Having been in and covering the call center space since the 1980s, before the term call center was invented, we can tell you there is not much excitement. Every few years something amazing happens but other than that it is humdrum.
As we look back, the biggest moments in the space were the 1990s when CTI became mainstream, allowing call centers to integrate their computers and phone systems to initiate screen pops when a caller called. Speech recognition was another big innovation, a company called TellMe was at the forefront of the market and was purchased by Microsoft in 2007. The technology died after the acquisition.
PaknetX invented an ACD on a CD – back, before we distributed software via the internet and when competing ACD systems didn’t leverage IP communications. This was the future of the call center market.
Voxeo pioneered a cloud-based development for contact centers and UCaaS. This was the future of communications.
Both PakNetX and Voxeo were purchased by Aspect, but nether really went anywhere afterward. Voxeo was Twilio but over a decade earlier. I don’t mean to beat up Aspect. BT purchased Communications API vendor Ribit in 2008 and killed it as well.
A few other notable moments were when CelliT invented the call center running on ATM – loosely, a competitor to Internet Protocol. Also, Interactive Intelligence – they were really first to integrate an entire contact center on a single platform.
But back to the latest excitement.
Genesys put out a press release saying how they are the first contact center vendor to allow for multicloud support. Analyst Sheila McGee-Smith tweeted it.
Edify Co-Founder and CEO Cameron Weeks was quite offended and penned a piece about how customer service sucks because vendors are ruining it by making inflated and inaccurate claims. Obviously, some of the analyst community seems to be amplifying the problem.
It is a good read and as he ties it up he explains that customers want their contact centers to do what their mobile phones do – something Edify has been focusing on since inception.
It is worth noting that those of us on the receiving end of press releases and other news from the thousands of vendors in tech and communications often feel like we are drinking from a firehose. It is tough to recall which company did what, when. And the vendors themselves have so much turnover in their product and marketing teams that I wouldn’t be surprised if this was just a simple clerical error.
Either way, the point here is the early innovator here is Edify and they don’t want to get stomped on by their huge competitor. On the flipside, it is good to see Genesys innovating. Having gone to meet with them since the mid-1990s, when their office was in San Bruno, CA, it is good to see after their acquisition by Alcatel and subsequent spinoff, they are still improving their solutions for customers.
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