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The future of voice in the Channel

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Ahead of the ‘Future of Voice in the Channel’ seminar at the Convergence Summit South on the 28th of September at Sandown Park, Lucy Green takes a look at the short and longer term commercial future for voice services.

Register for Convergence Summit South here.

Voice plus plus

Today’s voice technologies offer a wealth of business growth opportunities for the channel.

SIP trunks

A SIP trunk is a connection that uses the Internet to replace a traditional telephone trunk. SIP trunks are an efficient and flexible way of delivering hosted voice today. They also provide the perfect platform to deliver value-added services like Intelligent Numbers, Conferencing and Call Recording.

I agree with Michala Hart’s comment in the June issue of Comms Business – SIP is an opportunity and a threat to the channel. SIP is an enabler of value-added services that embraces both voice and data. Although most end customers are unfamiliar with SIP, many of the business benefits they require like click-to-dial, call handling and fraud mitigation rely on it.

A set of strong SIP-based services is probably the fastest way to a bigger business for resellers. And this is just the beginning; as wearables and connected devices continue to grow, SIP is evolving to keep pace. Enter CoSIP. CoSIP is a version of the SIP protocol designed to minimise bandwidth and energy consumption. It will power the Internet of and provide even more revenue generating opportunities for value-added resellers.

Better business

Every business, irrespective of its size now works in a more globalised, connected economy. Converging voice and data technologies are playing a more visible and critical role in improving an organisation’s performance. End-user buyers are looking to technology to help secure closer relationships with customers, a more effective workforce and optimised working practices. Some key voice technologies deliver these benefits readily and should be part of every growing reseller’s portfolio.

Closer relationships with customers

Intelligent numbers can enable significantly better engagement with customers, securing closer relationships and developing trust. An Intelligent Number enables you to have one number that is unique to you rather than a device, making you easier to contact. You can even ensure that customers are never put through to the IVRs they dislike so much.

An Intelligent Number can be used on any mobile or fixed line telephone. It’s available wherever you are, and personal and business calls can be separated on the same telephone. As cloud telephony and multi-network SIMs become more prevalent, Intelligent Numbers will be an important source of revenue and differentiation for resellers.

A more effective workforce

As workforces become more mobile, the channel has a golden opportunity to offer collaboration bundles that include voice, video and web. These service combinations can help businesses to make faster decisions and create opportunities for growth by promoting teamwork between employees, partners and customers.

Optimise working practices

Organisations that utilise ICT to optimise their working practices are growing 25% faster than those that don’t. Resellers have a vital role to play in helping their customers to streamline processes, improve communication, expedite decision-making and uncover better ways of doing business.

Voice tech powers the future

Today, about one third of smart phone users are using digital assistants like Siri, Cortana and Alexa. In the future people talk more to their computers. Some experts predict that by 2020, 50% of all web searches will be made through voice and image search.

Here’s a scenario that isn’t as hypothetical as you might think because gadgets that do these tasks are already available. Echo and Ivee are good examples.

It’s a normal working day when your alarm goes off. Instead of scrabbling to hit the snooze button, you simply say “shut up” and it does. Want some music? Just ask your Echo.

To catch up on the news and weather, you simply ask your device. At the same time, you can order your coffee machine to make you a brew. As you leave for the office, you turn off the lights, heating, the TV etc. with a voice command. Then on the way to work, you ask your SatNav the best route to take today and dictate emails or texts so you are ahead of your day when you arrive.

Then there is IFTTT or “If This Then That” which lets you programme your apps and devices to do anything you want. Check it out at www.ifttt.com.

At the heart of all of this digital transformation is voice technology. Voice is truly the power of our future and an exciting business development opportunity for the channel.

Just for fun

If you haven’t used the digital assistant on your phone yet, try some of these questions out.

If you’re an iphone user, try asking Siri “Do you like Pokemon Go” and see what happens. Or turn the volume up and just say “Beatbox”.
Windows phone users have Cortana. Try saying “Sing me a song” or “do an impression” or even “tell me a joke”.

With the tech improving at pace, it’s somehow reassuring that our new digital companions have a sense of humour – however cheesy.

To register for the Convergence Summit South click here