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Greg Galitzine

August 2008

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Action-Packed Week (Part 2)

August 22, 2008

Picking up where we left off yesterday...   On Tuesday, I had the chance to attend SpeechTek, and visit with some of the leading companies in the space.   Nortel Among those companies was Nortel, who previewed their forthcoming Interactive Communications Portal, which will be available later this year (expect more news in the November time frame).   The product will leverage Nortel's service oriented architecture (SOA) strategy, as well as the company's service creation environment in an effort to help "take VoiceXML to the next level."   A software-only self service solution running native SIP, ICP is designed to simplify the process of getting up and running and it will appear to the network like just another SIP device. The solution will offer support for both multimodal multimedia (with support for video) and will also support conferencing.   According to Nortel, six areas were important to them and to their customers when the product was designed and conceptualized:  
  • Simplicity: must be easy to use, deploy, manage;
  • Scalability: must be able to scale to 1000's of concurrent users;
  • Security: must be secure for end users, business owners and management team;
  • Resiliency: must be reliable; Nortel relies on their experience from the carrier space;
  • Open: Open standards are critical; and
  • Ecosystem: wanted to be sure to offer strong environment via partners etc...
According to Nortel officials, their drive is to make it easier for people to create and use applications as well as support something they call Customer Experience 2.0, whereby customers can expand on traditional methods of customer interaction to ensure that their customers in turn have an easier time getting to the information they need.   The solution also offers a "Melding of Web 2.0 with customer contact technology."   IBM Following Nortel, we met with executives from IBM and IBM Research to discuss what they were up to in the speech space. We were treated to a bit of a history lesson going back a decade or so to when IBM was focused on dictation (ViaVoice) and serving the consumer space. Well they changed their tack and switched gears to focus on server and embedded-base opportunities with their WebSphere voice server and embedded Via Voice strategies.   IBM sees ample opportunities beyond the telecommunications market as evidenced by their success in the automotive market.

Action-Packed Week (Part 1)

August 22, 2008

Long day today.   Fitting end (almost) to a busy week, replete with travel.   Monday was Boston and the Channel Partners Conference.   Tuesday was Manhattan and SpeechTek.   Wednesday was an opportunity to catch up back in the office in Norwalk, CT.   And today was a travel/meeting/dinner day in Huntsville, Alabama.   ...via Nashville.   Let's see if my memory is up to the task this evening...   On Monday we met with Michael Storella, Director of U.S. Business Development for IP phone maker snom. Among the things we discussed were the company's new initiatives, including an OCS related solution, which according to Storella should help snom open up some opportunities in the large enterprise market. As he said, the initiative "...opens up conversations with Fortune 500-types, where we generally hadn't had these contacts before.

Outrageous Interactions Contest Nearing Close

August 20, 2008

Saw this news item about Interactive Intelligence's "Outrageous Interactions" contest and how it's nearing the deadline for submissions.   It's a very entertaining concept that offers a fun look inside the contact center industry by allowing agents to share their most memorable customer interactions.   "Everyone hears about the consumer side of an interaction gone bad," says Joe Staples, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Interactive Intelligence and the creative brain behind the contest. "We thought it would be appropriate to turn the tables and take a look at what experiences the contact center agents have had. And after seeing some of the entries, the word outrageous is a good descriptor."   The contest has been promoted for some time now. In fact, in his Ask the Expert column in Customer Interaction Solutions' July issue, Tim Passios, Interactive Intelligence's Director of Solutions Marketing, offered this example of a unique and memorable agent experience:   I'm a manager for a help desk.

NEC Visit -- Dallas, TX

August 1, 2008

While I was down in the Dallas metropolitan area this week, I had the opportunity to meet with a number of companies including Irving-based NEC.   My colleagues and I were treated to a wonderful tour of the NEC Executive Briefing Center, which features many of NEC's offerings that are available to enterprises today.

  There were several new and unexpected items on the tour; these products will be announced in the coming weeks. But of course the tour showcased much of NEC's product line including their latest endpoints, a small form factor, thin-client PC, their new storage solution, and the various productivity enhancing applications that the company is well known for.

  The tour also brought us 'round to two demonstration areas focusing on NEC solutions as applied to a pair of specific vertical markets: Hospitality and Healthcare. As expected these demo rooms were outfitted with the latest devices and applications designed to improve the experience for patients and medical staff in the case of the healthcare demo, and hotel guests and the staff that services them in the hospitality demo.   Regarding what's coming down the pike, all I can say right now is that NEC is partnering with a well known networking company to provide a product that will help enable remote workers to be more productive.   Their channel will have the product in hand by mid-August and will start reselling the solution, so we have to wait a bit longer for official word of the new solution.   NEC also showed us a prototype of the next version of an enterprise communications server that's still in customer trials and should be announced by the mid-to-end of August. The solution is designed as a pure IP play, supporting all existing applications such as voice, mobility, and unified communications.   The product will offer a smooth migration path for existing customers who wish to move to an all-IP infrastructure.   Lastly, NEC officials told us to watch out for several new solutions spanning the following areas: speech, video voice mail, and some new things from the Sphere acquisition of one year ago.   The NEC folks told me that, in terms of trends, they're seeing healthy activity in the hospitality and healthcare markets.

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