Gokul Blog — A conversation on VoIP, IMS, Cisco and Just about Anything

Deeper analysis of VoIP

An IP Contact Center : In every sense of the Word

Posted by tggokul on June 12, 2007

Cisco’s IPCC Solution ( now called Unified Contact Center) naming ( or should I call it misnomer) used to get me curious. What makes a solution ‘IP’ enabled? Does any solution become IP compliant if the endpoints are IP devices ( in this case Cisco IP phones/ communicator)? If the communication between the switch ( Call manager) and the end devices are on IP backbone, does it entitle it to be a IP solution?

Personally, I don’t accept this naming convention. I will say a solution is really an IP solution when the customer who dials into the contact center ( this can be through any of the multimedia channels, voice,video,email or web) is also on IP. What we have today is an hybrid solution with the customers dialing into a contact center via TDM and then using a Voice Gateway to convert it into packets. I had briefly touched upon this last month when I wrote about NMS solutions in IP contact centers.

This according to me is not IPCC. Customers have to be on IP and they reach the contact center agents through IP. I had not seen this kind of a contact center till couple of weeks ago when I went to Malaysia. As part of official business, I had to interact with one of the leading ISPs in Malaysia and when they walked through their contact center architecture, I finally got to see an ‘IPCC’ solution in every sense of the word.

It is not surprising that an Internet Service Provider is the one offering this kind of a solution. Thinking about it, who else has a better backbone to do this? So how this works is , as part of their broadband offering, this ISP provides a SIP based softphone ( I think it is X-lite but am not 100% sure) to its consumers and provides IP centrex features as well using Netcentrex.

Now their contact center uses Cisco IPCC and a specific number has been configured on the Call Manager for the IVR route point. This route point is translated as a 1800 number in netcentrex and if the SIP softphone user dials in this numner it directly hits the IP IVR for self-servicing and transfers to the IPCC agents if need be. As you can see, there is no TDM involved here at all. IPCC in its purest form 🙂 I believe they have NICE for their call logger functionalities. This ISP is going to have issues when they move for mobile agents ( Read this post as to why they would face problems).

It is quite possible that there are much more of these setups around the world ( and I am going to go on a limb and say that these are mostly ISPs controlled contact centers). But it was kind of exciting to see one in person. Malaysia certaintly seems to be leading the way here atleast in the APAC ( Asia-Pacific) region.

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