Next week, I’ll be speaking on a panel at the Cavell Group and Comms Business Channel Leaders event discussing how contextual communications is changing the landscape for vertical comms, making both employee and customer interactions more effective and efficient.
I’ve written a fair amount about contextual comms recently because we’re already seeing just how it can transform comms to be more fluid, integrated and immediate, aligning with how employees work and how customers interact with businesses and service providers. This is extremely relevant for vertical solutions where placing voice, video, text, chat and other forms of comms into a specific context (for example embedded into an app, website or device as part of a specific business process), together with transactional data and wider trends allows users to achieve a positive outcome faster and smarter.
Building vertical solutions is faster with contextual comms, too. By using open web standards like WebRTC, app and software developers are building new apps quickly and then seamlessly integrating their solution into existing infrastructure. There’s lots of verticals and niches where this adds real, transformative value: for example telemarketing, sales and support contact centres, mystery shopping and market research, or retail and distribution. By examining communication scenarios in each space, developers can rapidly develop innovative applications that simplify communication, address efficiency gains for workflows and processes, and increase automation, all tailored for that environment.
So, what contextual solutions are quickly going to become commonplace? An obvious example might be in the context of a contact centre, where a service agent might be able to better predict the reason for a customer’s call by knowing which web page they’re on or if they’re making contact from an app, thereby having a better chance to quickly and successfully help that customer.
A more creative use of the technology though is in creating entirely new services that offer a completely new source of revenue. One customer of ours is helping housing associations, and other organisations that provide accommodation to vulnerable people, to improve daily contact for thousands of residents with real time communication software. By analysing patterns of communication they can identify when the cognitive state of an individual is changing, and give a predictive assessment about the needs of every resident calling in to them before that call is even answered. In some cases, they can assess whether the resident is likely to need assistance based on the fact they haven’t called at all - an example of contextual comms becoming life saving, rather than just money saving.
As you can imagine, contextual comms covers a broad spectrum of opportunity for resellers and we’re seeing dramatic growth in this area. What verticals can you see benefiting the most? Have you seen contextual comms in action?
I’ll be exploring this, and how contextual comms helps resellers to build compelling vertical solutions quickly, at the Channel Leaders event, in London on the 25th April.
Rob Pickering is founder and CEO at IP Cortex. Previously, he has held a variety of technical roles and fondly remembers the days when he was a proper engineer and wrote a TCP/IP protocol stack from scratch for a microprocessor vendor.