Video Enabled Contact Center–The other VoIP

“As broadband connections grow and penetrate the market, more IP video services will be consumed. By 2011 more than 60% of contact center traffic is expected to be video traffic resulting in higher customer satisfaction”

As I read the above statement in a product brochure from a well known telecommunications company, I couldn’t help but think, could that possibly be true?  I had my doubts, but maybe I was missing the boat somehow.   Don’t get me wrong, I do think IP based video is cool.  It was cool when we first saw it decades ago on Star Trek, or when a James Bond villain threatened world domination to reigning leaders via video cam.  It’s cool now when I see the President of the United States talking to Jack Bauer on the TV series “24”, or even the TV ad showing Chinese school children in a class room exchanging information with their American peers from across the sea.  

I find it hard to believe that by 2011 video traffic will overtake voice traffic in a contact center.  The recent advances in compressing high-quality video into modest bandwidth definitely make it easier for an end customer to consume more video services, but does that really translate to the contact center scenario?   When I call a contact center I still have to give the last 4 digits of my social security number, and I must also state my mother’s maiden name.  How does it benefit me if I am able to see the contact center agent with whom I am speaking or vice versa? 

Maybe there is something magical about being able to look the customer in the eye, or maybe it is even more practical than that.  It would be kind of neat if I were to phone a call center to troubleshoot for a malfunctioning appliance or a misbehaving garage door, for instance.  I could then move my video device, say, my mobile phone, to the problem so that the technician on the other side can help me effectively troubleshoot while watching what I am doing.  I can look at sales videos while my video call is on-hold by the contact center.

What are other practical examples of video in a call center? 

While it remains to be seen if most call center traffic will be video based by 2011, I look forward to the day when Dr. No, sitting on his throne caressing his hairless cat makes a video call asking for assistance to repair his refrigerator.

Abi Chandra

Abi Chandra

Abi Chandra

My career in telephony has unintentionally mimicked the life cycle of contact center solutions. In the 1990's, I was working on Rockwell's legacy ACD systems after which I then used server board-based systems at Aspect Solutions. Now, for the past five years, I have been working on IP systems for Interactive Intelligence. My primary background is in Cisco Systems data and voice networking and integrations. At Interactive Intelligence I am responsible for designing and architecting large-scale contact center solutions for strategic customers. I also regularly train our channel partners in systems engineering design methodologies. In my spare time, I enjoy making movies and the creative arts. People are surprised to hear that I am an avid Jazzerciser.