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In this Executive Insights podcast, UCStrategies' Dave Michels talks with Wilco van Schaik, Business Manager, Unified Communications & Collaboration for NEC Unified Solutions, about Sphericall Contact Center 8.
Dave Michels: Hi, this is Dave Michels; I am here with Wilco van Schaik.
Wilco van Schaik: Hi there, Dave.
Dave: We are at the NEC Advantage Partner Conference in Jacksonville, Florida. At Enterprise Connect, you guys made a lot of noise about your new Sphericall product, it’s your software-based solution for unified communications and collaboration, but what caught my eye coming in here was this tablet. Can you tell me what this tablet’s related to?
Wilco: Sure, and also thank you very much for noticing. What you saw there was something new, which is a software-based wallboard which we use for our contact center agent solution inside the Sphericall platform.
Dave: I don’t understand, I thought it was a software-based solution. Why is there a tablet here?
Wilco: It is a software-based solution, but inside the solution, we also have a contact center. Now you can imagine if supervisors want to have, let’s say, an update on how the contact center team is doing, we’ve made something like a tablet so that a supervisor can see real time how the contact center team is actually doing.
Dave: Is it restricted to a tablet?
Wilco: No, you can also put it on any PC; we have a lot of customers putting it on a very large screen, something like a TV, or put it on the wall. But it also fits on a tablet.
Dave: So this is effectively a wallboard in a tablet that you can carry around.
Wilco: Absolutely, absolutely.
Dave: And why would anybody want to carry around a wallboard?
Wilco: Well, actually typically the supervisor in this case is not bound to his desk, so he or she can walk around, can get a cup of coffee and have a real time overview of how the contact center team is doing.
Dave: Is it Wi-Fi only?
Wilco: It's actually not Wi-Fi only, so you can also use a cell phone network, you can use Wi-Fi, so you can choose.
Dave: And is it part of the Android or is it an iPad or –
Wilco: What we are showing here is based on the Windows tablet, but in the next available version it will also be able to run in an iPad and an Android.
Dave: Is it current information, as far as –
Wilco: Current information—it is real time live data.
Dave: Real time live data that you can carry with you and it will work over 3G, so you could run over to Starbucks and see exactly what is going on behind your back.
Wilco: Absolutely, absolutely.
Dave: It seems like a pretty robust application in terms of the information it's providing. Is there a pretty steep learning curve with this?
Wilco: No, it's actually rather easy. We have some customers having this in some kind of a beta, and they were ready to rock and roll within five minutes.
Dave: So this is part of, you called it, “Contact Center Solution 8?” And is that available now?
Wilco: Version 8 will hit the market in the August-September timeframe.
Dave: So what other components complete the solution for the contact center?
Wilco: As you’ve been already talking about before, what we’ve shown you at Enterprise Connect where we have shown our UC&C stuff there – we have normal people working with the UC clients in the normal world – office workers. Being a contact center agent is just another role, which is an integral part of the whole architecture. So we have contact center agents, which can tie-in and work in work groups, which can tie into the normal office users. Next to the contact center agent, we have the supervisor role, where it can actually manage the contact center agent. Next to that being also part of the contact center solution basically is that you can have an operator also working, enabling people from outside to get to the right people inside the company. One of the cool things is that the contact center agent can get back in touch with any other user, using IM, or using presence. So it is fully interlinked with all the other users. It's such an integral part of the entire UC&C architecture, which we have shown you at Enterprise Connect.
Dave: So it's a general UC&C solution with a contact center capability. How large can the contact center be?
Wilco: Well that’s a good question. A lot of companies have ranging from just a handful of contact center users to a couple of hundred, so we can scale from let’s say just a few to up five hundred contact center agents.
Dave: Is it one contact center or is it multiple types of agents or groups?
Wilco: You can have actually multiple groups and there is no limit to the amount of groups, and there is only a limit to the total amount of contact center agents.
Dave: What about actual phones? Does it require an NEC phone?
Wilco: You can use of course, an NEC phone, but you don’t have to choose an NEC phone, you can use any other phone. As a matter of fact, for the software contact center agent you can even use a softphone.
Dave: So the portal information or agent information on this – I saw an earlier demonstration on the NEC SV8000 line – the UC&E agent portal – that’s a more mature product line – is this comparable to that?
Wilco: Yes it is actually, but in this particular case, this contact center will fully integrate with the rich architecture of Sphericall, so you can choose whatever kind of device you want to use, you can choose any phone you want to use – that is why we think it is a very good solution. It is actually very much comparable.
Dave: And this is being developed in Japan?
Wilco: It's actually being made inside Europe – it's coming from Europe.
Dave: Coming from Europe – NEC is a global company, as well, apparently.
Wilco: Absolutely. Thank you also for noticing.
Dave: All right, well thank you very much, I appreciate your time Wilco.
Wilco: You are welcome—great.
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Communications Integrated to Optimize Business Processes.
UC integrates real-time and non-real time communications with business processes and requirements.
Uses presence capabilities for coordination, and presents a consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types.
Learn more at What is Unified Communications all about?