Looking Ahead

Kevin Beale

AmtelcoAmtelco is celebrating its fortieth year of call center innovations this year. As we look at the last four decades, we see how the focus of technology has shifted from hardware in the early days to advanced software today. Software technology is much more dynamic and flexible than hardware technology. The pace of change and advancements with software technology is increasing at an exponential rate.

As we look at call center technology, we have shifted from racks full of individual computers and servers, each with their own specialized purpose, to a much smaller virtual server environment that has hundreds of times more horsepower and capability than its predecessors. We can now spin up new virtual servers as we need them, with dozens of servers running on a single physical machine. This applies to application servers, web servers, communications servers, and switching servers. Virtual servers can provide an added layer of redundancy and high availability by allowing servers to be easily replicated and moved to another physical machine, either manually while performing a system upgrade or automatically in response to an outage.

The introduction of soft switching provides the ability to migrate call center switching to a virtual environment. Soft switching shifts the control and processing of telephony functions away from hardware to the virtual server CPU, with software controlling the CPU. This provides much more dynamic and flexible switch configuration and management.

Soft switching and virtualization open the door to cloud deployment. Cloud solutions such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure are perfectly suited to provide cloud-based call center infrastructure. The entire Amtelco Intelligent Series and Genesis platform can be operated in the cloud at either of these providers’ facilities, or at another similar provider’s facilities.

Amtelco’s Genesis platform provides a soft switch controlled by an ACD and voice-processing module within Amtelco’s Intelligent Series platform. Controlling the soft switch functions from within the Intelligent Series provides a single point of administration, simplifying the process of adding and changing trunks, agents, and call behaviors. Genesis combines the flexibility of soft switching with the ease of administration and the power of the Intelligent Series.

System Integrations and Automation: Another major area of call center advancement is system integration and automation. In today’s world of technology, there is a much greater demand for these types of services. Call center clients expect their call centers to automatically integrate to their IT platforms, databases, websites, web services, and mobile devices.

Amtelco’s MergeComm module of the Intelligent Series is built to provide these services. MergeComm is like adding a dispatcher that lives inside your system twenty-four hours-a-day, seven days-a-week, 365 days-a-year. MergeComm dispatch scenarios can run automatically based on inbound triggers such as email and SMS text messages; scheduled to run automatically, initiated by a call center agent or a web user; or initiated by a third-party application via the Intelligent Series REST web API. MergeComm can deliver content to call center clients via any of the available Intelligent Series contact methods.

With today’s mobile work force, servicing clients’ needs means supporting them in their workflows in ways that were not feasible until recently. In the past, messages were delivered to clients as a one-way transmission with minimal ability to provide feedback. This often consisted of several discrete steps in order to close out the message. But now, thanks to the pervasiveness of wireless and smartphone technology combined with the power and automation of Amtelco’s Intelligent Series, MergeComm, miSecureMessages, and miTeamWeb, these steps are seamlessly combined and serve to enhance the workflow rather than impede it.

How to Move Ahead with Technology: As you analyze your client relationships, strive to identify the critical components of their workflows that can be improved by your services. Look for ways new technology and software can be applied, perhaps in uses not previously anticipated. This is the key to innovation and seizing an opportunity.

At Amtelco we are excited about what the next forty years will bring and look forward to working with each of you.

Kevin Beale is vice president for software, research and development, at Amtelco, a developer and supplier of call center and communications solutions located in McFarland, Wisconsin. Contact him at kbeale@amtelco.com.

[From Connection MagazineJuly/August 2016]

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