inContact Plans Upward Move in 2015

inContact Plans Upward Move in 2015

December 23, 2014

inContact, a leading provider of cloud contact center software and contact center agent optimization tools, is known throughout the industry for its rapid expansion and growth. As such, the company is emphasizing that good news with the announcement of its latest project, a nearly 350,000 square foot campus and headquarters in Sandy, Utah.

“inContact's explosive growth during the past two years, which has seen the company double in size to almost 1,000 employees, along with the expectation of similar expansion in the near future, is the primary driving force behind inContact Center,” the company noted in a release. According to published reports, Raddon Development and Workers Compensation Fund will begin building the campus in early 2015, with an expected completion of the first structure by March, 2016.

"In the last year, inContact grew the employee base by 28 percent in Utah, and by 65 percent overall throughout the U.S. and the world," noted Paul Jarman, CEO at inContact. "With the construction of inContact Center, we plan to create a world-class employee experience with room to grow into the 2020s."

The new campus will begin with a 125,000-square-foot building with plans to include two additional buildings for a total of more than 350,000 square feet of office space throughout the project. To accommodate the influx of new people to the area, inContact Center, as it will be called, will feature a four-story parking structure with 1,093 spaces in addition to street-level parking lots and spaces.

News of the project was greeted with enthusiasm by city leaders.

"We could not be more pleased to welcome inContact as a key corporate partner in our recently unveiled city center, The Cairns," said Tom Dolan (News - Alert), mayor of Sandy City. "The corporate headquarters of inContact will provide much-needed and well-paying jobs in a development that will be a true live, work, and play atmosphere with a variety of retail and restaurant choices, ready access to transit, residential options and outdoor amenities, all within walking distance of their front door."

Belk Renews Partnership with eBay Enterprise Leveraging Omnichannel to Manage Customer Service

Belk Renews Partnership with eBay Enterprise Leveraging Omnichannel to Manage Customer Service

December 22, 2014

As those of us in the contact center solutions business are almost painfully aware, the term de jure in our community is for better or for worse OMNICHANNEL.  It rapidly displaced “Multi-Channel” to describe being able to interact with customers according to their preferences, i.e., phone call, chat, text and now video.  In fact, isn’t it amazing how the adoption of jargon in our industry is so much faster than the adoption of the solutions they describe? To be honest, I have always had an affinity for 360 degree touch points, but one word descriptions always win the marketing vocabulary wars.

The reason to bring this up is that the omnichannel business is big and growing bigger and not just in size of market, but also size of customers and size of vendors looking for engagements of their own.  A case in point is news that King of Prussia, PA-based eBay Enterprise, an eBay (News - Alert) Inc. company, has an extended multiyear agreement with Charlotte, NC-based Belk Inc., the nation’s largest privately owned department store company.

This is both an extension of an existing relationship as well as an extension of capabilities provided. As part of the agreements, eBay Enterprise will continue to provide Belk with multi-site customer support to scale with Belk’s continual growth. “eBay Enterprise has exemplified our southern hospitality motto and has helped us drive customer satisfaction over the years.”

Belk first partnered with eBay Enterprise in 2008 with the launch of Belk.com. Since then, Belk has increased its online business significantly and eBay Enterprise has continued to support that growth by providing customer sales and service solutions through various contact channels.

For those who might be unaware of eBay Enterprise’s omnichannel capabilities, the company is headquartered in King of Prussia, Pa. and has offices in Austin, Barcelona, London, Los Angeles, New York, and Shanghai. It owns and operates 3 million square feet of fulfillment space and four call centers domestically and internationally and focuses on four operations solutions areas for retail customer: omnichannel operations, fulfillment, customer care and store-based fulfillment. Any of its solutions can be provided on a standalone basis, or bundled together in a larger suite of commerce solutions.

“We pride ourselves on providing an excellent shopping experience and unparalleled customer service,” said Ivy Chin, Belk’s Senior Vice President of Ecommerce. “eBay Enterprise has exemplified our southern hospitality motto and has helped us drive customer satisfaction over the years.”

eBay Enterprise ensures a consistent Belk branded experience by using proven management tools and leveraging best practices in the service center. “Customer service can enhance or destroy the consumer experience, which is why we continually focus on providing the leading technology and resources to provide exceptional service in the client’s brand voice,” said Tom Barone, Head of Omnichannel Operations, eBay Enterprise.

With the pace of order to delivery picking up thanks to things like one-hour service delivery being pioneered in major urban centers by several companies, the latest being Amazon who has started with one zip code in the heart of New York City in Manhatten, reliance on operational solutions that are fast and scale are only going to become more critical for retailers.  After all, speed of delivery is a major part of customer consideration and the overall customer experience so leaving the heavy lifting to the experts in customer care and logistics is going to be another big trend to follow in 2015. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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Call Recording Shores Up Customer Service Efforts at the North Pole

Call Recording Shores Up Customer Service Efforts at the North Pole

December 22, 2014

 

At a recent Christmas party, a friend of mine shared a story regarding Santa. She explained that as her family always traveled for Christmas, Santa would visit their house early and leave the family’s gifts under the tree. This activity demonstrated proof that Santa was real—as it was the only way he could get to all the other houses on Christmas Eve; those who traveled received their presents early so he had more time on the Big Day.


And, speaking of the Big Day—which is now just a few short days away—Coordinated Systems, Inc. (CSI (News - Alert)) has reported on a recent Santa success story of its own. It seems that CSI’s VO Community Workforce Management software has been successfully implemented by the North Pole to ensure the increasingly high demand for delivery accuracy is met through proven methods both before and on Christmas Eve. The call recording solutions provider is excited to help this very important operation meet demand. 

According to a post on the company’s Virtual Observer blog, the growth rate throughout the world has created a need for highly trained, multi-skilled elves, as well as remote assembly facilities. As Mrs. Claus has traditionally been responsible for the scheduling and training of elves and isn’t one for technology, the status quo was rarely challenged. She recently changed her mind, however, when reports of lapses in the quality of toys, delivery cycle times and unforeseen staffing costs came to light.

An in-depth investigation into workforce management and call recording technologies helped Mrs. Claus to discover Virtual Observer Community Workforce Management. She was intrigued by the onsite training professional services and real-time agent adherence. With primary concerns of price, ease of use and scalability, the Virtual Observer solution stood out among competitive offerings. Plus, Mrs. Claus could implement the solution within the North Pole’s call center, making it much easier for agents to manage the requests for wish list submission and elimination from the naughty list.

Now, Mrs. Claus and her team of supervisors can use call recording and other monitoring technologies to ensure the highest level of quality interactions in the call center. Plus, cross-channel integration ensures that web chats, SMS messages and emails are all handled with the same efficient care as traditional phone calls. The center is now properly staffed at all times, thanks to real-time visibility into traffic forecasts.

The most important point is that this level of dedication to quality customer care will ensure the consistent customer experience. Regardless of location, travel plans or requests, the North Pole will be able to meet expectations for years to come. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

Versatile, Sophisticated IP Phone Garners Praise

IP Phones Channel

December 22, 2014

Versatile, Sophisticated IP Phone Garners Praise

By Alisen Downey, TMCnet Web Editor

Businesses today expect a lot more out of their phones than the ability to make and receive calls. Technology is becoming hyper-connected in both consumer and business markets, and savvy companies understand that in order to operate efficiently, they must invest in IP phones that will allow them to connect to the widest audience possible—both in and out of the office.

IP phones offer companies a way to unified their phone communications while offering a number of features and enhancements such as improved voice quality, video and audio conferencing, email and contact synchronization, and unification with other office devices such as laptops, mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers.

Yealink (News - Alert), which provides businesses around the world with a wide range of top-notch IP phones, was recently given high praise from third-party consumer review site WhichVoIP. Specifically, the phone highlighted in the review was the SIP-T46G. This Gigabit IP phone was designed for executive users and busy professionals. It comes with an elegant high-resolution TFT color display to deliver users with a rich visual experience and provide an added sense of sophistication to the phone. The phone uses Yealink Optima HD technology to enable clear, life-like audio communications. Proving its versatility, the T46G comes with programmable keys and supports Gigabit Ethernet, in addition to a variety of other device connections such as EHS headset and USB.

“First impressions out of the box are that this is an impressive looking, robust, and well made phone,” WhichVoIP wrote in its evaluation. “The Yealink T46G SIP phone is an enterprise-grade phone that would work well in any office for any employee and will impress anyone that uses it. In particular, managers and executives that are heavy phone users will enjoy the impressive features and functionality that this device has to offer…If you are shopping for a device with this level of features then it is highly recommended that you include this phone in your overall evaluation, as it will likely be tough to beat on both price and functionality.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Back to IP Phones Channel

Wheelings & Dealings: Carbonite to Acquire MailStore

Data backup and recovery specialist Carbonite is beefing up its small and midsize business (SMB) proposition with the acquisition of MailStore, which is known for its email archiving capabilities, including full-text search and indexing capabilities.

Archiving and storage has become a crucial part of company operations as more and more mission-critical communications and applications move to the cloud. But email is still the No. 1 information generator, which presents a challenge for SMBs looking to keep a complete history of their business data and ensure data integrity.

Also, email archiving is a natural complement to backup and recovery solutions, and many businesses are looking for both to ensure continuity of their data and meet compliance requirements, including HIPAA (USA), Data Protection Act 1998 (U.K.) and GDPdU (Germany).

Taken together, the ability to easily search-and-index content within mails is crucial for these companies, which often don’t have the in-house resources to build their own system or devote labor to archiving and retrieval tasks.

Carbonite will integrate MailStore's product lineup into its portfolio of continuity solutions for SMBs. "MailStore is a great fit for Carbonite, as both companies are committed to providing SMBs with powerful yet simple data protection solutions," said Mohamad Ali, CEO at Carbonite.

MailStore’s flagship solution is MailStore Server, which it says is used by more than 22,000 businesses, including public and educational institutions. It creates 1:1 copies of messages from most major email systems, including cloud email such as Office 365 and Gmail, as well as Exchange, PST files and all IMAP and POP3-compatible email servers. In 2014, MailStore released a Service Provider Edition that enables channel partners to run the software on their own infrastructure and adapt it to their clients' business requirements.

"Companies buy email archiving solutions to make a permanent record of every incoming and outgoing email for regulatory and compliance reasons, to protect against accidental or malicious deletion, and to make the valuable data that flows through email available to users for future access," added Ali. "MailStore's fast search technology and easy-to-use interface allows users to search and find important information without the need for IT assistance. We look forward to bringing this technology to more businesses so they are able to derive value from archived information."

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

EdgeWave Gains $2 Million from Additional Series A Funding

EdgeWave, a San Diego-based cyber security firm, recently announced that it has closed $2 million in additional Series A equity funding. This round of financing, which was supplied by three investors, brings the company's total 2014 equity funding to $8 million.

TVC Capital, a growth equity firm in San Diego focused on investing in software companies as well as software-enabled service firms, supplied the largest portion of funding at $1.2 million. As TVC Capital is already an investor in EdgeWave, this brings its total preferred equity investment in the company to $7.2 million. TVC Capital purchased 3 million common shares through a tender offer in addition to the Series A Preferred Shares, demonstrating the company's unwavering confidence in EdgeWave's cybersecurity solutions.

"We continue to be excited about EdgeWave's cloud-based solutions and cybersecurity approach, and are eager to support the company's operational expansion," said Jeb Spencer, Managing Partner of TVC Capital. "Demand in the IT security space is intensifying, and EdgeWave now has the right level of expertise and operational scale to meet that need going forward."

Northgate Capital, a California-based private equity and venture capital investment firm focusing exclusively on alternative assets, contributed $500,000 to this round of funding, with the remaining $300,000 provided by Mr. Bill Baumel and his partners at RWI Ventures, one of EdgeWave's oldest investors showing support for nearly five years. RWI Ventures is a venture capital firm specializing in investments in the networking, semiconductor, software and life sciences sectors.

"The reasons for providing this additional investment are many," said Mr. Baumel. "The company is differentiated by its top former military cybersecurity expertise and security products that independent third-party testing has shown to be superior to the competition."

According to EdgeWave, this additional financing will be put towards expanding operations to meet the rapidly growing demand for the company's enterprise security solutions. EdgeWave's Enhanced Precision and Integrated Cyber Capabilities (EPIC) employs a mixture of artificial and human intelligence as well as Military-Grade cyber operations to ensure compliance with security policies and repel the world's most advanced cyberthreats.

The company's security solutions are renowned by thousands of customers and their millions of end users. A management team of experienced business leaders and cyberwarfare veterans, along with a set of dedicated professionals providing constant monitoring, threat detection and analysis from multiple operation centers, ensures EdgeWave's clients are always a step ahead of security issues and attacks.  

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Benefits Continue to Drive Demand for Hosted Softswitch and Mobile VoIP

December 22, 2014


By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

If streamlined communications is still eluding your team, it may be time to take a step back and evaluate your current deployment strategy. For a number of organizations, the focus has been on the hosted softswitch and the efficiencies realized for the bottom line. When mobility is part of the mix, mobile VoIP has to be included. If you’re not leveraging both, you could be missing out on benefits your competitors already leverage.

Recent research promoted through ReportLinker suggests that the rising demand for affordable communication services throughout the global market, as well as improving wireless and wired network infrastructures are driving the growth of the VoIP services market. Companies are increasingly seeking to leverage voice over broadband, Internet telephony, IP telephony and more whether they are in the office or not.

To support this initiative in-house, companies have to make significant investments in switches, gateways, routers and other elements to carry data and voice over the IP network. This demand is certainly driving the market expectations in the space higher, yet the implementation of the hosted softswitch can still deliver on these expectations without the burden of internal deployment.

Pricing arguments certainly help drive favor for company-wide deployment of VoIP through a hosted partner and the extended support of mobile VoIP. The implementation of both support rich media, number portability, service mobility, integrated applications, user control interface and other rich features. As employees are becoming more mobile and companies are eliminating traditional barriers, the flexibility afforded with mobile VoIP and the hosted softswtich is driving significant demand.

The aforementioned research, VoIP Services (End-use – Corporate Consumers and Individual Consumers) Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 – 2020 suggests there will be continued growth in the coming years as companies continue to experience improved network infrastructure and cost effectiveness as a result of VoIP deployments. Likewise, the demand for smart devices and supported mobility will be key to the extension of mobile VoIP solutions.

As this demand continues to grow, so too will the number of solutions available from key players throughout the market. Businesses and consumers alike will benefit as competitive pressures will extend development efforts and drive down pricing. As the hosted softswitch continues to gain attention, those competing for market dominance will continue to build out features and support, especially when compared with the benefits touted with the in-house deployment.

Those companies seeking to capture the largest share of the market will have to deliver on quality, service and accessibility through seamless integration. Cost will be a factor, but the more important priority will be supporting the needs of the business now and into the future. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

IoT Connectivity Solutions Week in Review: IIC, Thread and Berg Insight

IoT Connectivity Solutions Week in Review: IIC, Thread and Berg Insight

December 20, 2014

This week in the IoT connectivity Solutions Community the IoT felt the warm embrace of adoption as well as the chilling threat of unprotected data. It was another exciting week, and now it’s that time again—time for the week in review.

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) gained a new member this week in wot.io. Founded in early 2014, the IIC is a global not-for-profit with the intention of accelerating growth in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Tom Gilley, chief technology officer and cofounder of wot.io proclaimed, “At wot.io, our goal is to enable data and services to easily speak to each other, and we're excited to join other IIC members focused on making this goal a reality."

The community also addressed the issue of big data analytics and cyberdefense. The IoT is poised to overwhelm enterprises with an onslaught of big data. A survey by the Ponemon Institute lent some insight into the status of cyberdefense in the enterprise. Organizations see and revel in the value of this influx of data, but too many are failing to take action to protect this precious commodity.

Next on the slate, the community reported on another IoT group gaining in membership. The Thread Group aims to aid developers in building, testing and certifying their IoT offerings. The group gained its 50th member this week and is riding a wave of momentum into the New Year. Chris Boross, Thread Group president and technical product marketing manager at Nest added, “the strong interest in Thread underscores the industry's excitement for Thread's benefits and the future of the connected home." 2015 is teed up to be big year in IoT.

Berg Insights released an enlightening report this week that outlines steady growth for location platform revenue. Berg predicts a compound annual growth rate of 11 percent through 2020, helping revenues reach nearly $580 million in revenue by that time. Read more analysis on the report here.

Check back regularly for your IoT news fill, the IoT Connectivity Solutions Community will keep you up to date for all “things” IoT. See you next week!

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Conferencing Week in Review: BCS Global Networks, LoopUp, Orange Business Services All Connect

December 20, 2014


By Rory J. Thompson
Web Editor

It was an interesting week in the conferencing field, with companies making new announcements about joint efforts and new ways to make conferencing easier. Here are some highlights.

Improvements in mobile technology and wireless broadband now make it possible for individuals to hold video conferences on their smartphones, tablets and other computing devices from virtually anywhere, Tech Writer Mike Guta reported. This has introduced new levels of efficiency and productivity that’s giving organizations and employees more flexibility on where and when they can work. With so many opportunities in the marketplace, global service providers are merging to maximize their resources and improve the solutions they provide to their customers. The latest merger to take place is between BCS Global Networks and Video Guidance, two established players in the videoconferencing market. According to the merger announcement, they will be offering cloud-based conferencing technology. This gives participants a telepresence solution delivering real-time rich interactive audio, video and web collaboration with access to their mobile devices, desktops, home offices, boardrooms or telepresence suites.

In other news, LoopUp, an award-winning service that provides simple, secure and pain-free business conference calls and online meetings, garnered yet another award when it recently won the European Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) Award for Entrepreneurial Company of the Year. Frost & Sullivan said in a release that it “finds that LoopUp provides an uncomplicated, hassle-free conferencing experience for its end users, without compromising on the conferencing must-haves of robust reliability and security. This simple, intuitive experience has helped it achieve 45 percent growth in its European business in 2013, and the company is all set to expand further.”

Elsewhere, it was reported that Orange Business Services (News - Alert) is providing solutions for Hilti Group’s globally distributed teams. Orange is providing a managed, unified video conferencing solution available at all of Hilti’s locations. The offering makes use of Hilti’s existing equipment and connects multi-vendor endpoints as well as integrates more than 45 video conferencing rooms and multiple mobile conferencing devices. Employees may now use their Microsoft (News - Alert) Lync Online clients, part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite, to connect to video conferences.

Be sure to check in with us often for even more conferencing updates.

Next Generation Communications Week in Review: Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia and Orange

This past week in the Next Generation Communications Community certainly had a little bit of everything.  In fact, from rumors to marketing to new technology capabilities in various areas this week really highlighted once again the diverse nature of community activities. 

I wish to start with an item I wrote about the rumors that surfaced at the end of the week regarding possible M&A activity regarding community host Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) (ALU) and one of its arch rivals Nokia. An hopefully an inducement for you to click I will not summarize my views on this except to say that industry restructuring in going to be one sizzling topic in 2015. 

In fact, while on the subject of our hosts, I got to preview the launch of their new marketing campaign about Alex the “New Guy” CIO at a major multinational. It is a series that will last several months as we watch Alex try and handle all of the challenges facing today’s CIOs. I think you will appreciate the ingenuity that has gone into the campaign as a whole since it is very relatable. It also does a really nice job of emphasizing to enterprise customers that while ALU may have gotten out of the legacy premises-based communications business, it remains very much engaged with large enterprises with a portfolio of IP, mobility and cloud solutions and that this customer set is of more than passing interest.

News

In other industry news again diversity of the noteworthy was in full force:

  • Included this week that caught our attention was that apps and app stores always seem to be aimed at either the mass market or business processes, one of the leading industrial robot companies, UR Robots has created an app store of its own to help operators enhance the capabilities of their robots. Talk about M2M.
  • The European Space Agency (ESA) recently announced that Orange Business Services (News - Alert) (OBS) would install a private cloud solution named esacloud at its sites. With the new system, scientists and engineers will get all the benefits of the cloud without the security risks that public clouds are subject to.
  • Finally there was a new report from Infonetics (News - Alert) Research that says the important C-RAN equipment market because of the explosiveness of next generation wireless networks is poised to top $10 billion by 2018.

Features

The ALU shift in marketing was not the only featured item this past week as wireless and the importance of a shared next generation communications network for governments and public safety agencies also caught our attention. Items included:

  • Frequent community contributor Mae Kowalke, had an interesting piece on how and why Multiple Systems Operators (MSOs) moving from TDM to all IP-based nets look to IMS to solve challenges.
  • Kowalke also turned her fine eye on why smart governments need shared next generation communications infrastructure that is cloud-based and resilient.

Blog

I was delighted this week that my long-time colleague and highly esteemed industry observer Paula Bernier (News - Alert) joined our bloggers with a piece on Why Carriers Are Embracing NFV, and What They Should Demand of These New, More Agile Environments. As Paula points out, service providers are undergoing a sea change, and are looking to Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) with some sense of urgency but as the title says they need to be demanding of their vendors.

Weekend reading

The holidays are approaching, and if you wish to sound smart if you have friends from the industry over the community has the ammunition you need. It contains links to constantly up-dated news, whitepapers, videos, podcasts and case studies. Plus, to really sound in the know, view some of the content in the “Digital Idea” section.   

The home page also links to several eZines. In line with the subjects in the news and featured this week, two Alcatel-Lucent TechZine articles should be of interest:    

The other eZines, GRIDTalk, TRACKTALK and LIFETALK have detailed articles into key market sectors that are equally as timely and informative.

Happy holidays to everyone!