TMCnet Call Center Software Week in Review

January 05, 2013

Happy New Year! It’s time for a round-up of the week’s events in call center software.

Workspaces naturally evolve with changing needs and demands of customers, and WUN systems Inc., a workspace technology provider, thinks so too, as it recently announced its WUN on Demand that gives workspaces ‘whatever they need, whenever they need it, wherever they are.’ According to Dale Hersowitz, WUN on Demand has been designed to support the flexibility of modern workspaces, providing them with same-day product delivery and support.

Read the full article here.

Virgin Money, a provider of credit cards, mortgages, savings, pensions, investment and protection products to over four million customers, was recently recognized with the prestigious 2012 Customer Experience of the Year Award for Banking in the UK Customer Experience Awards.

Read the full article on TMCnet.

For any contact center company, agents training and sharpening their skills is of the utmost importance. Surging call volume and a multi-skill environment makes it even more critical for them to improve the toolset used for training and quality assurance. To train their new staff and optimize quality of service, Moore County, NC-based teleservice providers at Trident Marketing (News - Alert) have implemented Virtual Observer, a call monitoring system from Coordinated Systems.

Read the full article here.

Analysys Mason, a specialist industry analyst organization, has recognized Oracle (News - Alert) as the best enterprise offering customer care systems across the globe. Analysys Mason revealed this information it its latest report titled, "Customer Care Systems: Worldwide Market Shares 2011."

Read the article here.

SocialFlow, a social media marketing company, has recently announced that it has been added to Facebook’s (News - Alert) Preferred Marketing Developers (PMD) program. SocialFlow, founded in 2009, offers brands and businesses a solutions-based approach to connecting paid, owned and earned social media strategies.

Find the full TMCnet article here.

That’s all for this week in call center software. Enjoy your weekend!

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.

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HealthTechZone Week in Review

Even with a holiday thrown in, it's hard to stop the rush of news in the healthcare technology market segment. That was certainly the case this week, even with New Year's Day thrown into the mix, but the news proved stronger than even a day off as plenty emerged, so settle in and let's run down some of the biggest events to happen this week with our Week in Review coverage!

First out of the gates were predictions for 2013, specifically in the field of medical device connectivity. With the needs of physicians to be in more places at once battling against the demands of regulators, the need for medical devices to be better, and more securely, connected to information will increase steadily. Managing the resulting complexity that gets involved from many connections all at once will also prove difficult, but be very important to 2013 overall.

Sarasota, Florida healthcare professionals brought in the next piece of news, as the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System looked to join up with local agencies to bring in a new information sharing system. The system, when fully installed over the course of the next year, will allow the various operations involved—the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, the Sarasota County Health Department and the Senior Friendship Centers—to share information more readily, reducing wait times, make eligibility processes easier to understand, and in general streamline operations, making them more efficient overall.

Next came a look at the Lifebot, the telemedicine system that connected ambulances to hospitals in a bid to not only provide better care on scene, but perform better stabilization measures. Including access to patient data when available and live video feeds, the new Lifebot 5 system uses a variety of connection measures available to not only provide information about patient status en route to the hospital, but also to receive information from the hospital to be used in helping the patient before the ambulance even reaches the hospital.

Breast cancer is a major problem all over, but 3D technology is looking to not only improve the capability to detect breast cancer early, but with early detection, provide better chances at improved treatment of the disease. The technology in question, known as Tomosynthesis, involves capturing multiple images of the breast to create a three-dimensional model of same, which in turn allows for a better diagnosis than a standard X-ray image. Particularly valuable for women whose breasts are particularly dense, the technology manages to find a lot of cancers that other technologies miss.

Finally, we had a look at an unusual development in cardiac care: a pacemaker powered by a human heartbeat. Pacemakers formerly needed batteries to operate, until the University of Michigan managed to develop a pacemaker that could run on the beat of the heart itself. Pacemakers are used to regulate a human heartbeat, not replace it, so a heart is still beating in a situation where a pacemaker is required. The irregular beat, while dangerous to humans, is more than sufficient to power the piezoelectric systems that power the U of M pacemaker.

That was the week that was in healthcare technology: from cancer care to cardiac care and the power and promise of information technology in healthcare, it was clear that there was a lot to cover. Our global online community was more than up to the task, however, as they are every week. So be sure to join us back here next week for all the biggest news in healthcare technology, as well as every weekend for our Week in Review coverage!


TMCnet SIP Trunking Week in Review

Welcome to the first SIP trunking week in review of 2013, recapping some of the top stories in this sector from the week just past as reported by TMCnet.

First up, Ziggo Business, a provider of media and communications services, stated  that it intends to implement a SIP trunking system soon, replacing its current ISDN lines. As of now, little else has been revealed regarding this upgrade plan.


The company has also refreshed its Office Pro offering for larger companies. As such, while Office Basic and Office Plus will continue to feature an HFC connection, Office Pro will combine a fiber connection with ISDN 2 or ISDN 30.

Next, SolveForce.com launched its new nationwide Mississippi point-to-point lines and metropolitan Mississippi business Internet services for manufacturing industries in the region. In all, the company now has MPLS, DSL, T1 and T3, and VoIP services available.

“Many Mississippians are inherently equipped with skills for their thriving manufacturing industries," said a marketing representative of SolveForce. "SolveForce is assisting these businesses to find reliable, efficient, and affordable communications solutions that are complementary to these skills."

In other news, Indosoft (News - Alert) recently revealed an enhancement to Q-Suite 5.7, which extends the auto-provisioning competence of SIP phones to include Polycom and Linksys (News - Alert) or Cisco IP phones. This auto-provisioning simplifies phone registration and administration, which particularly benefits large and distributed contact center implementations.

Furthermore, medium and large contact centers using Asterisk (News - Alert) can now be implemented with the help of Q-Suite 5.7. This offers skills-based routing, complete-feature queue setup, over-flow administration and sophisticated call routing out of the box.

Meanwhile, a recent survey conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Virgin Media Business found that 65 percent of 500 U.K. CIOs believe fixed network telephones "will disappear from everyday use within five years." This train of thought was largely prompted by the amount of employees that use their mobile phones even while sitting at their desks.

While hosted PBX (News - Alert) services will typically be pitched as an alternative to premise-based telephony for mid-sized and some smaller businesses, very small companies usually lack the staff to oversee deployment of a PBX. As of now, though, mobile phones don't appear to present a clear threat to hosted PBX adoption.

Lastly, TECOM has chosen DSP Group's (News - Alert) XciteR chipset to power its MOCET Communicator. The MOCET Communicator provides iPad users with a best-in-class audio and video experience, incorporating highly developed user-friendly IP phone features with the MOCET IP Commander app.

"We are pleased to partner with the DSP Group to develop and introduce our new line of IP phones and mobile device accessories, including the MOCET Communicator," said Marc Abrams, VP, Product and Business Development, MOCET. "We look forward to taking full advantage of the outstanding level of technology integration and performance offered by DSP Group's VoIP solutions."

That's all for this week in review. Be sure to check out the SIP Trunking Channel for more news in this sector.

 

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 in South San Francisco on November 27, 2012.

TMCnet Embedded M2M Solutions Week in Review

This week was uncharacteristically slow for the embedded M2M solutions industry, but that's not all that odd considering New Year’s Day was Tuesday. Still, though, there were still a couple stories of note, including a global Internet of Things (IoT) market forecast for the next four years, and a new partnership between two Singapore-based companies that may bring M2M marketing to the next level.

MarketsandMarkets released its market research report, entitled “Internet of Things & Machine-To-Machine Communication Market,� which states that the IoT and M2M communication market will be worth $290 billion by 2017. By contrast, the market was only worth an estimated $44 billion in 2011. Furthermore, the market is expected to increase at an estimated CAGR of 30.1 percent between 2012 and 2017.

Key market drivers identified in the report include government initiatives and ubiquitous connectivity. The report also identified the Middle East and Latin America as two regions with high market opportunities for IoT, which has a lot to do with the rising adoption of new standards and technologies in smart cities and smart homes.

As for the above mentioned partnership, the two participating companies are Sprooki and YFind, which have unveiled the YFind Positioning System (YPS) working in tandem with the Sprooki marketing application. YPS more or less acts as an indoor equivalent of GPS since, just as GPS uses satellite signals to locate the position of a GPS receiver, YPS uses Wi-Fi signals to determine the position of a mobile device.

Sprooki helps retailers schedule promotions, sales, offers and events so, when combined with YPS, Sprooki can help retailers market products based on their movements within, say, a shopping mall. This leads to more personalized marketing based on the type of clothing, shoes or facial products a consumer visits most.

That's all for this week. Be sure to stay tuned to the Embedded M2M Solutions Channel for more news in this sector.

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.

Back to the Embedded M2M Solutions Community

Sutherland Creates Call Center to Combat Unemployment in the Philippines

Touted as a major call center provider in the Philippines, Sutherland Global Resources, is looking to expand its reach in the industry by opening a call center in the Philippine island province of Catanduanes. The company has partnered with the Provincial Government of Catanduanes in order to make the plan a reality, and Governor Joseph C. Cua is looking forward to working in conjunction with the call center company to bring business to the island, ultimately lowering unemployment rates in the area.

“The Philippines’ average economic growth is reportedly higher than some Southeast Asian countries but at the same time, it also has the worst unemployment rates in the region,� said Sonny Africa, executive director of the Ibon Foundation, in a statement.

“The country’s unemployment crisis will remain unresolved without a genuine thrust to develop Filipino manufacturing and domestic agriculture,� added Africa.

Although the company does not deal with Filipino manufacturing or domestic agriculture, Cua believes Sutherland Global Resources could help greatly with the problem of unemployment the Philippines has faced for a long time.

On December 6th, Sutherland’s Vice President for Human Resources Shridhar Aiyer as well as the Senior Manager for Talent Development Vijayendra Nagar, met Governor Cua to discuss the operating system of the partnership in addition to plans going forward for establishing Sutherland’s call center business in Catanduanes. Also at the meeting was Joseph Lim, operator of the Center Mall, the first and only mall on the island of Catanduanes.

All who attended the meeting reportedly agreed on the basic structure of the partnership and plans and created a proposal for an agreement which will be inked sometime this month. The minute the memorandum is signed, recruitment and training for the call center agents will begin, and Sutherland will be provided a space in the Center Mall to base its operations.

Looking closer into the details of the proposed agreement, Sutherland would deploy qualified, trained candidates to either their Legazpi or Naga branches, and the schedule would allow the employees to return to Catanduanes weekly. However, after 1,000 employees have been deployed from Catanduanes the arrangement will change, and Sutherland says it will call the agents back to work at the new call center in Catanduanes.

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 Jamie Epstein

Facebook VoIP Feature Currently Testing in Canada

Facebook has begun testing its its new Voice over IP (VoIP) service, which will allow users to make phone calls on the Facebook Messenger smartphone app. The system will be tested initially by Facebook users in Canada, and depending on the response to the new feature, the company will make changes and tweak the service before releasing it to the wider (worldwide, to be exact) Facebook community.

Facebook’s inclusion of a VoIP feature comes as part of a series of upgrades the site is making to its social media network, which has become nearly all that can be expected from Facebook nowadays: that it will keep on changing.

The feature will reportedly allow Facebook users to send one another voice clips through the Messenger app, which will work with both the iOS and Android versions. The trial version for Canadian users will only initially be offered on iOS devices however, which include the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

As of now, it is unclear whether VoIP capabilities will be made available through the PC version of the site.

The way the mobile Messenger app’s VoIP feature works is by pressing a small “i� button, located at the top right corner of the screen. Users then tap “free call� to send a voice message—not a live call—to their Facebook friend. The voice clip is created by holding down the “record� button located on the app for the length the user wants their message to be. The message is then sent privately from the one user to the other, rather than publicly from wall to wall.

It is also currently unclear when the service will be released to other markets outside of Canada, but the testing phase will reportedly end in the next few weeks.

By adding VoIP messaging capabilities to the mobile Facebook Messenger app, Facebook seems to be taking a page from other social media and tech company’s books such as Apple, whose FaceTime application allows for video calling as well as Microsoft’s video-calling service, Skype.

Whether the addition will be successful or fall the way of unpopular Facebook features (poking, anyone?) remains to be seen.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

Arizona May Legally Take on Fake Twitter Accounts

A problem that has been with social media since the beginning, back when MySpace (News - Alert) ruled the Internet and Facebook was in its beginning stages, is false accounts. People set up accounts in the name of famous actors, actresses or sports stars and impersonated the notable figures online, tricking many into believing they are the real deal.

Nowadays, the problem has exploded on the popular social networking site Twitter (News - Alert), and it has gotten so bad that the courts are considering taking a hand in the matter.

Arizona is mulling over legislation that would make it a felony to use another person’s actual name to make an Internet profile, but only if they are intending to “harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten.�

While Arizona is not the first to consider passing a law aimed at stopping online impersonation and fraudulent accounts, it would be the first to define the issue in these exact terms. Similar laws have been passed in New York, Texas, Washington, and California, all in the same vein of stopping faux accounts and the damage they inevitably cause.

After all, impersonation in the real world is called identity theft and it carries intense legal retributions, and some say there is little difference between the practice on and offline.

Where the law gets into some grey area is in the term “harm.� A Twitter parody account is often used to poke fun at that celebrity, or simply to use the celebrity’s likeness to entertain Twitter followers and even fans of that person. So, what exactly is the “harm� in that?

Well, as a lawyer involved in similar legislation and cases in Houston, Tex. Stephanie Stradley explains, “Harm can be very broadly construed--one person’s joke is another person’s harm.�

Likely, if this law passes it could be used to delete Twitter accounts aimed to make fun of celebrities via impersonation, which some would argue is not such a big deal. Defining the term ‘harm’ for legal purposes is understandably difficult, however, so Stradley may be right—if the law passes, it may apply to more trivial issues than those of cyber bullying or death threats.

Still, the decision seems to come down to this: pass the law to help put an end to fake accounts used with the clear intention to hurt the targeted person and then deal with the legal ramifications and cases related to relatively harmless online pranks. That, or keep the issue out of the courts as it has been in most states, and let the problem of parody accounts continue as an accepted part of Internet culture.

Kurt Opsahl, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, defined this danger clearly commenting, “The problem with this, and other online impersonation bills, is the potential that they could be used to go after parody or social commentary activities. While this bill is written to limit ‘intent to harm,’ if that is construed broadly, there could be First Amendment problems.�

Stradley insists, however, that the law will prove so helpful in certain cases that it could be worth the trouble of unimportant cases cropping up under the law. For instance, Stradley believes that politicians who have had parody accounts made to discredit and mock them would definitely have a case under the law, should it pass.

One factor which could keep the lesser cases out of the court is whether the fake account is considered credible enough to convince Twitter users that the person is real. If the account is taken as a satire or parody and not as the actual person, it would likely never hold up in court or even get that far.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

Fieldbus Foundation and ISA Unite to Deliver a Wireless Backhaul Transport Network

The Fieldbus Foundation, a non-profit organization that has been a driving force behind technologies in process automation, revealed recently that it will cooperate with the International Society of Automation (ISA) standards committee ISA100 to provide a common framework to enable multiple industrial communication and application protocols to run on a shared wireless backhaul network.

This is crucial for FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management (ROM) development, according to Dave Glanzer, Fieldbus Foundation director of Technology.

In developing this unified digital infrastructure, which will deliver the architecture model and support ROM technology, asset management in applications and provide a quality service for end users, it has required Fieldbus Foundations’ expertise on interoperability of communications and application protocols with the ISA100.11a standard for implementing wireless systems in the automation and control environment.

It is a new solution that has met the automation industry requirements for a shared wireless backhaul; a technical report by the ISA100.15 Wireless Backhaul Networks Working Group reveals its scope, purpose and function.

As part of the solution, the FOUNDATION for ROM provided the physical media and HSE (High-speed Ethernet) communication that serves as the base-level network within the process automation environment to support the wireless HSE backhaul.

The FOUNDATION system architecture also provides the international standard for employing IEC 61804-2 EDDL (Electronic Device Description Language) and the function blocks for process control and open communications protocol to improve integration of ROM devices.

According to Dr. Penny Chen, co-chair of the ISA100.15 working group, it took a collaborative effort to expedite the work and complete the backhaul architecture model for interconnecting automation system elements over the network.

Glanzer adds that this is an important developmental milestone and one that took a joint initiative to deliver the backhaul transport network not only to incorporate FOUNDATION for ROM but for expanding the capabilities of Fieldbus Foundation's technology to support countless wired and wireless devices and remote I/O integration for several automation industries.

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 Jamie Epstein

Twitter Worth $11 Billion, but You Can’t Buy in Yet

January 03, 2013

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Reports have emerged suggesting that Twitter (News - Alert) is actually worth a pretty substantial amount of money in terms of its stock value. But that may not be the biggest bit of news surrounding Twitter of late; despite the fact that it is reportedly worth around $11 billion, it hasn't actually had an IPO yet and is only being traded in secondary markets.

The reports from Greencrest Capital provided a lot of insight into the likely future plans of the popular social networking site, with Twitter likely to look into an IPO, not in 2013, but rather in 2014 instead. Given that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had mentioned something similar in a discussion on CNBC last year saying that Twitter was poised for an IPO at a time it wouldn't yet reveal, it wasn't too much of a surprise to get the word from Greencrest Capital that an IPO would likely hit in 2014.

Twitter's earlier plans; meanwhile, seem to bolster the idea of an IPO afoot, including some major upgrades to management. Ali Rowghani, formerly of Pixar and formerly Twitter's CFO, got promoted to COO. Zynga's (News - Alert) treasurer, Mike Gupta, was brought in to replace Rowghani at CFO. This has helped fuel trading on secondary markets to hit a recent valuation of $11 billion, according to word from Greencrest. Recent financing helped Twitter hit $8 billion, and rose from there to $10 billion in private trading, though the Facebook (News - Alert) IPO knocked that figure down with subsequent recovery.

Granted, the trading on secondary markets isn't exactly a flawless measure of value. After all, secondary markets are illiquid, and that makes them less than optimal as trades can't reflect public opinion about a company's likelihood of success so readily. But given that Facebook stock was selling at $29.30 just 10 months ago, and it's currently selling at $28, it may well be a better measure than some would expect.

But then, Facebook stock also went through a series of wild maneuvers on its way to $28, so while the private trading may be a better indicator than expected, it isn't likely to tell the whole story. Still, Twitter as an IPO is looking like a pretty good idea, given its massive user base and potential for monetization.

Will we see Twitter stock come available in 2014 or perhaps even earlier? Only time will tell, of course, but it's a pretty safe bet that Twitter will be traded at some point.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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