NFV & SDN Zone Week in Review: Array Networks, IDC, Infonetics, OPNFV Project

There was a flurry of new this week in the network functions virtualization and software-defined networking arena. That included the introduction of yet another industry consortium addressing NFV, the publication of a new report on the platform market, and the acquisition of a consulting and research firm that has been closely tracking the NFV and SDN space.

The new industry group is called the OPNFV Project. This community, made up of infrastructure and software companies, is developing an open source reference platform for NFV in an effort to expedite the implementation of NFV and the introduction of new products and services related to it.

Application delivery controller supplier Array Networks is among the founding members of the OPNFV Project. Array sells a multitenant application delivery controller appliance called the AVX10650.

As for the above-noted study, that comes from International Data Corp.

The firm’s new “Worldwide Quarterly Integrated Infrastructure and Platforms Tracker” reports that global revenue related to integrated infrastructure and platforms increased 28.1 percent this year over 2013, generating $2.3 billion in the third quarter of 2014.

"While core IT hardware markets exhibited modest growth in 2014, the integrated systems market is experiencing significant growth," said Jed Scaramelloa, research director of enterprise servers at IDC. "In the past year IT vendors have invested heavily in product portfolios and go-to-market efforts for integrated systems, resulting in increased adoption among customer IT environments."

Also this week, another well-known research firm was acquired.

Infonetics Research, which has been following the communications space since being established in 1990, is now part of IHS Inc., a large and growing market research outfit out of Colorado that delivers analysis on the aerospace and defense, automotive, chemical, energy, health care, maritime, and technology verticals.

As the press release announcing the acquisition noted, Infonetics is one of the most influential research firms in the telecom and IT industry and is frequently first to market with intelligence on emerging technologies such as NFV and SDN.

J’Amy Stewart, CEO and co-founder of Infonetics, said: “The synergy between IHS and Infonetics is significant. IHS has a global sales force in 32 countries, very complementary technology coverage, and the majority of the Global Fortune 500 and U.S. Fortune 1000 companies as clients.” 

Embedded M2M Solutions Week in Review: Sprint, Telstra, Tesla and More

With every passing day embedded M2M solutions are becoming more intertwined into our lives. Whether it is a connected car, interactive kiosk or a smart home the future is now for M2M. On that note, it is that time again—time for the week in review!

Headlining the news this week is a partnership between Sprint and Customer service Associates (CSA). The CSA is implementing the Sprint (News - Alert) Command Center and the Sprint network for its interactive kiosks. As of now, several thousand are connected with sights set on connecting 8,000 such kiosks by the New Year.

“We provide the power to access real-time metrics to the thousands of folks who use a kiosk each day,” said business sales manager Russell Heder of Sprint. “Most people, when they think of a wireless company like Sprint, first think of smartphones and rate plans. We’re involved in so much more with our many M2M (machine-to-machine) offerings like mobile connections for these stations.”

Also in the news this week, a new report projects that by 2019 there will be 169 million connected wearable devices. The three largest groups highlighted were smart glasses, smartwatches and fitness & activity trackers. Johan Svanberg a senior analyst at Berg Insight commented, “Most of these products are still experimental, but in a few years’ time there will be many examples of new successful devices on the market.”

Elon Musk and his team at Tesla made some noise (actually, none of Tesla’s cars make any noise) in the connected car space with its most recent announcement. It has selected Telstra to provide connectivity for the Tesla model S—an electric sedan that hits 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds and carries a six-digit price tag (News - Alert).

“Our network will enable Tesla Model S owners to access live information via the Model S’s giant 17-inch touch screen that controls everything from the suspension, to the climate control through to the sun roof,” said Telstra Mobile executive director John Chambers.

This week an interesting new study was released on the future of smart home sales. Park Associates (News - Alert) forecasts that by 2017, smart home sales in the United States will reach 36 million units. But, smart homes are not just a growing trend in the U.S.; Chinese developer Xiaomi Technology invested in consumer appliance maker Midea to further its effort in this burgeoning space.

Visit regularly, as the M2M space is always expanding, and the Embedded M2M Solutions Community is here to keep you up to date. See you next week!

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Contact Center Analytics Week in Review: Oracle, CMOs, and the Year to Come

December 20, 2014


By Alisen Downey
Contact Center Analytics Web Editor

The end of the year is a time for reflection from industry thought leaders in the contact center analytics space. It’s been a busy year, with many new solutions, upgrades to existing ones, company acquisitions and more. Looking at the year ahead, there are many aspects of analytics that businesses should consider when mapping out their plans and priorities. Let’s take a look at some of the contact center analytics highlights from the week.

Oracle recently weighed in on predictions for the upcoming year, and big data was at the top of its list. One of its first predictions was that big data wouldn't be talked about quite so much, but instead a new phrase would enter the scene: “data capital.” Oracle argues that because big data is regarded today as a highly valuable and profitable resource when paired with the right analytics solutions, it’s likely to become regarded as a breed of capital all its own—much like financial capital. Oracle predicts that concepts like “data liquidity,” in which data gets to the places it needs to go, will also become a progressively larger part of overall operations in 2015.

Another industry expert, Birst’s director of product strategy Farnaz Erfan, offered some insight this week into the people in charge of turning analytics into actionable strategies. It’s important to realize that in the past few years, data science and analytics have made their way into marketing, creating a whole new breed of marketing and business planning. A recent study carried by OMI found that Fortune 500 companies and global agencies identified analytics as the largest talent gap in digital marketing. As a result of these new trends, Erfan wagers that the modern CMO must now approach the job as one that is part art, part science, and part religion.

The customer experience is at the top of most business leaders’ minds lately, and big data offers a unique window into consumer trends, behaviors, needs and frustrations that can lead to improved service. But accessing all the data requires solutions like contact center analytics. Anusha Anand, senior content strategist at Tahzoo, discussed the ways in which big data can be used to improve customer experience, explaining, “The most important element to keep in mind is that big data can be used to make customer experiences feel smaller and more intimate. The enormity of big data’s reach can be daunting, but it doesn’t need to be.” Using data to build a more personalized customer service will help businesses stand out in the coming year.

Be sure to check back to Contact Center Analytics Review to stay on top of all the latest trends and announcements in the market space, as 2015 is already shaping up to be a busy year. 

Call Center Holiday Stress Lessened with More Hires

Call Center Holiday Stress Lessened with More Hires

December 18, 2014

The holiday season is here, and that means that call centers are busier than ever. Customers are on hold for longer, calls are being dropped and more complaints are submitted. While the holiday season means more sales, it also means more customers need assistance. A study done by CareerBuilder shows that more than 40 percent of retailers have hired extra help for the holiday season. So while all of this seasonal business is increasing sales for retailers, it is also increasing stress in call centers.


There are a few ways that you can make your call center more effective during this busy time, including making adjustments to your staff, adding extra customer service reps, or helping the consumer by creating additional channels of customer support. The following are a few tips suggested by industry website Business 2 Community on how to make this busy time a little less stressful:

Learn from your mistakes: The holiday season is something that happens every year, so it should come as no surprise when things start speeding up. Be proactive, look back at what you did well last year and stick to it -- and correct the areas that weren’t as strong. Addressing problems before they arise is the best way to make sure your team is as prepared as possible.
Adapt to the holiday season: The holidays can be stressful, for you and your customer. Make sure that your personnel are trained and ready to deal with some hectic holiday calls. Customers may take their own holiday stress out on your customer service reps. Reviewing how to deal with difficult customers can prepare your workers and leave the customer feeling like their concerns have been heard.
Make sure all representatives are prepared: Customers often feel very frustrated when contacting a call center and different agents have access to different information. All call center representatives should have access to the relevant information needed to assist customers. If the company is unified, customers will have their problems solved more efficiently and feel more loyalty toward your brand.

Use scalable virtual call centers: Many companies look to the option of additional employees during the holiday season. This can be an easy addition if the seasonal employees are trained properly, and you take advantage of the cost-effective virtual call centers. Employees have the ability to work from home, and as an employer you don’t have to worry about additional equipment costs.
Utilize online FAQS: One of the easiest ways to keep call volume manageable is by making sure your company’s FAQ page is up to date. Many times simple questions can be answered by visiting these pages. Having answers readily available to the consumer will save your call center a phone call.
Is your call center prepared to tackle holiday shoppers? Make sure you have all the above areas covered to give your customers they support they need. 

For IVR Overflow, Add More Agents for Holiday Crunch

December 18, 2014

The holiday season is here, and that means that call centers are busier than ever. Customers are on hold for longer, calls are being dropped and more complaints are submitted. While the holiday season means more sales, it also means more customers need assistance. A study done by CareerBuilder shows that more than 40 percent of retailers have hired extra help for the holiday season. So while all of this seasonal business is increasing sales for retailers, it is also increasing stress in call centers.

There are a few ways that you can make your call center more effective during this busy time, including making adjustments to your staff, adding extra customer service reps, or helping the consumer by creating additional channels of customer support. The following are a few tips suggested by industry website Business 2 Community on how to make this busy time a little less stressful:

Learn from your mistakes: The holiday season is something that happens every year, so it should come as no surprise when things start speeding up. Be proactive, look back at what you did well last year and stick to it -- and correct the areas that weren’t as strong. Addressing problems before they arise is the best way to make sure your team is as prepared as possible.
Adapt to the holiday season: The holidays can be stressful, for you and your customer. Make sure that your personnel are trained and ready to deal with some hectic holiday calls. Customers may take their own holiday stress out on your customer service reps. Reviewing how to deal with difficult customers can prepare your workers and leave the customer feeling like their concerns have been heard.
Make sure all representatives are prepared: Customers often feel very frustrated when contacting a call center and different agents have access to different information. All call center representatives should have access to the relevant information needed to assist customers. If the company is unified, customers will have their problems solved more efficiently and feel more loyalty toward your brand.

Use scalable virtual call centers: Many companies look to the option of additional employees during the holiday season. This can be an easy addition if the seasonal employees are trained properly, and you take advantage of the cost-effective virtual call centers. Employees have the ability to work from home, and as an employer you don’t have to worry about additional equipment costs.
Utilize online FAQS: One of the easiest ways to keep call volume manageable is by making sure your company’s FAQ page is up to date. Many times simple questions can be answered by visiting these pages. Having answers readily available to the consumer will save your call center a phone call.
Is your call center prepared to tackle holiday shoppers? Make sure you have all the above areas covered to give your customers they support they need. 

Staff Up Your Hosted Call Center for Higher Customer Satisfaction

December 18, 2014

The holiday season is here, and that means that call centers are busier than ever. Customers are on hold for longer, calls are being dropped and more complaints are submitted. While the holiday season means more sales, it also means more customers need assistance. A study done by CareerBuilder shows that more than 40 percent of retailers have hired extra help for the holiday season. So while all of this seasonal business is increasing sales for retailers, it is also increasing stress in call centers.

There are a few ways that you can make your call center more effective during this busy time, including making adjustments to your staff, adding extra customer service reps, or helping the consumer by creating additional channels of customer support. The following are a few tips suggested by industry website Business 2 Community on how to make this busy time a little less stressful:

Learn from your mistakes: The holiday season is something that happens every year, so it should come as no surprise when things start speeding up. Be proactive, look back at what you did well last year and stick to it -- and correct the areas that weren’t as strong. Addressing problems before they arise is the best way to make sure your team is as prepared as possible.
Adapt to the holiday season: The holidays can be stressful, for you and your customer. Make sure that your personnel are trained and ready to deal with some hectic holiday calls. Customers may take their own holiday stress out on your customer service reps. Reviewing how to deal with difficult customers can prepare your workers and leave the customer feeling like their concerns have been heard.
Make sure all representatives are prepared: Customers often feel very frustrated when contacting a call center and different agents have access to different information. All call center representatives should have access to the relevant information needed to assist customers. If the company is unified, customers will have their problems solved more efficiently and feel more loyalty toward your brand.

Use scalable virtual call centers: Many companies look to the option of additional employees during the holiday season. This can be an easy addition if the seasonal employees are trained properly, and you take advantage of the cost-effective virtual call centers. Employees have the ability to work from home, and as an employer you don’t have to worry about additional equipment costs.
Utilize online FAQS: One of the easiest ways to keep call volume manageable is by making sure your company’s FAQ page is up to date. Many times simple questions can be answered by visiting these pages. Having answers readily available to the consumer will save your call center a phone call.
Is your call center prepared to tackle holiday shoppers? Make sure you have all the above areas covered to give your customers they support they need. 

Telstra to Connect Tesla Model S

Elon Musk is one of those people that when he hears something cannot be done, he finds a way to make it happen. Nobody thought he could build an electronic car that drove like a sports car, check that off the list. Now we are up to the Tesla S model, and the $100,000, five –seat sedan that hits 100kn/h in 3.4 seconds is about to offer its drivers an even greater experience.

Announced today, Telstra (News - Alert) will be the connectivity provider for the Tesla Model S. The M2M agreement covers the vehicle’s infotainment, remote diagnostics systems as well as other features. By way of Telstra’s network the car will send performance information to Tesla so that issues can be easily diagnosed without having to bring the car into the shop.

“Our network will enable Tesla Model S owners to access live information via the Model S’s giant 17-inch touch screen that controls everything from the suspension, to the climate control through to the sun roof,” said Telstra Mobile executive director John Chambers (News - Alert). 

Chambers continued, “Drivers and passengers will be able to use the Telstra network to stream music, pull up high-detail maps and navigation, and access near real-time traffic updates.”

Both Telstra and Tesla see a bright future for M2M and the IoT, highlighted by the connected car market. Chambers see this deal as one of many to come—Telstra CEO David Thodey has said in the past that one opportunity needing more attention is the addition of SIM cards to cars.

When asked about the opportunity back in August Thodey commented, “Suddenly your addressable market is enormous,” Thodey said at the time. “They don’t have the revenues per month that you would get from a person using a smartphone. It may be two, three, four [or] five dollars a month. But it is still a tremendous opportunity.”

When it comes to Musk, nothing is off the table. It is evident that he is a big supporter of the IoT and what that could mean for business in general. And, fair to say that Musk is one of the most innovative people out there today so only time will tell what the next stop for Musk will be.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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TMC Announces Recipients of the 2015 CUSTOMER Product of the Year Award

TMCnet News

17th Annual award recognizes the most innovative customer experience technology solutions

Norwalk, CT, December 18, 2014 - TMC, a global, integrated media company helping clients build communities in print, in person and online, announced today the winners of the 2015 CUSTOMER  Product of the Year Award, presented by CUSTOMER magazine.

The 2015 CUSTOMER Product of the Year Award recognizes vendors that are advancing the Call Center, CRM and Teleservices industries one solution at a time. The award highlights products which enable their clients to meet and exceed the expectations of their customers.

"On behalf of TMC (News - Alert) and CUSTOMER magazine, I would like to congratulate all of the winners of the 2015 CUSTOMER Product of the Year Award," said Rich Tehrani, CEO TMC. "Without exception all of the winning companies have proven their dedication to quality in solutions that benefit the customers' overall experience as well as ROI for companies that use them."

The results of the 2015 CUSTOMER Product of the Year Award will be published in the January/February issue of CUSTOMER magazine.

2015 CUSTOMER Product of the Year Award Winners

Company

Product

AireSpring

AireContact Could Hosted Contact Center

Alloy Software

Alloy Navigator 7

Aptean

Aptean Respond

Avaya

Avaya Aura Experience Portal

Avtex

Avtex InteractionSync

Calabrio

Calabrio ONE

Cicero Inc.

Cicero Discovery

Clear C2, Inc.

C2CRM

Confirmit

Confirmit Horizons V18

Coveo

Coveo for Sitecore

Cyara

Cyara Five

Epicor Software Corporation

Epicor Eagle N Series Business Management Software

Expert Global Solution

EGS Gamification

FrontRange

HEAT Cloud Service Management

Kryon Systems

Leo

LiveOps

LiveOps CxEngage

LiveVox

LiveVox

MaritzCX

Allegiance CX Platform by MaritzCX

Mattersight

Mattersight® Predictive Behavioral Routing

Monet Software Inc.

Monet WFO Live - Workforce Optimization in the Cloud

NewVoiceMedia

NewVoiceMedia ContactWorld for Service

NICE Systems

NICE Fizzback

Nice Systems Ltd.

NICE Customer Engagement Analytics

Noble Systems Corporation

Noble CallTech Total Contact

Pegasystems

Pega Customer Service

RightAnswers, Inc.

RightAnswers Knowledge Platform

SmartAction

Intelligent Voice Automation (IVA)

SugarCRM

Sugar

TCN

TCN Platform 3.0

TeamSupport LLC

TeamSupport Customer Support Software

Tigerpaw Software

Tigerpaw Software

TouchPoint One

Acuity - Contact Center Performance Management

Transera

Customer Engagement Analyzer 2.0

VanillaSoft

VanillaSoft

Vantage Unified

MAXcustomerconnect

Verint Systems Inc.

Verint Engagement Analytics

Virtual Hold Technology

VHT Conversation Bridge

Voice4Net

Voice4Net RTC Client

Votacall

Votacall Viper 2.0

VXI Global Solutions, LLC

VisionSuite

ZOOM International

ZOOM Quality Management Suite

Zultys Inc

Zultys Cloud Services, the power of Zultys MX enterprise grade IP-PBX in a fully hosted solution

For more than 20 years, TMC has been honoring technology companies with awards in various categories. These awards are regarded as some of the most prestigious and respected honors in the communications and technology sector worldwide.  Winners represent prominent players in the market who consistently demonstrate the advancement of technologies. Each recipient is a verifiable leader in the marketplace.

About CUSTOMER
Since 1982, CUSTOMER magazine (formerly Customer Interaction Solutions) has been the voice of the call/contact center, CRM and teleservices industries. CUSTOMER has helped the industry germinate, grow, mature and prosper, and has served as the leading publication in helping these industries that have had such a positive impact on the world economy to continue to thrive. Through a combination of outstanding and cutting-edge original editorial, industry voices, in-depth lab reviews and the recognition of the innovative leaders in management and technology through our highly valued awards, CUSTOMER strives to continue to be the publication that holds the quality bar high for the industry.  Please visit http://www.customer.tmcnet.com.  

About TMC
TMC is a global, integrated media company that supports clients' goals by building communities in print, online, and face to face. TMC publishes multiple magazines including Cloud Computing, M2M Evolution, Customer, and Internet Telephony. TMCnet is the leading source of news and articles for the communications and technology industries, and is read by as many as 1.5 million unique visitors monthly. TMC produces a variety of trade events, including ITEXPO, the world's leading business technology event, as well as industry events: Asterisk (News - Alert) World; AstriCon; ChannelVision (CVx) Expo; Cloud4SMB Expo; Customer Experience (CX) Hot Trends Symposium; DevCon5 - HTML5 & Mobile App Developer Conference; LatinComm Conference and Expo; M2M Evolution Conference & Expo; Mobile Payment Conference; Software Telco Congress, StartupCamp; Super Wi-Fi & Shared Spectrum Summit; SIP Trunking-Unified Communications (News - Alert) Seminars; Wearable Tech Conference & Expo; WebRTC Conference & Expo III; and more. Visit TMC Events for additional information.

TMC Contact                                                                                                     
Rebecca Conyngham
Marketing Manager
203-852-6800, ext. 287
rconyngham@tmcnet.com

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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