Sacha Gera, Senior Vice President, Cloud Products at Kandy.io, Genband’s Communications Platform-as-a-Service offering, examines examples, use cases and implications of embedded communications.
The first article in this two-part series looked at the evolution of business apps to include embedded real time communications tools. These developments bring with them a host of benefits to productivity, workflows and natural communications. This second part will look at examples of such deployments and the key questions businesses need to ask when considering embedded communications projects.
One example of where embedded communications works beautifully is in the consumer space. Just imagine your company goes live with a new e-commerce site, with hundreds of exciting new, high end products. A £2,000 jewel-encrusted smartwatch has some features that may intrigue a prospective buyer but, that’s a lot of money to spend online, so the consumer simply touches a concierge button and based on the product the conversation is routed to the product expert who can guide the potential buyer through to check-out.
Many say that people prefer their own research to sales people, but since when did we prefer typing to talking? We’re starting to see evidence that the millennial generation actually does like to talk too – just look at the surge in voice apps! Talking is just easier, more interesting, and with better voice recognition software, can now even happen courtesy of a friendly bot.
But voice is just one channel. Video also continues to grow as more and more devices and networks now support high definition, and more and more applications are adopted, making selling and supporting video second nature.
So how hard is it to improve applications with embedded communications? That depends on how sophisticated you want to be, what you want to integrate, and how important being able to actually hear people speak and see people engage is to your business. The options range from the basic and cheap one line of code APIs offering ‘click to call’ on a webpage; to premium CRM platforms serving tens of thousands of users and requests.
Easier and more convenient than simply dialing an existing number by clicking the mouse, embedded communications can trigger anything from text chat to voice chat, from interactive video to shared media, crucially, because it happens in the browser.
WebRTC and other technologies make it possible to embed experiences. For example; touch video chat as an option on a social network profile, and if the receiving party is available, the conversation can start immediately with no need to download special software.
Embedded communications projects are sprouting up all over the place, being led by any number of departments inside organizations. Embedded communications is becoming native inside both mobile and enterprise apps, and is skyrocketing in social media too, as illustrated by Facebook Messenger and the new ability to ‘touch to talk’ with Facebook friends.
Sometimes the calls can happen browser to browser and sometimes browser to phone, which makes it all the more important to consider the interconnections between web and telco if you want to deliver a perfect experience to any end-point.
Many different industries too are innovating in embedded communications with field service, healthcare and e-commerce all taking the lead. That said, government, education, hospitality and transportation, are also taking advantage of simply making it easier for teams to get work done, for business partners to connect, and for consumers to connect with brands.