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Google Evolves Its CCAI Services to a Full CCAI Platform
Enterprise Connect has a history of being the place for exciting contact center breakthroughs — and this year the excitement is back! The first big news this week is that Google has expanded Contact Center AI (CCAI) to a full end-to-end platform designed to help companies reimagine customer experiences.
What is the new CCAI Platform? In the next sections, I will describe its evolution to provide the context needed to understand the significance of today’s news.
Google CCAI — the CCAI Services from 2018 to the present
In the graphic below, the CCAI Services layer, consisting of Virtual Agent, Agent Assist and Insights, is what is commonly known of as Google CCAI. I wrote about Google’s launch of CCAI in July 2018, describing how the cloud platform giant was teaming with major contact center solution providers to bring its AI expertise into the market. By November 2019, the first set of major premises and cloud contact center solution providers announced the availability of Google Cloud CCAI integrations – including 8x8, Avaya, Cisco, Five9, Genesys, Mitel, Salesforce, Twilio, and Vonage.
The November 2019 availability of CCAI from such a broad set of contact center providers (which has expanded over time) set the stage for the rapid deployments that Google was able to support as the world entered the pandemic in February 2020.
In the last two years, Google has seen incredible success with CCAI. Some of the deployments were digital transformations well underway prior to the pandemic – Marks & Spencer and Home Depot are notable examples. Other implementations were directly related to pandemic impacts – notably support for multiple local and state governments tackling explosive unemployment. At the time, the Google Cloud team and their partners were working with the states of Illinois, New York, and Oklahoma, to deploy virtual agents to help stem an overwhelming demand for assistance.
According to Google, a key request from customers who have used CCAI is they would like to see Google expand their offering to provide a fully cloud-based contact center experience. Enter Google CCAI Platform.
In 2022: From CCAI to the CCAI Platform
In its announcement blog, Google describes CCAI platform as a CCAI Suite extension that allows companies to better leverage AI in the pursuit of better contact center interactions and outcomes, as well as achieve a centralized source of truth and real-time insight across the customer journey.
As seen in the graphic, the new capabilities include inbound and outbound interaction management, visual IVR, AI-driven routing, an agent desktop … yes, all the components of a modern CCaaS solution.
Where did these CCaaS capabilities come from? I found out during an interview with Yariv Adan, head of product for Conversational AI at Google Cloud. “We chose Ujet as an OEM to bring (these capabilities) to market.” Yariv went on to articulate the reasons they chose Ujet:
- Expertise and experience in the contact center market. The company has already deployed CCaaS with many customers.
- Integration with three major telephony providers, including Twilio, that gives them a footprint in more than 80 markets.
- Strong security and scalability features.
- Mobile-first, end-user focus.
All these strengths of Ujet’s CCaaS solution accrue to the Google CCAI platform offer on day one. Adan went on to say that over time, Google will be looking to reimagine an AI-first, Google-first contact center, with deeper integration into CCAI Solutions.
Google Cloud’s CCAI Platform strategy is already making a difference for early customers, including OneUnited Bank and Fitbit.
In its announcement blog, the CEO of OneUnited Bank said that “The expansion and enhancements of Google Cloud’s Contact Center AI Platform, along with its deeper integration with Salesforce, means better return on investment as we drive towards evolving our contact center to deliver exceptional client experiences.”
Wait – we’ve been talking about Google. Salesforce? What is the Salesforce news? Read on!
Google CCAI Platform and Salesforce Service Cloud Voice
In addition to the partnership with Ujet, Google announced that it is expanding its partnership with Salesforce, whose Service Cloud Voice API will be natively integrated to Contact Center AI Platform. Google joins a growing list of contact center companies that have taken their integration to Salesforce beyond CTI as Service Cloud Voice Telephony Partners. The others are Vonage, Natterbox, Genesys (via Upland InGenius), Genesys Native (Beta), Talkdesk, Mirage, Odigo, Cisco (via Bucher & Suter), Avaya (via Tenfold) GA, and Avaya Native (Beta).
Customers with an existing contact center solution provider can still leverage the CCAI portfolio to integrate Google Cloud’s capabilities into their existing environment. CCAI Platform becomes a new alternative, especially for those using CCAI with a premises solution that may be ready to move to the cloud.