There were a lot of announcements at Enterprise Connect 2023. Some were little with big fanfare, and some were big with little fanfare. And then there was CX Suite, Enghouse Interactive’s new call center as a solution (CCaaS) product which had no fanfare. No press release, no blog, no big social media push.
If you didn’t stop by the Enghouse Interactive booth, you would have missed the chance to learn about their new offering that brings together what Enghouse believes is needed to enable modern CX – the ability to interact with customers through virtually any channel, engage non-agent, employee resources for support and receive communication from Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices such as medical devices and appliances to name two.
CX Suite integrates AI to enhance customer interactions (no surprise) and IoT to meet specialized support needs (surprise). It’s this last part that stands out. It puts the company in a position to expand its market share and help device-dependent companies cut down on the number of vendors they’re managing. That and the fact that this is being launched by a relatively unknown brand makes this offering particularly interesting.
Enghouse Interactive isn’t the most familiar name in the contact center space, but the company has been around for nearly four decades, supports agents in over 120 countries, and manages thousands of contact centers with a portfolio of on-premises, hybrid and cloud contact center solutions. As one example, it is the company behind contact center services like BT Cloud Contact, who private label Enghouse Interactive’s hosted solution.
The parent company, Enghouse Systems brought in around $318M USD in revenue in 2022, with about $175M USD coming from Enghouse Interactive Management Group, the division that includes contact center and interactive software and services. Based on the briefing materials they provided to me, the company is profitable and has paid dividends every quarter for 30-years straight, increasing dividends every quarter for the last 14 years – an achievement worth noting in an era in which healthy financials are back in vogue.
Enghouse Systems has a history of acquisitions – many of which I’ve covered in the past such as Voiceport, Competella, Momindum, Altitude, Dialogic, and Vidyo – that have built an arsenal of patents, know-how and experience that makes launching a CX solution particularly interesting.
The launched CX Suite has three major components and is built on an open tech stack with a modular design that allows customers to scale and tailor it via integrations.
The first component of CX Suite is the omnichannel contact center engine. Since every vendor has slightly different definitions of omnichannel, it is useful to list those supported by CX Suite: phone, voice call back, video, email, SMS and messaging apps including WhatsApp, WeChat and Viber. Channels are blended into a universal queue accessible on a browser interface, and agent interactions are recorded and analyzed across channels with the intention of eliminating interpersonal bias.
The second component is Enghouse Connect, which extends their contact center as a service (CCaaS) solution by adding unified communications (UC). Connect is meant to bring together the front-end and back-end resources needed to resolve issues and elevate the customer experience. Enghouse Connect is included in the CX Suite license fee but it’s optional, so customers committed to other UC solutions can stick with their selected offering while integrating other CX Suite components.
The third component is Enghouse IoT Processor. One of the changes we’re seeing today is that it’s not just people who need to call for service, but increasingly their possessions and devices, too. Think medical devices that can send alerts to a support center when a user’s blood pressure spikes. Or video surveillance that communicates movement in a warehouse in the middle of the night. Whatever the event may be, CX Suite can be triggered to take action.
The IoT component is even more interesting when predictive analytics are added to the mix, adding opportunities to better service customers, increase loyalty, or generate revenue.
Enghouse cited personal emergency response wearables given to patients in a health care facility (e.g., assisted living, etc.) as one example of how this IoT integration could be leveraged. Smart fall detection devices will alert a medical response service if a fall is detected. Frequent movement in the middle of the night can also increase the chances of a fall. When data on nighttime movement is sent to a contact center, support can query the person’s wearable to check a wide range of variables to determine if a medical condition is causing extra trips to the bathroom, help the user get treatment for the condition, and thus potentially reduce the risk of a fall. This use case could also work for individuals who might require a similar level of care and/or monitoring at home.
The potential use cases don’t end with safety and medical scenarios. There are opportunities in global logistics management and optimization (“Time to change the oil,” while proactively booking that service), maintaining appliances in (“Your refrigerator water filter needs to be changed” – while sending a new one). Integrating with “things” adds another channel to omnichannel and more ways to add value to the customer experience.
What’s so exciting about the contact center space today is how the cloud is enabling new kinds of services, while allowing customers to adopt them when, where and how needed. Enghouse adding IoT as a core service opens up a lot of possibilities, and positions contact centers better for an increasingly connected world.
Dave Michels is a contributing editor and analyst at TalkingPointz.