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Google Puts Chrome OS to Work in Contact Centers
Google announced today an extension of its Chrome Enterprise Recommended partner program to include contact-center solutions used in concert with the Chrome operating system (OS). I don’t have to articulate the reasons why Chromebooks (or Chrome Boxes) make sense for contact centers because fellow No Jitter writer Dave Michels did it for me earlier this year. To summarize, he listed five top reasons: simplicity, versatility, supportability, enterprise integration, and the fact that Chrome devices keep getting better.
With the work leading to today’s announcement, Google has added one more great reason to use the Chrome OS in your contact center — Google engineering’s seal of approval. In advance of today’s launch, Google worked with seven contact center solution providers to validate their services, including 8x8, Cisco, Edify, Five9, Genesys, RingCentral, and Vonage. These solution providers, which already made their agent user interfaces available in the Chrome browser, optimized their products for Chrome OS, working closely with the Google partner engineering team.
Faithful (and long-time) readers of No Jitter and other industry veterans like me may recall that Avaya collaborated with Google on a Chromebook partnership in 2014. But that was hardware, and this announcement is much more about cloud solutions — and Citrix working with premises solutions. In fact, when asked, my Google briefers were completely unfamiliar with the earlier effort. The current Chrome Enterprise Recommended effort has been underway for about two years, the Google spokesperson reported.
In the course of the testing, Google found areas to fine-tune on both the partner side and on its own WebRTC protocol. A Google spokesperson explained during a pre-briefing that the CCaaS vendors and Google worked together on enhancing and optimizing these solutions to make sure that they work great on Chromebooks.
Looking at the CCaaS vendors in the above graphic, many of the usual suspects are there. I asked Google how Edify, a relative newcomer, came to be in the company of vendors with much longer histories in the contact center space. A Google spokesperson answered that Edify comes to the program as a disruptor as opposed to a company with a huge market share. Google likes Edify’s approach to contact center — coming from a different place, trying to do things differently, and is highly innovative. Google said Edify aligns with its philosophy of innovating and doing things differently.
The image below shows the Edify user interface working on Google Chrome OS. It is worthy of note that Edify’s Huddle application can work on any device (i.e., any screen, iOS, Android, etc.), but from a browser perspective, it only works in the Chrome browser.
The Chrome Enterprise Recommended program extends beyond CCaaS software to include devices and accessories (seen in the graphic). Most notable for the contact center are headsets from Jabra, Poly, and EPOS (formerly Sennheiser).
Google describes these advantages for companies when they choose contact center solutions from certified vendors.
- Secure platform and remote management — Chrome OS is a cloud-first, easy-to-manage operating system that can secure and optimize contact centers while supporting remote agents.
- Validated contact center solutions — New contact center solutions optimized for Chrome OS through a new solution track for Chrome Enterprise Recommended. Note that additional companies are already working with on validation of their solutions, so the list of companies is very likely to grow.
- Access to virtualization desktop infrastructure — Chrome OS and Citrix Workspace is now a Citrix Ready verified solution for contact center.
- Agent peripherals & devices — New certified Works with Chromebook headsets and a Chrome OS device ecosystem.
To learn more about the Google Enterprise Recommended program, and Google’s work in the unified communications and contact center markets, make sure to attend several Enterprise Connect sessions on the topic, including "Secure & optimized contact centers with Chrome OS, Citrix and RingCentral."