Cisco Webex Contact Center Adds AI and Voice Capabilities

Cisco recently announced how its three most recent acquisitions will add value to its Cisco Contact Center help desk solution that's currently used by more than three million agents in over 30,000 enterprises. The announcement was made at the 10th annual Cisco Contact Center Summit on September 19, 2019, in Hollywood, Florida, which was attended by 1,100 Cisco salespersons, partners, and customers.

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Cisco's Contact Center is an integrated communications application suite that delivers intelligent call routing, network-to-desktop computer telephony integration (CTI), and multi-channel contact management to contact center agents over an Internet Protocol (IP) network. Cisco has been enhancing the capabilities of its contact center offerings by acquiring various products over the past year or so, and integrating those offerings' features and functionalities to its feature stack. Beginning in May 2018, Cisco finished its acquisition of business intelligence (BI) specialist Accompany. Then in August 2019, Cisco announced its intent to acquire customer experience management company CloudCherry. And last month, Cisco completed its acquisition of Voicea, which specializes in voice analytics and intelligent speech transcription.

Baker Johnson, Contact Center Chief of Staff at Cisco, said all three acquisitions will significantly enhance the Cisco's capabilities for its entire portfolio. "Accompany will support personalization for routing and resource matching in the contact center by leveraging its People Profiles capability and bring new information for call center routing decision," he said. "Voicea brings AI-driven natural language speech transcription capabilities to both our meetings and our contact center portfolio. This can be used to identify customer trends and concerns before, during, and after an interaction."

Johnson confirmed that the CloudCherry acquisition is still pending. Once finalized, CloudCherry will be leveraged for "its ability to track customer journey analytics to business outcome analysis using its AI-based decisioning engine."

The new acquisitions will also enable Cisco Contact Center customers to scale more easily, up to 3,000 agents per tenant. A tenant is made up of a group of users who share common access with specific privileges to the software instance. Cisco is also expanding its reach by opening new data centers in Africa, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, the Middle East, and Russia.

By adding new data centers, Cisco's customers can opt for local data residency and compliance while multi-country customers can benefit from a unified cloud contact center operation. Cisco says these new data centers will significantly improve resource optimization, operational efficiencies, and capital investments.

"We're delivering the world's most scalable cloud contact center at Cisco standards, for secure global scale and reach," Johnson said. "It is all built on the Cisco WebEx infrastructure, which is one of the largest networks on the planet."

Making Contact Centers Smarter

According to Johnson, a contact center that features AI and voice assistant functionality can "infuse a greater level of intelligence into both the customer and agent experiences." He said it "offloads simple and repetitive tasks, provides agents with an additional context in real time, and gives them intuitive access to people and information."

He added that contact centers can be greatly enhanced by data insights, intelligent routing, omnichannel agent desktops, and customer journey analytics, which reflect the talent pool and capabilities that Cisco has gained through its various acquisitions.

While Cisco has quickly integrated some of the technologies and solutions it has recently acquired into its key solutions stack, it cautions customers that these remain in varying stages of development and will be offered on a "when-and-if-available" basis.

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This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.