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Mayday, Kandy and the Modern Contact Center

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Author: Chris Vitek

In the last thirty years the call center has transformed into the contact center.  The introduction of IVR, CTI, e-mail, social media, mobile apps, web co-browsing and fax are examples of interaction methods that make up the multi-media contact center of today.  The challenge for contact center technology manufacturers has been to create a seamless experience for the customer and the contact center agent.   The barrier to seamless integration is the fact that all of these technologies use different signaling protocols and different content formats.  The industry solution to this has been to use computer telephony integration to make these differences transparent to users.  19 years ago SIP was the solution to unify many of these media and eliminate the Balkanization that CTI was attempting to cover.  That failed because the carriers would not offer SIP unless it worked like digital.  Then came smartphones and tablets and the carrier’s grip on real-time communications was broken.  Now Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) is taking another swing at the problem of point-solution proliferation in the contact center.  Further, WebRTC has become an alternative to PSTN carriers at disruptive price points and reduced integration cost.  Kandy is our Platform as a Service (PaaS) for making this transformation a reality.

In September of 2013 Amazon rolled out their Mayday button (live video chat) on their high-end tablets.  One-way video and screen sharing allows contact center agents to reduce the customer’s effort and reduce the amount of labor needed for support operations.  Since then every major financial institution has spun up a WebRTC project.  If you have read “Crossing the Chasm,” then you realize that WebRTC is beyond the Innovator stage and has begun Early Adoption.  Financial, healthcare and education are the industries that are finding ways to use WebRTC to improve communications while reducing cost and reducing effort.

The interesting part about the Mayday button is that is can be integrated into traditional contact center platforms.  The technology components are a web server, a WebRTC-to-SIP gateway, a SIP trunk and some CTI programming.  In a traditional contact center the voice component is delivered from the WebRTC enabled web page to a SIP trunk that connects to the call distribution system.   The key benefits to this approach are low risk and seamless integration into the traditional contact center’s call distribution system.  The video portion is actually a CTI screen pop that is triggered once the audio call arrives at the agent’s phone.  It all happens in about 300ms so it looks like one application.

Kandy can be used to deliver Live video chat buttons to any web page.  With minimal integration any PC, MAC, smartphone or tablet can be used to support a real-time audio conversation with any traditional contact center without touching the PSTN.  Video requires some additional integration, but still no PSTN. 

Kandy is a unique solution that will stimulate the evolution of contact center technologies.  Our ability to support HTTPS signaling, web-based content formats as well as legacy signaling and content formats coupled with our subscription-based developer platform model allowing developers to launch quickly. This makes Kandy the only choice for forward-thinking contact center technology managers.

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