Bright Names Shop Direct One of the Top Call Centers in Europe

When it comes to contact centers in Europe, few do it as well as the Shop Direct Group.

One of the British Isle’s top online retailers, Shop Direct is known for its catalogues and web sites. But at least among industry insiders, it also is known for its contact center excellence.

This view was recently reconfirmed by Bright, a UK-based performance management company. Bright listed Shop Direct as a Top 25 percent performer in Europe in its recent contact center benchmarking study, the Bright Index.

The Bright Index is founded upon evidence that to optimize customer management contact center performance, three areas need to be monitored continually, according to a Bright news release. These areas are:

  • Internal performance
  • Employee engagement
  • Customer satisfaction

The Bright benchmarking includes measuring efficiency, quality, resourcing, self-service, sales and resourcing.

Each year up to 100 companies benchmark their call center performance with the index.

The index uses 50 key metrics with an average of one million calls per participating company as the basis for the analysis, according to Bright.

“Shop Direct continues to raise the bar for best in class contact centre performance and is now recognized as an effective contact centre operation delivering quality and efficiency above many of its peers,� noted Bright on its site.

Shop Direct is pleased to be listed as a top performer, too.

“Bright has become our trusted advisor in measuring and improving our contact centre performance,� noted Hilary Bennett, Head of Site for Shop Direct, as reported by Bright in the news release.

Being a top performer means taking the contact center in the context of the whole organization, noted Mats Rennstam, managing director for Bright.

“The key to delivering world-class customer service as well as proving the contact center’s contribution to the organization as a whole is to get a comprehensive and all-encompassing view of how the contact center operates,� he wrote.

Rennstam added: “We have to recognize that there are inherent dangers in examining areas in isolation, which is why the Bright Index is designed to adopt a holistic approach including all areas of managing a best-in-class contact center.�

Bright UK helps clients measure and improve overall performance using its Bright Index. This is the twelfth year of the index, according to Bright. The company also produces the Bright Employee Index.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Peter Bernstein

Looking Back on 8×8′s Road to Success in 2012 and Celebrating Post-New Year

Looking Back on 8x8's Road to Success in 2012 and Celebrating Post-New Year

December 24, 2012


By , TMCnet Web Editor

The holidays seem like a time when the world takes a moment to slow down, unwind and completely relax, soaking in a healthy combination of no work and catching up with dear loved ones and friends. 8x8 (News - Alert) is similarly taking a moment to pause and reflect on the past year, which spells one word: Success.

8x8 is a provider of innovative cloud communications and computing solutions including call center and virtual call center solutions, VoIP phones and contact center software. While the company is certainly looking back on the pleasures of 2012, it’s not taking much time to slow down. In continuing its full-speed ahead momentum, the company strives to preserve its top spot on the leader board.

Let’s take a look back then, shall we?

Not only was 8x8 awarded a slew of new patents this year, but the company was consistently referred to as a heavy hitter to beat. Not only did the company enjoy a thriving first quarter of $25.3 million, which 8x8 CMO Debbie Jo Severin told TMC (News - Alert) was “a great milestone,� but it surpassed this to achieve a record revenue of $26.4 million in Q2, which was 33 percent higher than that time last year.  

Even more, this summer, the company was named the No. one provider of hosted IP Telephony by Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert), where the market research firm declared the company the “clear leader� over several reputable competitors providing communications services during 2011.

Last month, 8x8 was also honored by Gartner (News - Alert) as a market “leader� in its recent report, “2012 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) in North America.� Providers were chosen based on the “breadth, quality and overall maturity of their applications, processes, tools and procedures that enhance individual, group and enterprise communications,� according to Gartner analysts Daniel O’Connell and Bern Elliot.

Also in October, 8x8’s VP of Business Development Huw Rees enjoyed a spot as a keynote speaker at this year’s highly anticipated ITEXPO (News - Alert) Austin 2012, held in Austin, Texas, where he discussed the importance of adopting UC technology.

Now that we’ve taken a good hard look at what 2012 brought this industry-leader, it’s time to gear up for 2013! Having said that, the company announced last week that it will be presenting at the Citi 2013 Global Internet, Media and Telecommunications Conference being held on January 7 at 1:30 PM at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

The presentation will be webcast and may be accessed via the company website, found here. Additionally, a replay will be available on the website following the presentation.

To learn more about all of 8x8’s offerings, visit www.8x8.com.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.

How to Know More About Your Customers Before You Even Pick Up the Phone

How to Know More About Your Customers Before You Even Pick Up the Phone

December 24, 2012


By , TMCnet Web Editor

You heard right – you can actually get to know more about your customers before you even pick up the phone. Throughout history, the single, unwavering factor in the call center equation has been finding ways to gain increased customer insight for satisfaction. Imagine if you could perform a safe and efficient search of your customer on Facebook (News - Alert) or LinkedIn before hopping on the phone with them…that could prove quite nifty, huh?

8x8’s Click2Pop is a free plug-in that runs a Web search on your caller’s phone number or Caller ID name when you receive a call that matches it up to a plethora of flexible pre-configured searches. Your browser pops open and displays the search results from the following available sources:

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Gmail
  • Google (News - Alert)
  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Ask.com
  • Or reverse phone number lookup

Not only will you gain unprecedented insight and visibility into your customer interaction, but most chances are the customer will be thoroughly impressed by how well informed you are – and it all starts when you choose your favorite URL from the drop-down list or even search the URL of your choice.

There are a few steps that make Click2Pop work:

1.)     Inbound calls to your 8x8 (News - Alert) extension are received as normal and your telephone rings.

2.)     Simultaneously, the inbound caller ID phone number or name is being searched inside your selected website.

3.)     If a match is found, the contact with the matching telephone number or name pops up in your Internet browser.

4.)     Even if your browser is closed, Click2Pop will open in a new browser window.

Additionally, you can dial from any Web page, meaning you can go from browsing the Web to making a call in one easy click with the 8x8 Click2Connect plug-in, allowing you to savor every second of each call while eliminating inefficient misdials. In doing so, you can save time and money by being able to make calls right from your Web browser with one click; save seconds per call while improving call accuracy; and save large call/number spreadsheets as an HTML file, allowing you to open it in your browser to create a clickable dialing directory.

Bottom line: If you frequently use the Web for research or sales prospecting, this simple plug-in from 8x8 can save both you and your employees hours of time and create significant savings.

To learn more, visit www.8x8.com.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

GFI VIPRE Internet Security 2013 Review: Looks Simple, but Packs a Punch


GFI VIPRE Internet Security 2013 Review: Looks Simple, but Packs a Punch

By Allison Boccamazzo TMCnet Web Editor

Last week, Computer Active’s Kelvyn Taylor released a promising review of GFI’s newly released and enhanced VIPRE Internet Security 2013, which includes all security features of VIPRE Antivirus 2013; VIPRE Easy Update to auto-fix out-of-date software; a firewall to protect against inbound and outbound Internet threats; an anti-spam filter to protect against spam and phishing e-mails; and a bad website blocker to block access to malicious Web pages.

So how does this product fare when given a good, hard testing? Taylor reveals that with a similar overview and layout, it may look simple, but it boasts an entire slew of benefits. “It all looks very straightforward, but there are plenty of advanced settings available,� he explains. “Although the default settings are sensibly chosen not to worry users with unnecessary alerts and warnings…there are some highly technical options, particularly in the firewall,� which are “clearly explained in the very good help file.�

Some additional benefits to this enhanced product include its ability to use very little memory, which Taylor says uses “about 20 MB when idle and 30MB when scanning.� Additionally, “the default Quick Scan only took 30 seconds on our test PC.�

The fact that GFI VIPRE Internet Security relies on a traditional virus definitions database to stay up-to-date on all of the latest and most harmful viruses is also a treat, as it is updated every hour rather than using a constantly updated database kept on the company’s servers, Taylor explains.

Furthermore, “GFI's new Easy Install system automatically checks for conflicting security products and removes them. For example, on our Windows 8 PC it disabled the built-in Windows Defender security software and the Windows Firewall,� Taylor continues, adding that the entire process took only five minutes, but required a reboot.

His conclusion? Taylor concludes that VIPRE Internet Security 2013 is a “competent� suite and one of the most cost-efficient options available on the market today. Bonus: It’s particularly beneficial “for those with more than three PCs to protect.�

To learn more about all of GFI’s esteemed offerings for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), visit www.GFI.com.

Want to learn more about cloud computing solutions geared specifically towards small to medium-sized businesses?  Don’t miss the Cloud4SMB Expo, collocated with ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at Cloud4SMB Expo. Follow us on Twitter.

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Digicom Selects Telit’s M2M Modules to Improve Its Meter Reading Device

Telit Wireless (News - Alert) Solutions recently announced that Digicom will use its M2M modules to enhance T-LOG, its meter reading device for water, gas, and LPG. Digicom is a leading provider of telecommunications and networking solutions.  

In a statement, Dominikus Hierl, Chief Marketing Officer at Telit Wireless Solutions, said, “The smart metering sector is one of our core strategic markets from where we are seeing very high demand for M2M solutions. We are delighted that, with our GE864-QUAD ATEX module, we are able to make an important contribution to help solution providers such as Digicom create and manage their M2M applications reducing total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) while ensuring highest quality and reliability.�

The integration of Telit’s ATEX certified variant of the GE864-QUAD module into Digicom's T-LOG device enabled measurement of consumption pulses from meters via pulse-receivers and an 868MHz radio transceiver. This data is then sent through SMS, GSM/GPRS or TCP/IP connection. The device which can easily read up to two counters featuring pulse emitters can also be remotely configured and managed thus allowing for greater flexibility and savings. T-LOG has been designed with special connectors for level gauge and counters, which allows easy installation and usage of the device.

Telit’s GE864-QUAD ATEX which is a part of the GE864 product family enables gateway functionality. The company’s GE864 product family comes with quad-band functionality, RoHS compliance, and has been designed to ensure low power consumption. Because Digicom’s products function within high-risk environments, the integration of the GE864-QUAD ATEX which incorporates Europe’s ATEX directive was essential.

The GE864-QUAD ATEX module integration within Digicom’s T-LOG will help in bringing down consumption by 20 percent via benefits such as greater reliability and improved connection stability. The GE864-QUAD ATEX module will help in generating more accurate billing derived via real-time consumption information; optimize the process for notification of anomalies; and provide substantial cost savings in maintenance personnel.

The adopted Telit module is a part of the GE864 suite of quad-band GSM/GPRS products. Designed with a small frame (30x30x3mm), the module ensures greater reliability, and efficiency, and can be used within large scale telemetry and telematics applications; in data transfer terminals; and for remote maintenance and surveillance.

Want to learn more about M2M technologies? Don’t miss the M2M Evolution Conference, collocated with ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at M2M Evolution Conference. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Back to the Embedded M2M Solutions Community

Matrix Comsec’s IP-PBXs Complete Interoperability Certification with SURiX’s IP Door Phone

Matrix Comsec and SURiX recently announced that its IP-PBXs have cleared interoperability certification with SURiX’s IP door phone. Matrix Comsec are specialists in IP-PBXs, VoIP Gateways and IP Phones.

In a statement, Ruchir Talati, product manage, Enterprise Phone Systems, for Matrix, said, “Matrix has developed a fine range of IP-PBXs, to further increase customer value and to enhance companies’ security, we have identified the need to offer more purchase alternatives of IP door phone. SURiX being a premium door phone manufacturer and having a good market reach is the most suitable partner for integration with Matrix range of IP-PBXs. This integration will build a comprehensive, reliable, and value-for-money solution for our customers. Security is our focus area and we are committed to design and deliver value for money solutions for our customers. This endeavor is one more step towards the fulfillment of the extended commitment to our customers.�

The newly announced interoperability initiative will enable Matrix to provide its customers with enhanced security accessories and help it to consolidate its standing within the telephony solution market.

Sergio Starkloff, CEO of SURiX, said, “The combination of SURiX and Matrix IP-PBX (News - Alert) will allow customers to seamlessly integrate a door phone with an IP telephony system, maximizing ease of use and efficiency. Users can now avoid complicated solutions of a physical wired door phone. Today, the solution is simple and having plug-and-play installation."

SURiX’s IP Access (News - Alert) which is a full SIP VoIP door phone has been designed to enhance a company’s security initiatives and to ensure more comprehensive visitor screening. It allows users to open a door using any extension of the Matrix IP-PBX. Furthermore, the door phone can be configured to call a SIP phone via Matrix IP-PBX, thus allowing even for long-distance communication.

Want to learn more about SIP Trunking and how to integrate it into your current UC strategy? Don’t miss the SIP Trunking- UC Seminars collocated with ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Back to the SIP Phones Community

Global Market for Medical Robotics and Computer-Assisted Surgery to Hit $4 Billion in 2017

A recently published technical market research report from BCC Research titled “Medical Robotics and Computer-Assisted Surgery: The Global Market,� reveals that that the global MRCAS market, which in 2011 was valued at $2.2 billion, has touched $2.4 billion in 2012. The report also indicated that the total market value will reach close to $4 billion in 2017 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6 percent.

Out of the total global MRCAS market in 2011, the market in US accounted for more than two-thirds, which, according to the BCC (News - Alert) report, is expected to remain constant right through to 2017. The second-largest market for MRCAS is Europe which in 2011 occupied 24 percent of the market. This market share however is expected to decline to around 22 percent in 2017. The report however, revealed that the Asia-Pacific region at present is the fastest-growing market with a 2012-2017 CAGR of about 17 percent. The global MRCAS market is dominated by surgical robots which account for close three-quarter share of the market while surgical navigation systems make up the second-largest equipment segment. This area is expected to lose its market share between 2011 and 2017.

In the coming five years, intelligent operating rooms and surgical simulators/planners are also expected to lose market share. Orthopedic applications of MRCAS are set to increase their market share substantially between 2011 and 2017.

The report will help in: identification and segmentation of the most import MRCAS devices commercialized to date; detailed analysis of shipments of each of these product segments across different geographical markets and in applications; identification and evaluation of factors such as demographics and economic factors that will impact demand for MRCAS devices; the identification of future trends and products and their commercial success in the coming five years; identification and forecasting of potential markets for procedures and products that are in the development stage as well as their projected  commercialization; identification of device manufacturers; and provide an assessment on the long-term outlook for MRCAS equipment.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Vodafone Group Set to Introduce an M2M Platform in the Coming Weeks

Vodafone (News - Alert) Group, an arm of Vodafone Business Services, recently confirmed that it will be introducing a machine-to-machine (M2M) platform in two weeks. The main area of focus of the Vodafone Group is corporations and small and medium enterprises businesses. Management and planning of this initiative will be handled by a 250-member team. This arm of Vodafone in the last year successfully provided around 10 per cent of its overall revenue of 32,000 Crore in rupees.

In a statement, Naveen Chopra, Director (Vodafone Business Services), said that, “About 80,000 SIMs are in use in this segment. This segment is growing very fast. We expect it to grow at least 50 per cent more than the (retail) consumer business. We are targeting a pie of 15 percent in the next five years."

The company which is preparing for launching a global initiative for European business will be working on a part of the applications, machines, and services provided by players from various industry sections such as automotive, power, logistics, and manufacturing sectors.

Vodafone Group began its day trade with negative momentum and experienced a further dip of -0.91 percent. The company's recent trading price was $25.60. Vodafone's present trading volume is 7.39 million and its average volume is 9.31 million shares. The company's beta value sits at 0.70 points with a total of 4.92 billion in outstanding shares.

Vodafone Group is a leading provider of mobile telecommunication services with operations across the globe. At present the company's mobile voice services reach close to 407 million customers worldwide. Additionally, the company specializes in messaging services; mobile data services; fixed broadband services; and whole sale carrier services. Vodafone's business managed services portfolio includes secure remote network access services.

Want to learn more about M2M technologies? Don’t miss the M2M Evolution Conference, collocated with ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at M2M Evolution Conference. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Voip-Pal.Com Updates Its Patent Pending Applications for Lawful Intercept and RBR

Voip-Pal.Com, Inc. recently announced the status update on its patent-pending applications for lawful intercept and routing, billing and rating (RBR). The company’s lawful intercept and RBR patent applications are all a part of its acquisition of Gibraltar-based Digifonica (International) Limited. Voip-Pal.Com, Inc. is a broadband VoIP telecom cmpany that provides business and residential customers with local and long distance VoIP services.

The Lawful Intercept Patent Application of Digifonica’s which is called “Intercepting Voice Over IP Communications and other Data Transmissions� was officially filed on November 29, 2007. The company’s Routing, Billing and Rating (“RBR�) Patent Application which is called “Producing Routing Messages for Voice Over IP Communications� was filed on November 1, 2007.

The United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has completed examination of both Patent Applications. Based on this evaluation, Voip-Pal has already provided the requisite amendments and arguments. The company has submitted the amended Lawful Intercept and the RBR Patent Applications to the USPTO.

Voip-Pal/Digifonica’s Lawful Intercept Patent Application essentially focuses on the most optimized method for intercepting voice over the Internet. The technology solution will serve to address both the national and international demand by governments that are pushing for scheduled and live intercepts (wire-taps) on digital voice telephone conversations by law agencies. The importance of the patent application increases as an increasing number of countries across the globe are keen that telecom companies have lawful intercept capability.

The patent application “Producing Routing Messages for Voice over IP Communications� or routing, billing and rating, covers unified routing, billing and rating. The RBR solution includes a variety of proprietary elements such as advanced application programming interfaces (APIs) which will enable Voip-Pal to allow its customers to carry out subscriber management via their currently in use subscriber management and billing platforms. 

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Zurmo CRM Version 1.0 Now Available

December 21, 2012

Zurmo is an open-source customer relationship management application, claimed to be an easy-to-use, easy-to-customize CRM application that can be adapted to any business use case. Developers of this application confirmed on the general audience release of Zurmo Version 1.0.

“In 2002, 47 percent of CRM implementations failed and today that statistic remains the same. The total lack of progress in our industry to improve this number is pathetic. We believe in CRM, but users continue to perceive it as a clunky, burdensome tool that wastes their time and only provides value to management. This space needs a major disruption and user adoption needs to be the focus,� Ray Stoeckicht, co-founder of Zurmo said in a statement.

“Zurmo makes CRM enchanting. This might be the first time in the history of the world that the word 'enchanting' has been used to describe a CRM system,� Stoeckicht emphasized.

Built-in gaming mechanics incentivize users to follow CRM best practices and aim to make the application more enjoyable than traditional CRM systems. Co-workers engage in friendly competition with one another and receive points and badges for categories such as creating new business, managing time effectively, and using the system for internal communication rather than email. On the other hand, Zurmo Social CRM is intended to severely cut back on internal e-mail communication so that users can spend more time interfacing with customers.

Apart from built-in gaming mechanics, the application is equipped to fully handle internal Social CRM functionality. Also, it helps users get their job done through complete Sales Force Automation, Activity Management, email tools for communicating with customers, and more.

“Zurmo for is for a Community of Open Source (News - Alert) Software Developers. It exists because we are determined to build the best engineered Open Source CRM on the planet,� Jason Green, co-founder and chief executive officer at Zurmo stated.

Zurmo team believes that the robustness and flexibility of the application make it a powerful foundation for building customized solutions and industry verticals. Interestingly, the company is actively works with other software development teams who utilize the software as a springboard for launching unique projects of their own.

The new version Zurmo 1.0 is the culmination of two years of full-time software development by seasoned engineers in the Open Source CRM field. It addresses users, developers, and the enterprise. Company statement clarified that additional enterprise class functionality will be added to the Zurmo Open Source product with the upcoming release of Zurmo 1.5.

Zurmo is being used by a diverse group of organizations both internationally and in the US. Back in November 2012, Zurmo announced the addition of reporting and workflow as part of Zurmo Project’s strategy to make full Enterprise-class CRM functionality available freely and openly.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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