The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Miles Davis and John Coltrane’s 1957 recording “Bye Bye Blackbird:”
Noting that “seventy percent of all customer interactions take place over the phone,” Peter Alexander, vice president for small and medium business marketing, Cisco Systemshas announced that Cisco Systems, Inc. has, with the support of Microsoft, the release of the Cisco Unified CRM Connector 3.0, a customer relationship management (CRM) application integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0.
The product is billed by Cisco officials as helping small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) gain access to customer information on inbound and outbound calls, “increasing operational efficiency and providing an improved customer experience.”
The Cisco Unified CRM Connector 3.0 helps to provide a complete view of the customer, including current and past purchases, sales information, order status, account relationships, and billing information, company officials say.
When a call is received by the Cisco Unified CallManager or Cisco Unified CallManager Express, the Cisco Unified CRM Connector 3.0 links to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system and provides onscreen pop-up windows of the customer contact record and phone call activity so that the service agent can track the call. The same information and capabilities are also accessible remotely. New customer data or phone call information is uploaded back into the system, so the next interaction picks up where the last one left off.
Features in the Cisco Unified CRM Connector 3.0 include an Internet Protocol phone service that pushes complete customer information to Cisco Unified IP phones from inbound calls that match a customer record. The IP phone lookup service allows users to view customer contact information from any Cisco XML extensible markup language display-capable Unified IP phone.
Additional features include fast and easy click-to-dial functionality for accessing CRM contact records, call-duration tracking, and detailed call-information capture. Using the technology, Dominic Roberts, vice president of information systems at GreenStone Farm Credit Services says, “by the time our representatives answer the phone and say, ‘Thank you for calling GreenStone,’ they have a complete history of that customer.”
Centerbase, developer of Centerbase 2006, a CRM program and Centerbase Web Hosting products, have announced the release of Centerbase 2006 version 1.4. It uses Microsoft’s SQL Server 2005 and the new Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0.
The use of SQL Server 2005 as its database engine makes available to clients “a more secure, and reliable storage for relational and structured data,” company officials say, adding that “it provides for faster transaction processing, higher availability for mission critical applications, minimized business disruptions, and increased manageability.”
“We wanted to solidify our software platform,” states Eric Silver, CTO of Centerbase.
Additional improvements include what Centerbase calls “fast, easy installation,” increased customization with the addition of five custom objects allowing the user to personalize features they need for their everyday business, custom fields for all objects which can be renamed directly on each form by an administrator with a right click, enhanced phone number formatting and support for international phone numbers.
Nearly 70 percent of consumers worldwide support using biometrics technologies such as fingerprints or voice recognition administered by a trusted organization (e.g., a bank, healthcare provider or government organization) as a way to verify an individual’s identity, according to “new global research” from Unisys Corporation.
Unisys Corporation is a vendor of biometric technologies.
In what Unisys officials are calling “the first worldwide survey of its kind to study consumer security preferences,” the Unisys research also “found that 66 percent of consumers worldwide also favored biometrics as the ideal method to combat fraud and identity theft as compared to other methods such as smart cards and tokens.”
This finding shows a slight increase from separate research that Unisys conducted in September 2005, company officials say, which found “61 percent of consumers worldwide favored biometrics as the preferred method to fight fraud and identity theft.”
The Unisys research consisted primarily of a Web-based survey of randomly chosen consumers in 14 countries: Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK and United States.
The Ponemon Institute, a firm that specializes in privacy and security research, conducted the survey on behalf of Unisys. They sent invitations to 16,683 adult-aged individuals throughout the world, via e-mail or letter, from which it received 1,661 usable responses, resulting in an overall 9.96 percent response rate.
Of these respondents, 464 are North Americans, 427 are Europeans, 450 reside in Asia-Pacific, and 320 are Latin Americans. The Ponemon Institute also conducted an additional 262 direct interviews (either in-person or via telephone) in four countries to validate the Web-based survey findings.
Additional findings include:
Convenience was the top reason for biometrics support with 82 percent citing the benefit of not having to remember separate passwords or other login data. More than three quarters of consumers cited improving the speed of the identity verification process as their primary reason for using biometrics.
Consumers from North America support biometrics for identity verification more than any other region (71 percent), followed by Europe (69 percent) and Asia Pacific (68 percent). In contrast, Latin Americans were the least supportive (58 percent).
Voice recognition is the most favored authentication method, cited by 32 percent of respondents, followed by fingerprints (27 percent), facial scan (20 percent), hand geometry (12 percent) and iris scans (10 percent), perhaps reflecting more consumer awareness of and experience with voice and fingerprint biometrics.
North Americans are significantly less supportive of facial scans compared to other regions, with only 10 percent citing it as the preferred method, compared to 27 percent consumers in Europe, 23 percent in Asia Pacific and 20 percent in Latin America.
Of those respondents who did not favor biometrics for identity verification, almost three quarters (74 percent) were suspicious of the technology, followed by 62 percent who cited they prefer to give non-biometric identification methods.
Unisys has opened a new biometrics research center in Brussels, which joins its other location in Reston, Virginia. The company hopes to sell biometrics technologies for such products as e-passports and other travel and customs applications, as well as identity verification in healthcare records, financial data, law enforcement and other situations.
French newspaper Le Monde is reporting this morning that France Telecom, the French telecoms operator, has sent out a letter to the 110,000 subscribers to its 100 per cent unlimited service, for which it charges 72 euros a month, telling them that from May 30, fixed-to-mobile calls will be limited to 10 hours a month. Meanwhile, calls between fixed lines will remain unlimited.
According to “Liberation,” the operator made the change after it discovered that some professional call-time re-sellers were pretending to be residential subscribers.
Here’s hoping you had yourself a wonderful Anzac Day yesterday. As you’re no doubt well aware, it marks the day on 1915, during World War I, that the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the Gallipoli peninsula of Turkey to try to take control of the straits. Although the military operation was a failure, it’s regarded as the defining break of Australia and New Zealand from being simply part of Britain to having their own national identity.
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