Sheila McGee-Smith
Sheila McGee-Smith, who founded McGee-Smith Analytics in 2001, is a leading communications industry analyst and strategic consultant focused on the...
Read Full Bio >>

Sheila McGee-Smith | October 01, 2015 |


inContact Introduces Voice as a Service

inContact Introduces Voice as a Service Partners with network performance monitoring company to deliver call quality reporting.

Partners with network performance monitoring company to deliver call quality reporting.

inContact has announced availability of the Fall 2015 release of its cloud contact center platform. The announcement came at the company's 11th annual user conference, ICUC, and first-ever industry analyst meeting, both taking place this week in its hometown of Salt Lake City.

The company has released a beta version of its Lync/ Skype for Business Gateway, which allows agents to see the Lync/Skype for Business status of users anywhere in the enterprise and initiate phone calls with a click. Agents need not be Lync/Skype for Business users or have the UC client installed. With the release, inContact also extends its support for multimedia channels, adds social media, and enhances its SMS capabilities.

Among all I heard in conversations with inContact executives at's Dreamforce, which took place in mid September, and during in-depth presentations from the CTO and engineering team during this week's analyst meeting, I'm most intrigued by the company's new voice-as-a-service (VaaS) emphasis. inContact is not the first to use this term -- the earliest references go back more than 10 years -- but it is applying a unique meaning to it. inContact describes VaaS as an optimized voice quality solution for contact centers. And inContact believes that it is uniquely positioned to deliver VaaS.

Carrier-Grade, Voice-Optimized Global Network
inContact began as a facilities-based carrier reseller, and for several years spoke of winding down that business as it rebuilt itself as a contact center solutions provider. But along the way, the company realized the unique benefit it delivered to customers by being a one-stop shop for carrier services and cloud-based contact center.

Five years ago, inContact was telling financial analysts that telecom revenues were being managed into decline. Fast-forward to 2015, and inContact has reported telecom revenue for the second quarter as up 12% year over year, with 96% of that revenue generated from customers using its contact center software and software-related network connectivity.

In recognition of its infrastructure's strategic importance, over the past 18 months inContact has invested "millions" in rebuilding its network with the latest technology. Gone are the Nortel and Lucent carrier switches of the TDM era. In their stead stands state-of-the-art technology from Sonus Networks and Broadsoft.

Voice Quality Scoring and Reporting
inContact has gone one step further, too. It has partnered with Empirix, which provides end-to-end network performance visibility solutions, to monitor and report on the performance of the inContact network. When it comes to voice quality, the mean opinion score (MOS) is an industry standard metric, with a scale from 1 to 5. Callers are typically satisfied with the quality of calls that rate scores of 4.0 to 4.3, and very satisfied with scores above that. Only some callers are satisfied with scores in the 3.6 to 4.0 range, which is typical for most mobile phone calls.

In the last measured week, inContact reported the score on its network was 4.4. inContact will now be reporting the network MOS on its customer trust site. Over the next six months or so, the company plans to deliver MOS by network cluster (of which it has approximately 15) so companies can see how customer MOS is affected at a more granular level. By mid 2016, inContact said it will be delivering not only MOS personalized by customer but also the ability to monitor disconnects or abandoned calls for agent and call-level troubleshooting, using a dashboard like that shown below.

Why did inContact make the investment to deliver VaaS? As CEO Paul Jarman explained, most companies lack the expertise or tools to monitor and manage the voice experience with their customers. Lower voice quality is often the norm with newer technologies (including VoIP and wireless), and generally acceptable -- except during critical moments of truth with a customer.

While it is true that more and more customer interactions are moving to digital channels, voice is the overwhelming choice when customers have important issues they need to resolve. Voice may be declining in terms of the proportion of interactions, but its importance in driving revenue and customer satisfaction has never waned.

Follow Sheila McGee-Smith on Twitter and Google+!
Sheila McGee-Smith on Google+


March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.