AVST Webinars

AVST Webinar
— Transcription

Emily: Welcome everyone, and thank you for joining us today for our webinar, Take Your CX-E into the Mobile Era. My name is Emily Hatch, and I'm with AVST Marketing, and presenting today we have Neil Butler, who is our director of sales engineering.

Neil: Thank Emily. So today we're going to talk about probably one of the more exciting areas in terms of solutions in software, also one of the most complex. When we talk about mobility, everyone has their own definition of mobility, and mobility unfortunately can be a device or a product, it's sort of a change in the way we think of how we work, because the goal for most of us is when we're mobile, or away from our desk, we're looking for that full set of functionality we have at our desk. We're looking to be as responsive and productive in our tasks as we are when we're at the desk, and that's quite a challenge. We're going to talk about part of that challenge that we think we can help you with.

So if you look at the concept of unified communication, which is saying “Take those applications you already have in your enterprise and tie them together in a way that make them more productive, more usable, to have more value, to deploy the latency in human transactions, to make people more productive.” All those value statements I think most of you know, and this certainly lays right on top of the concept of a mobile strategy; and what we found is most people have taken the point solutions, which most of you already have installed, you have your group, where your phone system and your network in your voice mail system, and it started the process of figuring out how to tie those together for UC, but at the same time how to not have to upgrade all of your infrastructure.

So the first step's been taken, the voice step, we're not sort of in the second step, which is actually, for both desktop users and mobile users, seeing what kind of functionality, what kind of extra functionality we can get with unified communications. And in the last step, the UC Business Process step, we're not going to talk really much about that in this webinar, we have another webinar where we cover that. But the concept there is to take that final step in unified communications by building your own solutions, your own custom solutions for those unique products that you can't really seem to find a product that fits the need.

So today we're going to talk about the concept of UC from a mobile standpoint. The mobility adds an extra layer of challenge between devices and intercon activity, but that's what makes it fun. And the way we've sort of approached this is with a new product offering called Adam, the AVST Total Office Manager, and what we've done is we've gone out, taken the features we have on our product, and looked out into the common features and applications you have on your network, and seen how we could leverage them for our mobile user. We already did that for our desktop users, with unified messaging and things like that, but now we're talking about a whole other layer of ability, and a lot of that, in this presentation we're going to see, focuses on context and where.

The thing about mobility is that's not a single state, mobility doesn't mean away from my desk, it means away from my desk somewhere with some device with some set of features. So a good mobile application will be aware of that context, and change the functionality and the way it works based on the user's presence, calendar, location etc., and that's what we're going to look at during today. And to do that we're going to talk about our mobile client, what it does, and then we're going to talk about the whole package, in terms of what other features are part of the Adam solution, that are really focused on Adam users.

So if we look at Adam, and we called it the next generation of a total office manager, what we did was we looked out and found a couple of things, we found three things, three important things that led us down this path. The first one is, even people with a lot of our great features didn't use them all that often. They really didn't want to go in and change the way their system worked hour by hour to match where they were. People tend to be a little bit lazy, so something had to be done to make it simpler for the user. And then secondly, callers had a pretty poor experience coming into any facility, and basically what they got, if they didn't connect to somebody, was just a voice message with no real content in it.

So we thought we can improve on that by using context as well. And then the third thing was people don't maintain applications all that well, but there were a few things that can be relied upon. One of those is the calendar, and the reason the calendar can be relied upon as most of us live and die by that calendar, so we keep it up, it's accurate, it's a good source of information.

Our IM or instant messaging system, that's a good source of information, because it's automatic keeping track of where we are and what we're doing,. And then location based services from our mobile phone, we don't have to do anything with that, the phone knows where the user is. So we figured we would tie all that together under context, and see what we could do to create a more productive and more user friendly experience for the mobile worker.

So we're going to break this down in a couple of categories and the first one we'll talk about is " Adam Tells Others When You're Away." And what that means is when a caller calls in and doesn't reach you, perhaps their only choice is to leave a voice message, but there's no expectation created from that experience in today's world. Basically they hear "Hi, it's me, I didn't answer, leave a message." And there's really no useable content there. So what we can do with Adam is leverage some of your other systems to give the caller a better explanation of what's going on, and a better feeling for when a call might be returned. So the way we do that is we think with some of your desktop systems; the two main ones being your calendar, and your instant messaging system. So now our applications understand a little more about you.

So when a call comes in we don't just have to say " Leave a message" we can say John Tyler is in a meeting, and won't be available until 3:00 P.M., and then we can prompt them to leave a message, or try and find you, whatever you want, but that automatic prompting to the caller which recalls nothing on the users behalf automatically sets a much better expectation for that. Or we can read your instant messaging and say " John Tyler is in the office, but away from the phone" because we know from instant messaging you haven't touched your mouse, or keyboard maybe in 20 minutes. So once again, part of this is setting expectation for the caller. It's making their experience dealing with you a much friendlier, and more professional experience, and that's a part of what Adam does. And of course we're not actually federating presence in the sense of pushing our presence information in the other systems, but instead we're accessing the other systems, and reading out those things that we think are important to control the transactions that come through our applications.

So calendar is one of the absolute best ones, just because we're also good about maintaining our calendar, and today we'll do Exchange, Office 365, or Google calendars for this kind of interface, and then instant messaging today, we only do Link and OCS, those systems will expand as well. Now, I have now enabled an application to work more efficiently without having the user having to be involved, and giving the caller a better experience. Those are two of our main goals. Adam knows your location. So we talk about presence from the desktop client.

That's not really so much presence in a broad sense more am I right here and touched something recently sense, but there is a device that knows a little more about you and where you are, and that's your mobile phone. So we've now enabled the location based service that you can turn on, on your device, and it will now know where you are. You're in the office, you're in your home office, you're somewhere else, and we can use that information to both control how we route calls to you, because we know some really good pieces of information like you're not in the office, which see how we tell that in a second, therefore we shouldn't bother ringing your desk phone, and we also can give callers some good information as well.

Once again, this happens automatically. Once the application is installed the user doesn't have to change their location. And the way that works is by using our native clients on Android devices or IOS devices and you go into your client, and you build locations. You say this is my office, and it actually goes out with cell tower triangulation and figures out where that office is, and stores that information, and optionally you can say connect to my local Wi-Fi, it would go out to your business Wi-Fi and recognize that. And I have now defined a location where on my application knows when you're in the office, and knows that fairly accurately. We're not using GPS, because of the battery issues, where if you leave GPS on all the time, but this will actually now let us know for our applications when you're in the office, or when you're away from the office.

In my case I went home, and built that location, because I work out of a home office some of the time. I went home, said this is my home, here's my Wi-Fi, here's my triangulation and now I have that location defined, and by default I have a third location which is, I'm not either in the office, or at home, and using those three locations I can now modify the experience for the caller in terms of giving them information like Neil Butler is working from home, or giving them information in terms of Neil Butler is away from the office. I can also have calls routed to me more efficiently, and the key element here is I don't have to do anything as a user. When I move from my work location out into my car, my system knows that. It will no longer ring my desk phone; it will start ringing my mobile phone.

So the kind of UC applications you've seen people talk about over the years, but automated. Setup such that the users don’t have to do any work. Adam goes mobile when you do. If you look at the Adam features set, we have a very wide range of features all tailored to be used in a mobile environment, and different kinds of mobile environments. So unified messaging means you can get your messages on your mobile device and notification when you're out and about on your mobile devices. Our total hands free interface means when you're in your car you can have a virtual desktop that accesses your calendar, your contacts, your calls, your messages all hands free in a nice, safe mode. Basically, you can separate your business and personal communications by using our client. All of these tools in a package create the most powerful productivity toolset for mobile workers, and almost all of it can be set up to be transparent to the user.

Our mobile client, besides doing a location service, also offers a wide range of solutions. You can get your messages. You can make and receive phone calls from here, and these calls, of course, are separate from your personal calls on your device. They actually work through the CX-E system which gives us call records for your business communication as well as things like mobile number protection.

So, when a call goes out, the caller doesn't see your mobile number. They see your business number, and that routes all calls back in through that number. You can access your contents and directory, and we do some call screening pieces with this. So, the mobile client is sort of the linchpin of our Adam functionality when we're away from the office. It does the location services. It offers all of these functions all in a single device. We support iOS meaning both iPad and iPhone. And, we support Android both tablet and phone. So, the functionality available on the mobile client is a key piece of what Adam offers.

In the spirit of mobility, besides just users, we have a recognition that administrators are out and about quite a bit as well. There's nothing quite as irritating to be out working on a project and have somebody tap you on the shoulder or send you a message saying, my mailbox locked up you've got to fix it right now. And the administrator has to get somewhere to a terminal to login. What we've done is we've also created as part of the Adam feature set a small mobile administration client. Once again, this runs in a browser, so it'll run on basically any browser, large or small, and it'll fit the screen format. This allows the administrator to do some of the key functions that are necessary to happen quickly when they're away from their desk. You'll see this client grow over the next software releases. We've already had some really good feedback from clients saying that's good but here's a few other things we need. So, you'll see this as one of our applications that continues to grow over time.

Adam provides you a personal touch to important callers. This has been a part of our product for quite a few years now. I would say it's probably one of the most surprising pieces when we do a demo that people say, oh you can do that, we would find that very, very helpful. The way we do that is by allowing a call to be handled in kind of a unique way both from a telephone interface and from a mobile client interface. What happens is when a call comes in we will promptly get the caller to speak their name.

Given that information we will now present the call to you, and whichever interface you're using to have your calls delivered you'll now see who that is that's calling. And, you'll have choices on what to do with that call. In my case if I were pulling into a parking lot here at work, and I'm getting ready to go into my office, and one of my sales people calls me I'll answer the phone. It'll say, hello Neil Butler, you have a call from John Tyler, please say accept call, reject call, acknowledge, transfer, or review.

With those options what I can do is I could take the call. I can say accept call and the call would be patched through to me. But, now I probably have a nice 20 minute conversation while I'm on my mobile phone. I could do that. I could carry my phone with me, and as I walked to my desk I could transfer that call to my mobile phone. But, it's a little easier for me to say acknowledge, and then the system prompts me to record an acknowledgment message. I say, John, listen I've just gotten back to the office. I'm headed in now. As soon as I get to my desk I'll call you back. I hang up, and John hears, Neil Butler was unable to take your call but left you this message. Then it plays my acknowledgment message to him, setting a nice call back expectation. If, unfortunately, when I get to my desk I've forgotten that commitment the first thing I'll see when I open up my e-mail or get into my voicemail is that acknowledgment message. And, I can actually use that message to make an automatic return call to John, so, very nice personal touch for callers.

This allows you to recognize a caller, let them know that they're important to you, but you still don't have to stop what you're doing. You can decide what's more important, your current task or that incoming call. If you're in a meeting doing this there's an extra added feature here. We have a silent call acknowledge. Many of us sit in meetings quite a bit of our day. We have our e-mail in front of us, and we're sort of doing that unconscious e-mail triage. Because there are things that pop up during the day that really require immediate response. We're comfortable doing that for e-mail because you can do it quietly. What we really can't do is answer all our phone calls to decide which one is more or less important.

But, with the mobile client, I can set it up so mobile notifications go to the data channel, silently. So I could be sitting in a meeting and I would get a little pop-up, and it would say, John Tyler is calling you. Now I would get that name for a system user, or for anyone in my contacts. And I could look down and think well I can't take that call right now, I really can't interrupt the meeting, and I could bring up this acknowledgment screen and hit the will call in 15 minutes button, and go on with my meeting. What John Tyler would here is, Neil Butler was unable to take your call and will call you back in 15 minutes. So I now have the ability to monitor important calls, when I'm in a setting that requires silence. It's a very unique feature and people who have been using this are very, very happy with it.

Adam connects to the Cloud, there's certainly no denying that the hosted environment and the Cloud environment is getting stronger every day. Not everybody's going there right now, and not everybody's going there completely, but there certainly is an interest in a lot of our enterprise level contacts, to go out and see about hosting part of that. It's an economic play, it's a support play, there's a lot of reasons that make it valid. From our point of view, what we need to do as a manufacturer, as a software company, is make sure that we can offer you all the functionality we talk about, regardless of where you host your applications. So if you put your email in the Cloud, your contacts in the Cloud, your calendar in the Cloud, we don't want that to limit you, from all the fancy stuff that we do if your system is within your enterprise. So we make sure to support all of those profiles.

So if you look at us in the Cloud today, for unified messaging, we will do unified messaging with your system. Whether it's Exchange onsite, Office 365 in the Cloud, Lotus Notes onsite, Gmail out in the Cloud, any IMAP server anywhere, all the functionality that we offer that we've talked about here, is available regardless of those environments. So it's interesting to watch as Cloud becomes more and more popular, and I think it will be interesting to see what other applications start getting popular in terms of deployment out into the Cloud.

Adam hears you, simply speak up. One of the key pieces of our product that's been quite a valuable asset to us I think in the last years, is our speech interface. About ten years ago we merged two companies together, one that had a more traditional product, with a very rich feature set. And another that had a fantastic product with a speech interface to it. And it took us a few years, but we managed to get all of that technology packaged together in the CX-E product. And what that means is, we offer of course the traditional interface, calling with your phone, use your DTMF keys, navigate through your voice mail, call into the menu upfront, prompt the caller to enter your extension number.

All of that is fully supported, and always will be because there's certainly areas where that is the correct approach. But what we also offer is an option, both for users, and outside callers, is a full speech recognition interface. We've licensed the Nuance speech recognition engine, the worlds’ leading engine for server based applications, and you can license it as part of our system, and now you can turn on an interface for users. And what that means is, a user will no longer have to remember DTMF commands, and they simply use very standard speech to get in and get to it. So I can say get new messages, get my calendar for today, I can accept a meeting request, I can make a phone call, I can change the way my calls are routed, all of that's done with speech commands.

It takes about a week for an average system when it gets cut over, for everyone to be happy with the commands they want to use, and to figure out how to make it work. And after that, virtually no one wants to go back to the DTMF interface at all. So Adam lets you do that both for users and also for outside callers as well. Adam speaks your language; basically we have the applications threaded, such that we can have multiple languages throughout. Now this means a number of things, certainly the prompts that we speak like, one moment please, please leave a message, those are available in multiple languages. The text to speech rendering that we have, so we have special engines to read your email, those are available in multiple languages. Our client applications, like the forms we put in outlook and our web client, those are available in multiple languages, and the ASR engine as well.

Today the ASR engine allows you to put up to five languages on a single platform, and we have several versions of English, we have US or North American Spanish, Canadian French, and Swedish. You'll see more languages added every quarter, we're working on three or four more right now. So that in your particular business unit, if you have a need to support all of this with different languages, you'll be able to do so. This means both the front end, for your callers, and individual users will be able to be set up for the language of their choice. We do a lot of business outside the United States, as well as inside, and the multilingual aspect of our product is a very important piece of it.

So if we look at Adam, what we've done here is truly unique. Some of the features that are unique that you've seen, I'm sure you've seen some features you've never seen before, and some of them are very, very nice. But what's more unique than the features is our entire way of delivering them. We started by saying, let's not add 10 new features for a user, they've already got five features that are great that they aren't using today, because users don't want to work at it, they don't want to stop and think in their busy business day, how important is it to change this one feature so their system works better.

They're out, they're doing business, that's where you want their focus, so our first tenant when we did this, was let's make unified communications easier for the user, let's automate it, let's use context. They're already keeping their calendar up to date, they're good at that, let's leverage that effort so that we can handle their calls and their messaging by taking that information that's already there. They're already using their instant messaging, their IM at their desk, let's take advantage of that. They already have a mobile device that goes with them everywhere they go, let's take advantage of that.

So the first piece for Adam was let's make it simple for the users. The second piece is let's make it clear for the callers, let's give them a little better information on what's going on, to make that experience more pleasant and more useful. It's great to say, I'm not in leave me a message, it's much better to say, I'm on vacation and won't be back until July 15th; that kind of information taken from context, very, very powerful. So we took those features, we wrap them together under Adam, and now we're out in the market, and we're looking for people who want UC deployed that actually gets used. That's our goal. And we're ready for questions if there are any.

Emily: We do have some questions. The first question, is this all available in 8.5?

Neil: Everything we talked about is in 8.5, and for those of you that don't know, 8.5 has gone through beta testing, it's almost ready to go to market, which means I would expect a first week in August will be the first general ship of the product.

Emily: Okay, and then another question is, do we need 8.5 for all Adam features, or are there some available now?

Neil: So let's say you had 8.2, our current shipping version of the product, there's a lot of that functionality you would have. We have a speech interface, although it doesn't support multiple languages. We have mobile clients, but they don't do that, the location functionality. We have, you know, probably 90 percent of what's in Adam is there today. The context piece is the big piece we're adding in 8.5. The automation and the delivering information to the callers, that's the extra piece added on top of what we already had.

Emily: Okay. Next question, can your app locate me in a large campus environment, where the Wi-Fi and SSID is the same?

Neil: So for right now, because we've set on triangulation, the answer to that . . . remember, we're not locating you as much as you have to find some location. So you say a large campus environment, if you have two offices across town from each other, two campus locations, you know, 10 miles away, you certainly could go build a location for each one of those, we don't have to have the SSID from the Wi-Fi. The starting point for us is your actual physical coordination from the triangulation. Now, if you want me to know that you're in building A and building B, and they're next to each other, that gets a little problematic, because that triangulation is perhaps not accurate enough to do, you know, 500 meter difference, so you'd have to play around with it a little bit.

Emily: Okay. The next question is, when in speech can you press #1 to return to DTMF queues?

Neil: Anytime you need to. One of the things we know is, while speech rec is a fantastic interface. There are conditions outside our control that make it almost unusable. I just came back from a trip over to our [Mia] office, I spend more than my fair share of time standing on train platforms and underground platforms, which are just incredibly noisy, and the speech interface just won't work in those environment. So we've set it up so that at any time you get in one of those loud noise environments, you can switch back to the DTMF interface.

And when you switch back, by the way, and we emulate seven or eight different touch tone interfaces, our product has its own that it's had for years, but we also emulate the aria, the serenade, the meridian mail, Cinemagram, [inaudible 24:55], so if you've been assigned one of those, because that's what the system you had before was, when you drop out of speech, you'd be dropping down to that familiar set of commands, so people find that very useful.

Emily: Okay, and then a follow up question to that. Is there a plan to set up a keystroke to get back to speech from DPMF?

Neil: I've heard it discussed, but I don't believe it's on the product plan.

Emily: Okay, and then the last question we have with respect to location based routing, is there a trigger for being in your vehicle with Bluetooth?

Neil: So the way it works for us is that you're at one defined location or another, and after that, you're in the category we consider other. So if you look at my call list, my call list says, ring my desk phone, ring my home office phone, ring my mobile phone. When a call comes in, the first thing it does is it checks those overrides, is he in the office, no, he's not, is he at home, no, he's not, therefore we'll send everything to his mobile phone. So while it's not specifically saying, I know you're in your car and I know you're on Bluetooth, typically it will send that call to you, from a mobile, by virtue of the fact that you're not in your other location.

Emily: Okay, great, and that looks like that's all the questions that we have. Again, as always, we'd like to thank everyone for joining us today, and Neil, did you have anything you'd like to add?

Neil: You know, I just, as always, I'd like to thank people for showing up for these, it's very hard in your busy day to carve out time for these new things. We hope we make them of value to you, the number of return attendees that we have makes me think we probably do, but don't be shy, if there's some other subject you'd like to see us cover, or you think we don't go into enough depth, or we go into too much detail, please give us that feedback, because these are for you, you know, it's only good for us to do this if you're there and you're getting some value from them, so thank you.