Digium, Aumtech and Asterisk, Cbeyond and Taco Mac, EQA Office Cubicles, Verint and Bouygues

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

Digium, Aumtech and Asterisk, Cbeyond and Taco Mac, EQA Office Cubicles, Verint and Bouygues

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the East Village Opera Company's wonderful eponymous album. Such a good idea, you wonder if it was that nobody other than Malcolm McLaren thought of it before, or nobody outside of Malcolm McLaren on Fans could pull off this kind of thing:

Digium, the Asterisk Company, and Aumtech, a vendor of speech and computer telephony integration products, have announced a partner relationship between the companies.
Asterisk users now have a speech alternative, featuring server-based licenses that support 48+ ports of Automated Speech Recognition for less than the cost of one or two competitive ASR licenses.

Aumtech's offering provides 48+ ports of multi-language speech recognition for the Asterisk platform with support for $1,975 per port. Aumtech officials say users can now support an entire ASR server with 8, 24, or 48+ ASR licenses for a first-year cost of just $1,975 and $1,275 annually thereafter.

Aumtech is introducing its Media Resource Control Protocol Connector utility, which lets Asterisk customers access the Microsoft Speech Services 2007 ASR. This includes, company officials say, "unlimited grammars and multiple languages of ASR; the list of 14 available languages and voices is constantly growing, and there are successful installations in North America, South America, Europe and the Far East."
Asterisk users can access the speech product on Asterisk and on a variety of Interactive Voice Response tools, including Aumtech's VoiceXML 2.1 Certified IVR platform, or other standards-based IVR platforms.

The Aumtech MRCP Connector for the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Speech Server lets companies using Linux build speech-driven applications with the Microsoft ASR product. Since the MRCP Connector is based on the WC3 Forum's open standard, applications running on open platforms such as Asterisk can access Microsoft's speech recognition functions through Aumtech's Connector.

Dan Kirk, IT director for Tappan Street Restaurant Group, and his three-person staff spent much of their time traveling from one Taco Mac restaurant to another to resolve outstanding IT issues, make menu changes and pricing updates to point-of-sale systems in the company's 24 restaurants.
At least they saved on lunch expenses. Not sure you'd want to be his wife when he got home, though. But after developing some rather specific tastes in Mexican food they turned to Cbeyond, a vendor of communications and IT products.

"Before Cbeyond, my IT team spent significant time traveling to the restaurants to fix IT issues or make minor updates," Kirk says. "Because our restaurants are so far flung, the travel alone was taking up a significant amount of time."
He says they were looking for a communications system stable enough to support remote access capabilities, and with scalable services that would support growth and geographic expansion.

Now, with Cbeyond's small business communication solutions in place, Kirk and his team can do virtually anything from their work or home offices, and order Chinese for lunch once in a while. The system lets Kirk and his team pull sales and labor data every hour from every location, giving them the visibility they were looking for to get restaurant performance and revenues in real-time.

"Cbeyond is the backbone and infrastructure for everything we do, from hosting our Web site to providing the broadband connection that enables us to deliver our in-restaurant Wi-Fi," Kirk says. "Not to mention, I can easily check and pay my bill with CbeyondOnline."

Known for its Buffalo wings, "unparalleled beer selection" and service, Taco Mac began in Atlanta in 1979 when a couple of guys from Buffalo, New York made a pit stop in Atlanta on their way to Florida. After touring the city and enjoying the weather -- guys from Buffalo enjoying Atlanta weather, imagine -- they decided to stay and bring Buffalo wings to the sunny South.
Thirty years later, Taco Mac now has 24 stores in metro Atlanta and Chattanooga, and continues to grow, with new locations expected to open in Charlotte later this year.

Zeroing in on call center customers who want to do more with less, EQAOfficeCubicles.com has announced a newSegment Call Center Cubicle design to withstand the wear and tear of 24-hour customer service contact centers. Why, it's virtually "indestructible," company officials say.
Constructed only with metal and wood laminate tiles, EQA's Segment cubicle design is billed by the company as the most dirt-resistant "indestructible" cubicle on the market.

Yes, it's dirt resistant, company officials say: "Keeps work environment looking new longer, especially in dusty and dirty work environments."

We suppose this is an important quality in 24-hour customer call centers, although it never really struck us before, but the cubicles are advertised as being "graffiti-resistant. Hard surface materials protect the wear and tear from worker abuse, particularly in 2-3 shift or temporary worker environments."

And of course, along with being dirt-resistant and graffiti-resistant, it's "easier to disinfect since no fabric tiles are used that can retain moisture and germs."
But fear not, it's also "attractive." Company officials say the "designer-looking work environments attract higher quality workers and increase overall morale." To cut down on the graffiti, presumably.

According to an EQA Office Cubicles spokesperson, the segmented call center cubicles come with a five-year warranty, and "are available in a range of colors and textures that add aesthetic appeal to the call center and help attract and hold qualified customer service personnel."

Verint Systems has announced that Bouygues Telecom, a French telecommunications operator, is implementing the Impact 360 Quality Monitoring from Verint Witness Actionable Solutions.
Bouygues Telecom is deploying the software across some 2,000 agent seats in its six customer relations centers located across France.

The company operates its own customer contact centers, "supports the European Foundation for Quality Management, and is committed to ensuring consistent quality across its contact centers, Bouygues Telecom Club Stores and online operations," company officials say. One has to believe they have a strict policy of not hiring former Parisian waiters if they're interested in providing quality customer service.
"At Bouygues Telecom, workforce optimization tools, such as quality monitoring and speech analytics, can play an important role in helping us deliver on our service pledge," comments Thierry Prat, contact center IT manager, Bouygues Telecom, adding that Verint Witness Actionable Solutions "has a distinct approach to how unified, analytics-driven workforce optimization technology can help."

David Parcell, managing director, EMEA, Verint Systems, notes that the company "already works with EMEA communications providers."

Founded in 1994, Bouygues Telecom has more than 9.7 million customers, achieved 2008 sales of over $6 billion, and employs some 8,650 staff -- 2,000 of whom work as customer advisors in the company's six customer relations centers all located in France. This year, for the third year running, Bouygues Telecom was chosen as the top customer relations performer in the BearingPoint/TNS Sofres ranking of mobile phone providers in France.

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