First Coffee

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

First Coffee

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is John Mellencamp’s 1994 Dance Naked. If read off-site hit for all links:

First CoffeeSM had an interesting conversation Friday evening (Antalya time) with Adeeb Shanaa and Amit Desai, CEO and Vice President Products respectively for Voxify. The company is launching ten automated speech-recognition agents this morning, using a new patented technology that  renders obsolete the old practice of hard-coding responses to questions.

Voxify Automated Agents, according to technical descriptions, differ from other speech automation systems in that they are “imbued with the intelligence needed to follow a customer’s conversation, gather data, and complete a transaction – even when only incomplete information is available,” as opposed to other approaches that hard-code expected responses and stall when they encounter a response not in their database.

It always impresses First CoffeeSM when someone puts their money where their mouth is, and “we tell them to hold us responsible for concrete numbers and deliverables, we’re paid by a percentage of calls successfully handled,” Shanaa says. In other words, if you don’t have any success with Voxify’s agents they don’t get paid. First CoffeeSM wishes other businesses – the Washington Redskins, say – worked the same way.

Desai says in the reservations area, for example, “our metric of success is completion rates of reservations. For Continental Airlines we handle 100,000 calls and get an 88% completion rate. For Windham Hotels we achieved over 90%.”

Industry averages are 15 to 20 percent lower – “Industry averages are 38 percent automation completion rates, 40 to 60 is pretty good,” Shanaa says.

The heart of the technology is Voxify’s patented Conversation Engine, which “imbues the Automated Agents with advanced conversational skills, enabling them to engage callers in sophisticated dialogue, and understanding multiple pieces of information in a single response or adjusting to unexpected information provided by the caller,” according to product descriptions.

“The results are tangible, measurable, we know what happened on every single call. Since we’re a partner we’re equally incentivized to hit those numbers. Agents are fully-managed service, we’re paid by our completion rate,” Shanaa explains.

Voxify’s new Automated Agents include a shopping agent, order-taking agent, order status agent, catalog request agent, inventory check agent, lead capture agent, store locator agent, loyalty program/account agent, welcome agent and gift card agent.

Is Vonage offering mobile soon? Reports suggest mobile VoIP is moving closer, as “Vonage is testing wireless routers, a sign the company is on the verge of debuting a mobile offering,” according to Edittech International.

Reports say ongoing customer trials involve “a new Linksys Wi-Fi router that Vonage could market along with its calling plans, according to an e-mail sent to customers and seen by CNET” Vonage has in the past acknowledged that its customers are also testing a handset equipped with a Wi-Fi antenna and radio, Edittech says:

“With the special router and handset, individual customers would be free to roam about their home or office, untethered from a modem or phone jack and without a connection to a laptop or desktop computer. Vonage could also market the routers to hot spot providers such as Boingo Wireless for installation in airports, coffeehouses and other such locations where wireless hubs have slowly begun to appear.”

With “comprehensive enhancements” to its Internet Protocol telephony software announced today, including new automatic call distribution, support for silent monitor/whisper/barge-in, account code dialing and verification and support for two cordless IP phones for retail and small office applications, 3Com now offers a total of eight IP phones to complement the 3Com NBX system.

Pass-thru ports on 3Com IP phones also allow users to conserve LAN switching ports. For example, users can connect a personal computer to the 3Com IP phone, which is connected to the Ethernet port in the wall. Details at Bios.

Dutch global communications provider Equant has requested the suspension of the trading of its shares on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Euronext Paris at the close of business today, since it’s selling all of its assets and liabilities to France Telecom S.A. in a deal announced February 10.

Equant works with thousands of companies, has an extensive portfolio of communications services and network solutions as well as the IP Virtual Private Networks used by nearly 1,300 global businesses.

Surfing around First CoffeeSM ran across a piece titled “Sony’s PSP = Portable VoIP and IP Videoconferencing?” picked up on Addict3d:

“Looks like Sony has their crosshairs clearly focused on providing a feature-full portable communications and entertainment system,” Erik Lagerway writes on his blog “Since we can browse the web on this thing, and it has a USB port, Wi-Fi and a TCP stack you would think we should be able hack together a softphone for VoIP. Video will come later, camera attachment.”

The Addict3d piece has a cool picture of how it might work.

Fast Search & Transfer, a developer of enterprise search and real-time alerting technologies, today announced an OEM partnership with EMC Corporation, a provider of enterprise content management products.

Under the terms of the agreement, FAST InStream will be integrated into the recently released Documentum 5.3 platform, an ECM offering based on a completely unified architecture.

Supporting both structured and unstructured data, FAST InStream can be used with different types of software applications, including enterprise portals and intranet sites, ECM systems, Customer Relationship Management products, Enterprise Resource Planning, Business Intelligence suites and applications, as well as storage and archiving.

That’s right, EMC Corp. offers ECM. It confuses First CoffeeSM too.

Acom Solutions, Inc., a cyber store dealing in inkjet and laser printer supplies, printing paper and blank security check stock has created a program to recycle used cartridges and reduce their presence in landfills. Free packaging, labels and shipping are available at the website.

Long Beach, California-based Acom said the program recycling used laser printer and inkjet cartridges is open to customers and non-customers. According to Gregory T. Church, vice president of marketing and communications, they’ll accept all printing supply cartridges.

“We re-use them wherever possible, but never more than once,” Church said.

Acom will send whatever shipping supplies you need to send in your used cartridges – boxes, bags and labels that can be downloaded for printing – at “no cost whatsoever.” Postage is prepaid and there is no charge for shipping, Church said.

Readers keep asking First CoffeeSM when a Giant Madagascan Hissing Cockroach will be used to control a robot’s movements. Finally Garnet Hertz has found a way to do this, with his “Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine.”

According to the description, “The system uses a living Madagascan hissing cockroach atop a modified trackball [i.e. a ping-pong ball] to control the three-wheeled robot. Infrared sensors also provide navigation feedback to create a semi-intelligent system, with the cockroach as the CPU.” The pictures at must be seen.

First CoffeeSM can assure readers that the United States military is not funding the project.

First CoffeeSM accepts no sponsored content placement, and uncompensated recommends ‘72 VW Beetle ragtops, dark roast coffee, monogamy, T.S. Eliot  and Moose Drool Beer.

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