Get in Bed with Embedded Communications

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Sacha Gera, Senior Vice President, Cloud Products at Kandy.io, Genband’s platform-as-a- service offering, believes we should fall in love with apps again.

What would your work life be like if you could reach exactly the right person at exactly the right time, and have your questions answered in seconds, not minutes, hours or days? Work would get done faster, stress levels would decrease, and work would flow more naturally.

For most of history, communications have been asynchronous, and even synchronized communications has often required people to switch from one application to another.

Here’s an example of what happens when a business application is enhanced with embedded real time communications (which simply means accessing other humans immediately using text, voice and video interactions made possible with one click, one swipe, or one touch).

You’re closing a contract with a prospective client, and it’s near the end of the quarter. The pressure is on, to fine tune the language, complete any last minute negotiations, and have the contract signed, sealed, and delivered.

Before the advent of embedded communications, you would be at your desk, with one or two monitors open, a desktop phone, mobile device, stack of “print outs” several inches high, and a large cup of coffee.

Alternatively, with communications built into your workflow; when you’re reviewing the latest mark-up from legal and have a question – just tap on the attorney’s profile picture and initiate an immediate 30 second voice chat. “What do you mean by expensive license,” you say (instead of typing and waiting for a reply) and the attorney says, “oh sorry, I meant exclusive.” You laugh, fix the word and move on.

Then you get to the pricing table and it appears somebody in finance changed some percentages. Just tap on the contract manager’s profile picture to get in touch, and they can easily open up a window with the image of the approval email from the prospect. Hopefully soon all three of you will be at the bar celebrating getting the deal closed instead of working through thousands of disjointed emails.

Embedded communications works beautifully for consumers too. Let’s say your company puts up a new e-commerce site, with hundreds of exciting 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 consumer to the close.

Since when did we prefer typing to talking? We’re starting to see evidence that the millennial generation actually does like to talk – check out the surge of voice messaging apps! Talking is easier, more interesting, and now with better voice recognition software, can even happen with a friendly bot.

One touch to talk – vs. hundreds of letters to type? No contest.

But voice is just one channel – video continues to grow as more devices and networks support high definition and more applications are being adopted, making video selling and support second nature.

So how hard is it to improve applications with embedded communications? That depends on how sophisticated you want to be, how much you wish to integrate, and how important being able to actual hear people speak and see people engage is to your business.

From simple one line of code APIs to stick click to call on a webpage, to completely enriching a CRM platform serving tens of thousands of team members, the options range as they always have from basic and cheap, to premium and worth it.

For those readers who wonder – Isn’t this just “click to call?” – it’s not. Click to call has been around for about a decade; embedded communications are much more flexible, sophisticated and intelligent.

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 – 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. No need to download special software, as long as you are one of the many most popular browsers globally.

In the next article of this two-part series we will take a practical look at embedded solutions and the questions companies should ask before deployment.