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No Jitter Roll: Zoom Enhances Contact Center Suite, CommBox Launches new Era AI


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Image: Tierney -

Welcome to this week’s No Jitter Roll, our regular roundup of product news in the communication and collaboration spaces. This week: Zoom introduces new features to its Contact Center Suite and details three price tiers for its CX offering. CommBox launches its GPT 3.5 Turbo-powered Era AI for contact centers while NEC adds an AI Assistant to its UNIVERGE CONNECT (unified communications) and ENGAGE (contact center). Accenture debuts new services intended to help enterprises trial and compare Gen AI models, and Google launches the Gemini LLM, its newest model family. Finally, and HPE and Nvidia collaborate to bring out-of-the-box LLMs to enterprises.

Zoom Enhances CX Suite and Announces Pricing Plans

In the coming weeks, Zoom Contact Center will be available in new tiered plans:

  • Essentials: Starts at $69 per month and includes Zoom AI Companion, remote control, privacy and security features, and support for omnichannel voice, chat, SMS, and video.
  • Premium: Starts at $99 per month, includes everything in Essentials, and adds support for email, social channels, and outbound dialer.
  • Elite: Starts at $149, includes all of the Premium tier features and includes Zoom AI Expert Assist, Quality Management, and Workforce Engagement Management (WEM).
  • Note: Essentials and Premium users can purchase Zoom AI Expert Assist and WEM as add ons.

Zoom AI Expert Assist can retrieve and suggest the responses from a curated set of knowledge bases, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and other systems of record. It can assist both agents and supervisors. Additional functionality expected in early 2024 includes recommended next best action, complete with personalized steps, and an intelligent view of agents and activity for supervisors and contact center leaders.

Other enhancements to Zoom’s CX products include:

  • Support for email and Meta’s Messenger. The ability to chat in WhatsApp is expected in early 2024.
  • Remote control, which allows customers to grant help desk agents permission to control their desktops remotely.
  • Outbound progressive dialing is currently available in beta and is expected to be generally available in the coming weeks. Outbound preview dialing is expected in early 2024.
  • Built-in post-redaction of certain personal data in voice and video recordings, as well as voice, video, and messaging transcripts. In 2024, users will be able to use their own encryption keys to protect certain data stored at rest within the Zoom Cloud infrastructure.
  • Third-party application integrations providing real-time access to customer information, including CRM, support, and payments from within the Zoom client are expected to be generally available in early 2024.

Finally, Zoom launched the standalone Zoom Surveys product on November 29, 2023. It allows users to build, edit, and share surveys and polls during or after meetings, webinars, or via a link. Surveys is integrated into the Zoom client.

CommBox Launched Era AI for AI-powered CX

The customer communications solution provider launched Era AI, based on its proprietary technology and OpenAI’s GPT 3.5-Turbo large language model (LLM). Era AI’s can be grounded in a company’s resource base (e.g., support, help and knowledge articles, website content). It will then use those datasets to power a chatbot. Era AI provides a no-code tool for building those chatbots. The platform also provides sentiment analysis, which can be used to reroute calls, identify customer intent, and standardize the “manner and tone of written responses” to keep them in line with brand guidelines. Era AI also provides agent assist capabilities.

According to Dvir Hoffman, Chief Product Officer at CommBox, “It may seem simple on paper but going from solely reliant on humans to 80% automation and 20% human is a huge transformation the majority of brands are still trying to navigate.”

NEC Introduces UNIVERGE BLUE AI Assistant

The provider and integrator of IT, communications and networking solutions introduced the UNIVERGE BLUE AI Assistant powered by UNIVERGE BLUE PULSE AI which is NEC’s a cloud-based AI platform. UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT is NEC’s cloud-based unified communications and collaboration platform. NEC said that the UNIVERGE BLUE PULSE artificial intelligence solution is designed to be able to easily change out third party generative AI engines so it can “always use [a] best of breed” model.

NEC’s new AI Assistant is integrated throughout the company’s CONNECT and ENGAGE (NEC’s contact center) products. It provides transcription (automatic, non-real time), transcription redaction (of sensitive/private data), sentiment analysis, analysis of recorded conversations to identify key topics, tasks, follow-up actions and, coming soon, automatic summarization.

Built into the CONNECT desktop and mobile applications, the NEC Blue AI Assistant is available for free for UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT users, including ESSENTIALS, PRO, PRO PLUS, and CONNECT BRIDGE PRO and PRO-PLUS users. NEC notes further that the AI Assistant does not store any personal/company data in the generative AI engine nor is that data sent externally for purposes of further training the AI engine.

Accenture Launches Services to Help Companies Customize and Manage Foundation Models

Aimed at enterprises that are evaluating generative AI solutions, the professional services company launched a set of services that include:

  • A proprietary “switchboard” that allows users to select a combination of LLMs to assess how those different models interpret and respond to the same prompt.
  • Customize LLMs for specific business context, data sources and various techniques, along with managed services for ongoing finetuning and prompt engineering.
  • Skills and capabilities to help clients effectively use and manage LLMs, including training and certification programs.

"Companies that want to harness the power of generative AI will need an array of specialized models,” said Karthik Narain, group chief executive, Accenture Technology. “Our switchboard is designed to enable companies to do this at scale while managing costs and carbon footprint, aligning the right models to the business context.”

Google Launches Gemini LLM

Google introduced Gemini 1.0, its multimodal LLM that can recognize, understand and combine different information formats including text, code, audio, image and video. There are three model sizes that are built to scale from on-device implementations (Gemini Nano) to Gemini Ultra, the largest model designed for highly complex tasks (e.g., coding, math questions).

Google Bard now uses a fine-tuned version of Gemini Pro; Gemini likely replaced Google’s current primary LLM, PaLM, and LaMDA (PaLM’s predecessor). In the coming months, Gemini will be available in more Google products and services like Search, Ads, Chrome and Duet AI. Duet AI is Google’s AI assistant in Google Cloud and Workspace (Sheets, Docs, etc.).

Want to know more?

This Google DeepMind whitepaper details the capabilities and tasks that each version of Gemini (Nano, Pro and Ultra) can perform. The paper compares Gemini’s performance to other LLMs (GPT-4, GPT-3.5, Claude 2, etc.). This Gemini site provides some video discussion of the new family of models and how each perform.

HPE Works with NVIDIA for Enterprise-class, Gen AI Solution

HPE and Nvidia built a co-engineered, pre-configured AI tuning and inferencing solution intended to help enterprises use pretrained foundation models with organization-specific private data to create production applications such as AI chatbots. This solution integrates HPE Machine Learning Development Environment SoftwareHPE Ezmeral SoftwareHPE ProLiant Compute and HPE Cray Supercomputers with the NVIDIA AI Enterprise software suite, including the NVIDIA NeMo framework.

This Week on No Jitter

In case you missed them, here are some of our top stories:

  • What to Expect from Teams: By examining the announcements coming out of Ignite 2023, it’s possible to see three likely directions in which Teams will evolve.
  • Generative AI in Collaboration: Generative AI assistants have arrived, but adoption, and value are TBD.
  • Who’s Likely to Buy Five9? With ongoing acquisition rumors, there are companies with a good reason to buy the contact center solution provider. We run down the candidates.
  • Generative AI and CSAT: In most cases, generative AI solutions won’t raise the bar of customer satisfaction. Instead, it will be justified to reduce expenses.