Where does the Internet of Things, fog computing, and contact centers come together? Read the latest interview with 3CLogic's CEO, Raj Sharma, as he explains how the evolution in IoT is changing the contact center space, as printed in Fog Computing World by Carl Ford (Making Contact with the Internet of Things Community - 10/8/2014)
When it comes to the IoT Evolution, we are facing major changes in what we share and in what is known about us. The result is that the contact center can have access to resources and information that helps expand quality of service. I had the opportunity to interview Raj Sharma the CEO of 3CLogic who explained to me what we should see as the impact of IoT in terms of service. What I find the most fascinating in the discussion is the focus on Fog Computing and the impact of cloud service models within the Enterprise.
First of all, tell me your perspective on the Internet of Things and how it relates to 3CLogic?
IoT encompasses a range of Internet-capable devices that could be almost limitless: PCs, tablets, smartphones, thermometers, electric meters, brake assemblies, and almost anything else that can be monitored or measured. What they have in common is that they're spread out around the world and they generate tons of data that needs to be processed and analyzed quickly. Picture a multi-tenant system that is servicing thousands of contact center agents spread out around the world handling millions of calls that generate tons of data in the form of recordings and call detail records. Now picture contact center managers using the 3CLogic system to run reports and analytics on all phone calls in real-time. You get the idea.
Secondly, how does the data from IoT relate to work flow in call centers?
Phone calls in call centers are real time events that generate lots of data in the form of recordings and call details. Dashboards in call centers display agent status, agent activity, call details, queue status and the overall health of the call center. Call recordings and status information is transmitted from agent PCs to centralized management and reporting servers. In case of IoT, edge devices send status, event statistics and data to centralized servers that display this information on IoT dashboards. In case of call centers and IoT, historical reports can be generated from data that is stored in inexpensive cloud storage.
Do you see an opportunity to make the data from the devices more directly available? How would that work? Do you have any examples?
With Virtual Telephony Application Grid (V-TAG), phone calls are processed on agent PCs or Tablets. This means that call recordings and all associated tags with every call are generated on the agent’s PC or Tablet. As long as there is enough bandwidth, call status, agent status, events, recordings, triggers and the data associated with every call is instantly transmitted to centralized Dashboard and Reporting servers for further processing and display.
Can you tell me more about how your V-TAG solution relates to enterprise applications?
Virtual Telephony Application Grid (V-TAG) is 3CLogic’s implementation of Edge Computing, also called Fog Computing, for delivery of contact center services over the cloud. Its similarity with cloud computing is that contact center services are delivered like a utility over the internet. Its similarity with Fog Computing is that in V-TAG contact center services are hosted and processed at the network edge or even on end devices such as PCs. Broadly speaking V-TAG implements edge computing for voice, chat, email, and SMS traffic in contact centers as opposed to processing these services in centralized switches and servers.
Finally, how do you think that call centers are being impacted by Fog Computing? Is there a more direct relationship to the field, dispatch and customer care as result of your V-TAG solutions?
Call center technology has been applied to customer care, dispatch and filed application for several decades. Until cloud computing came along all call center deployments were for a single customer. Even if this customer had thousands of seats across multiple sites, it doesn't compare with the scale and demand of today’s multi-tenant contact centers that must support hundreds of customers with some of them having thousands of seats across a wide geography. Of course each one of the tenants on this multi-tenant contact center wants to see its dashboard in real time and wants to look at call center reports and analytics across multiple channels of communications instantly. The number of calls that are generated per second in a multi-tenant cloud call center from thousands of agents would dwarf the call handling capability of some of the largest call center switches in existence today. With Fog Computing, it becomes possible to process phone calls at the edge of the network in PCs or Tablets used by the agents. In fact, Fog Computing is the only economical way to process and handle the load generated by millions of calls originating in a multi-tenant call center environment. This is why 3CLogic implemented Fog Computing in its deployment of V-TAG solutions.
Raj, Thank you for your time, when it comes to IoT I feel like I can barely scratch the surface of all the opportunities. It’s good to know that the solutions are being built for where the market is heading.
Who would have thought that IoT would need Fog Computing to process the large volume of data generated by edge devices? And who would have thought that Fog Computing would be applied to processing phone calls in a call center? It is fascinating to see technology being applied to solve real world problems in environments where it was thought to be least likely to be used.
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