A Look Back on Contact Center Technology
By Mike Perry, VP Telecommunications & Network Services
I'm taking a walk down memory lane and reflecting on what has changed since the early 2000's began. Technology has boomed with iPods, social media, Bluetooth, cell phones, and much more. All of these technology trends have paved the way for the changes made over the years in the contact center industry.
Looking back on the past decades, the main change in the contact center under my domain is the proliferation of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP); changing telecommunications worldwide and enabling contact centers with flexibility and speed previously unheard of.
In traditional telecom technology, contact centers were limited to a fixed number of inbound or outbound calls on a fixed wire-line circuit. Increasing capacity meant 30-60 days, a 12-36 month contract for that additional capacity, and a high cost of installing those circuits.
With VoIP, contact centers can utilize the existing broadband internet connection already in place for web usage, FTP, file sharing etc. Since VoIP takes human voice, digitizes it and sends it across the wire as data packets, then reassembles them into human speech on the other end, we have seen an increased use in this technology.
Now contact centers can flex their agent count in minutes instead of months and increase the number of concurrent inbound or outbound calling without doing anything, as long as they have enough bandwidth on their internet connection to accommodate the growth.
VoIP has allowed contact centers to scale rapidly to meet sudden demand, to have unprecedented flexibility by not being tied to a physical voice circuit for telephone calls, and it made yet another change in the contact center much simpler: at home agents.
Contact centers using VoIP as their telephony medium can leverage remote agents to obtain a larger workforce. Maybe the best talent is not willing to commute, or the company wants to offer flexibility for parents who work from home. Contact centers can equip their home agents / remote workforce with only a computer and an internet connection and be ready to go. The same internet connection can be used to access the Five9 contact center software in the cloud as well as provide all inbound and outbound calling. This simplifies the agent set up and integrates the agent experience, not having to use a manual desk phone and facilitate a land-line connection from their local telephone company or cable provider.
The new year has arrived and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for the contact center.