Podcast: Unified Communication’s Two Faces

Empirix’s Bob Hockman on UC in the Contact Center: [swf file=”http://vid.itbe.com/ctoedge/hockmanmay4x.mp3″]

There really are two types of unified communications or, more specifically, versions of UC at different levels of maturity. The contact center is smack in the middle of both.

I just did a podcast with Bob Hockman, the Director of Product Marketing for Empirix. A particularly interesting element of our conversation identified the flavors of UC for folks within a company and for those on the outside.

Outsiders and insiders access very different – though interconnected – platforms. The basic idea is best described by the image of two overlapping circles. One represents the customer and the other the enterprise. The contact center agent is in the middle, where the circles overlap.

The version of UC that the customer sees, Hockman said, essentially offers a menu of communications channels – voice, chat, IM and others. The outsider chooses how he or she wants to communicate, and the session begins. The only presence-like element is the knowledge the enterprise gathers about which channel the customer (or any outsider) will use.

The circle moving back toward the enterprise, however, has the full array of popular UC functions, including escalation and presence. That’s necessary since the needs of the caller – perhaps to solve a problem or find a certain piece of information – likely will require somebody with specialized knowledge to be found.

Hockman said that this vision has not yet been fully realized, but that the gradual adoption of IP in the contact center puts it within reach.

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