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Engaging the Nomad

A few months ago, I attended an industry event where, to my delight, I ran into Sajeel Hussain, whom I had known when he worked at Avaya. Sajeel has since moved to a company called CaféX Communications, and he was demonstrating a mobile engagement solution branded CaféX Fusion Live Assist that I found very compelling. (Editor's note: CafeX Fusion Live also proved compelling to the judges in the Best of Enterprise Connect Orlando 2014 contest, who chose the product as one of 6 Finalists for this year's award ).

The basic premise behind Fusion Live Assist is enabling integration between mobile apps and existing communications and contact center infrastructure. Most organizations already have an enterprise communications system and a contact center, and many companies are now building mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, which are supposed to help them better engage with their customers. Yet, in most cases, the mobile apps do not integrate with existing enterprise communications and contact center infrastructure.

Fusion Live Assist is a solution that allows organizations building mobile apps to provide instant customer engagement capability in their own apps with just a few lines of code. And the integration allows unified communications flows directly into the organization's existing infrastructure. This is highly reminiscent of what Amazon has done with the Kindle Fire HDX Mayday button, but it works for Android and iOS devices, as well as with regular Web browsers.

The solution consists of a mobile app SDK that allows developers to enable UC capabilities in the mobile application including IM/presence, voice, video, co-browsing, screen sharing, and annotations. Voice and video between the mobile app and the enterprise are done using WebRTC.

On the enterprise side, the mobile app's IM/presence integrate with Cisco Jabber and Microsoft Lync, while the voice and video integrates with existing Cisco or Microsoft voice and video infrastructure. At the enterprise, three logical servers are used: one as a WebRTC media gateway, another to retrieve SIP signaling messages from the application's HTTP traffic, and a third that provides contextual exchange between the user and the contact center.

This contextual exchange can be two-way: The app can provide information about the user, and what the user has been doing or looking at, to the contact center. Likewise, the contact center can provide information to the user such as visual IVR screens, queue lengths, and extended wait time data. Contextual information is exchanged by overlaying contextual data into the SIP header messages.

As I listened to Sajeel explain how the solution works, I found it extremely compelling and chock full of exciting possibilities. Since then, I've seen real examples of large, well-known financial institutions who are adopting Fusion Live Assist to enable better engagement with high net-worth clients, and between customers and the contact center. Cisco apparently likes CaféX's technology, too, because Cisco OEMs CaféX Fusion Live Assist as part of its Cisco Mobile Advisor offering.

Most organizations want better engagement with their customers or clients, but knowing what to do and how to do it is not always clear. I think CaféX provides a pretty good architecture and approach for doing so.