesforce, MS Teams, MS Dynamics, Google, ServiceNow (News - Alert), etc.) or will be available as part of the roadmap.
Rainbow Assets: Rainbow offers a range of value-added applications that can bring additional functionalities through simple subscription.
Rainbow Alert: delivers instant notifications with an emergency level to users, enforcing the destination user to acknowledge the receipt of the message. It is typically used for pager replacement in healthcare environments.
Rainbow Classroom: Offers a wide range of virtual learning capabilities to teachers and students, from video conferencing to whiteboarding and break-out rooms, including learning and attendance analytics.
Rainbow Room: An affordable, simple to deploy and configure Rainbow device for conference rooms.
Chatbot: Rainbow offers integration capabilities for chatbots, enhancing customer and employee experiences, while automating back office tasks.
Rainbow can provide a vast range of value-added services in many vertical segments. Leveraging a European trusted cloud infrastructure, the Rainbow platform service capabilities can accelerate opportunities for enterprises to integrate real-time communications at the heart of their business processes and provide overlay value added services in a trusted and simplified manner to their employees, partners and customers.
This trust can accelerate the integration of core functionalities to the platform, such as IoT, AI, machine learning and Blockchain, enhancing security and trust in data exchanges.
We chose Rainbow by Alcatel-Lucent enterprise to win the 2021 TMC Labs Unified Communications Innovation Award because enterprise workflows and business processes can benefit from the real-time communications services provided by the platform to create automation, not only between processes themselves, but also between processes and people, to streamline information distribution, enhance decision making and facilitate automation of resulting actions in the business processes and infrastructure. These capabilities all revolve around the objective of connecting people, objects and applications.
A unified communications platform that connects teams through voice, video, messages, and online meetings, Dialpad provides a comprehensive suite of advanced features to help streamline business communications and improve productivity.
Built in the cloud, Dialpad gets businesses of any size up and running in a matter of moments, without any net-new hardware purchases or significant setup time. Users can administer their own accounts to make real-time changes, including adding, deleting and changing users to scale with the business. Plus, with mobility at its core, Dialpad provides a single platform to communicate anywhere in the world, on any device.
For instance, using Dialpad's Call Flip feature, users can switch live calls from laptops to smartphones to tablets and back to laptops as needed, and without the other party ever knowing. Dialpad makes online meetings better with high-quality audio and video web conferencing, extensive screen sharing capabilities, and advanced conference call settings.
From call park to call transfer to call forwarding, Dialpad offers a comprehensive suite of calling and routing features to help improve business communication. Dialpad also helps enhance team collaboration with advanced business messaging features including SMS, MMS, Group SMS, and more.
With automatic data backup and redundancy built into the platform, Dialpad provides businesses with a cloud phone system that enables secure, encrypted calls and layered security. Dialpad’s proprietary, real-time Artificial Intelligence engine, Voice Intelligence (Vi), helps improve the value of every call by capturing and analyzing each conversation, tracking sentiment, providing coaching and suggestions to questions — all in real time. Vi provides teams with the right answers with real-time assist cards that can include common objection handling answers, FAQs, or competitor insights.
For example, in a call center scenario, if a customer is getting upset, Vi would categorize the call sentiment as negative and automatically alert or route a supervisor to the call with a pre-written script and the customers’ full purchase history already loaded. In addition to receiving real-time coaching, Dialpad users can also track top keyword mentions, customer sentiment over time, and access live and post-call transcriptions that include highlighted moments like “Action Item” or “Question Asked.”
These transcriptions are automatically available on-demand from a single place, Dialpad Analytics, including call history, call volumes, and more.
Vi also provides battlecards that pop up in real time based on trigger words.
Dialpad has taken a customized and scalable approach to language models. It builds a database of company-specific keywords for every customer to perform keyword boosting for increased accuracy. For a user who spells her name ‘Kathryn’ and works at a company named Skribbl, Dialpad’s system would spell the proper names correctly, whereas other models would likely spell them how they sound (ie: “Catherine” and “scribble”)
Dialpad has made a plethora of updates over the past six months, including the introduction of “Purpose of Call” moments, which identifies the reason for calls by identifying the who, what, when, where, and why a call is taking place. Dialpad also added a countdown counter to meetings to help manage the time in calls more effectively as well as the ability to screen record during meetings. Dialpad also introduced a new Microsoft Teams direct routing integration, which enables customers to leverage all of Dialpad’s sophisticated UCaaS and dialer functions – right inside the Microsoft Teams interface.
We chose Dialpad to win the 2021 TMC Labs Unified Communications Innovation Award because of its continuous innovation. Its addition of AI and Vi gives any company the ability to have leading-edge features, and allowing businesses to become more knowledgeable about and responsive to customer interactions. In addition, its collaboration additions have made pandemic-era work-from-home more productive and efficient.
OneBill Software offers a complete cloud-based solution to manage the entire enterprise Quote-to-Cash lifecycle and manage all revenue management requirements. The Quote-to-Cash solution comprises five products: Configure Price Quote (CPQ), Billing and Revenue Management (BRM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Service Delivery Platform (SDP) and Multi-Level Channel Management (MLCM).
OneBill offers the solution to 14 different industries. Built on AWS, the solution is pre-integrated with other third-party components, such as payment gateway, taxation engines, e-signature platform, address validations, ERP systems etc., which significantly reduces the time to deploy the solution and helps keep implementation costs low.
The solution is built on a multi-tenant architecture that supports even micro-tenants within a customer’s business. This allows support for multiple-levels of partners – distributors, resellers, affiliate partners, sales agents, dealers, vendors – to have their own branded environments. This robust multi-level micro tenancy allows businesses to support requirements like Bill-on-Behalf-Of, multi-level agent commissioning, multi-party settlement, etc.
The other area of innovation in the OneBill platform is the ability to create dynamic workflows, which allows service orders to be orchestrated across multiple vendors platform. Using OneBill’s SDP (Service Delivery Platform), service providers can automate service order provisioning and activation through simple configurations that allow interactions with downstream systems using wide variety of industry standard protocols. Last, but not least, the OneBill platform supports features that allows businesses to come up with innovative ways of pricing their metered transactions. The support for daily grants in one such example, where a business can set daily quotas that keeps track of what an end-user is allowed to consume and apply overage if they exceed their quota.
We chose OneBill by OneBill Software, Inc. to win the 2021 TMC Labs Unified Communications Innovation Award because of its complete Quote-to-Cash solution as well as its addition of AAA (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting) capability to track calls in real time.
Upstream Works for Amazon Connect
Upstream Works for Amazon Connect (UWA) enhances the Amazon Connect contact center with a complete cloud omnichannel solution that is optimized for enterprises. The unified agent desktop provides full visibility of the customer journey with productivity tools for all channels and interactions. With knowledge, integrations to any business application or CRM, and simplified management of reports and analytics, UWA empowers agents to provide informed and personalized customer experiences. UWA is a flexible solution that is easy to scale to meet changing customer demands and dynamic business needs.
Upstream Works for Amazon Connect delivers solutions to any enterprise and contact center that has a need to support multiple application integrations, streamline the agent experience and deliver on customer experience goals.
Their target market spans all geographic regions, industries, channels and contact center sizes. Industries across the globe have been trusting Upstream Works with the transformation of their agent and customer experience, including many different verticals:
- Business Services
- Financial Services
The UWA unified Agent Desktop provides full visibility into the customer journey with productivity tools and Upstream Works Assist knowledge management, empowering agents to provide personalized and informed experiences to every customer on any channel. The Supervisor Desktop provides management simplicity with real-time reports and visibility to enable on-the-fly management. Supervisors can monitor agents, teams and queues, and take immediate action when the need arises.
The company’s integrations allow customers to integrate their UWA solution with CRM systems, Workforce Management (WFM), Quality Management (QM), appointment scheduling systems, and any business application utilized by the enterprise. Examples of vendors Upstream Works frequently integrates with include Aceyus, Acqueon, Calabrio (News - Alert), Eleveo, Epic, Facebook Messenger, Jack Henry, Local Measure, Microsoft Dynamics, RightAnswer, Salesforce, Selligent, ServiceNow, Tokbox, Twilio, Oracle, Verba, Verint, Zoho.
The flexible Upstream Works API model allows customers to easily expand their solution, add new channels, seats and integrations, as well as utilize emerging technologies like AI, bots and RPA. UWA offers an end-to-end solution that improves agent productivity, simplifies management and personalizes the customer experience.
UWA also enhances Amazon Connect to transform contact center operations and personalize customer engagements across the entire customer journey. As an Amazon Technology Partner, Upstream Works provides solution flexibility to accelerate innovation, empower agents with unified interactions, and increase efficiency with a scalable platform.
Contact centers and organizations face common challenges like productivity, retention and customer loyalty. UWA helps organizations to improve the agent experience with intuitive tools and streamlined workflows to increase First Contact Resolution (FCR), improve Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and optimize IT agility with a cost-effective, scalable and flexible solution that uses an innovative approach to exceed customer expectations and business value.
Upstream Works for Amazon Connect offers a gadget-based framework for agents, supervisors and administrators to provide consistent customer and agent experiences. This framework extends the value of Amazon Connect by adding features, enhanced functionality and support for all channels and interactions. The unified agent desktop brings it all together in an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Gadgets include:
- Interaction Activity viewer for all interactions and omnichannel context-data
- Interaction Capture
- Task Bar
- View Tasks
- Marquee for team and contact center announcements and statistics
- Team Chat for easy collaboration
- Email and Chat
- Supervisor Desktop for team management simplicity
UWA infrastructure is hosted and managed within Amazon’s secure data centers and uses Amazon Web Services (News - Alert) (AWS) technology on the shared responsibility model. The AWS shared responsibility model describes this as security of the cloud and security in the cloud:
Security of the cloud: AWS is responsible for protecting the infrastructure that runs AWS services in the AWS Cloud. AWS also provides you with services that you can use securely.
Security in the cloud: Your responsibility is determined by the AWS service that you use. You are also responsible for other factors including the sensitivity of your data, your company’s requirements, and applicable laws and regulations.
Upstream Works for Amazon Connect is designed and built around a singular vision, the belief that agents should be empowered to work in a simple and intuitive fashion, regardless of the channel customers choose to use. This allows enterprises to extend the full range of channel choices to their customers with the knowledge that agents can use the same toolset to engage with customers. To achieve this, they have identified the features and tasks that are common to all contact centers and provide easy-to-use interfaces. As a result:
- Agents can be easily trained on the system, leading to reduced onboarding time and costs
- Agents are empowered with easy-to-use tools, leading to greater motivation and retention
- Regardless of channel, customer information is captured in a consistent fashion in Interaction Activity
- Agents can easily access information with the seamless integration of multiple business applications, data and CRMs across the enterprise, ensuring all resources are accessible through the agent desktop
- Simplified Team Management with the Supervisor Desktop, Team Chat, collaboration and communication features
- Real-time Reports and Analytics are available across all channels, providing business and operational insights
- Flexible, tailored solutions to meet dynamic business needs
- Enterprise-ready solution that is fast to deploy and easy to scale and grow
- UWA is hosted on Amazon Web Services’ data centers and offers high performance, reliability, availability, security and failure redundancy
- Upstream Works has proven industry expertise and is trusted around the world
We chose Upstream Works for Amazon Connect by Upstream Works Software to win the 2021 TMC Labs Unified Communications Innovation Award because it provides omnichannel flexibility with Upstream Works digital channels, including email, chat, messaging, video, co-browse, social, bots, and more, in one easy-to-use desktop suite. Moreover, the solutions integrate with the systems and applications that organizations use every day. Finally, the company extends its rich integration capabilities, allowing organizations the freedom to grow their UWA solution to support and leverage emerging technologies at their own pace, including the latest in AI, machine learning, RPA, and IOT.
Edited by Erik Linask