Great partners make life more fun

For over 17 years, our partner Mauritius Telecom has been delivering the cutting edge Unified Communications services. Together with the CommuniGate Pro multi-tenant platform our partnership has evolved into a core B2B offering for subscribers. At CGS we have adapted to market changes and waves of innovation over the years; but one thing that has never changed is that we keep our partners close and use their insight for the development of the product roadmap. This week we spent some time with our colleagues and partner learning how their National Cloud will be a leading example of Unified Communications in the Cloud with regulatory compliance demands met.

Of course at an average 32c in the day and 30C at night we had to dress light and carry small bags!

Sometimes geeks take things too far and bring their briefcase to the beach thinking maybe there are great wifi signals around!

What does one do when in Mauritius Island with good friends and colleagues? Diving of course!

Searching for a Cloud near Nemo….

Alcatraz never looked so pretty; but defiantly bring a boat with you either way!

At CommuniGate Systems we like to keep in touch with our partners and take a close look on how our platform benefits their business, always looking for ways to strengthen our relationships and develop even further.

Stay tuned to see who we will visit next!

Christmas and New Year event – Nice Côte d’Azur 2016

The CommuniGate Systems Christmas event this year was wonderful; not only was the weather awesome for some fun outside, but with our partners and clients it made the tours around Nice exceptionally memorable! This year we made the theme “niçois” which is the name of the culture in Nice that has specialties to eat, dress, and there is even the dialect to speak. Kind of a blend between French and Italian cultures with a lot of influence from the sea and marine lifestyle.

Durning the week we found the region to be a lot more peaceful and calm. The locals were happy and helpful in the markets around the Cours Saleya and Libération to greet and speak with us about the unique niçois facts about their history, products and the buildings around the “old town” part of the city. However, many of us found that the marché in Libération was very beautiful and reminiscent of markets in Paris along the rue Mouffetard.

Of course there was a good amount of fun with hats and Christmas themed poses under just about everyone’s iPhone; stretching the limits on storage and iCloud quota! But like any team of geeks we had more fun talking about the technology to filter and change the pictures perhaps than anything else.

Like all our events we try to mix in some sport activity and took this trip on the electric bikes that got us up to Mont Boron and around the Castle in the Port region and along the Sea towards Ville Franche and Monaco. We learned that the “e-bike” is really all about assistance to the rider and not like a motor bike or scooter. We had a good mix of Beach cruiser bikes, to BMX style and sport versions that have Bosch motors that can be, let me say, “enhanced”. Like all good electric devices, there is a logic board and controller and that means some good old fashioned programming changes can be a lot of fun ….. But if all else fails  you can always grab a soldering iron and use your high school tech-ed course principals and figure out how to “exchange” the resistors  for added “options”.

Spectacular views are some of the best features of the rolling hills in the region around Nice. The great part is that the climb up the hills is super fun with the electric bikes and the amount of places we could manage to visit in one afternoon was at least 3x more with a large group of people peddling with a little help from the technology from bosch.

One of the downsides of the precipice of mont Boron is that you really do not want to leave and stay on schedule. So like any good amount of southern European cultural influences we adopted the tardiness of our stop for lunch and arrived quite late back on the Port at “le Plongeoir”.

The restaurant is a great place to relax on the sea and not just enjoy the views but some awesome French cuisine. To keep with our theme, we exposed some of the culture of the restaurant history. Durning the belle Époque era there was actually a small ship attached to the rock and later on diving boards for guest to jump off into the sea that can still be seen today.

Our evenings were spent in the “marché de Noël” enjoying the Christmas themed snacks and foods. We also really liked the new fountain and park in the city center that was accordingly decorated to be Christmas like yet still clearly a sea side community.

Winter training academy in Tunisia

Another successful Academy session with new alumni to take a stronger approach to the delivery of Cloud based Unified Communications.  Many of our candidates have been working with CommuniGate Pro for more than a decade and relish the chance to become accredited on the platform thru our training sessions. While some enter the course felling the first level would be too much of a walk in the park; the graduation topics are always centered around how challenging the curriculum actually can be.

For some of us that live in Southern Europe the environment in Tunisia was like being at home. But for our colleagues from the Moscow office the fact that Dates were outside the window for the picking was a “pleasant surprise” along with the fact that you could keep the windows open in December!

No trip to Tunisia can finish without a visit to the Souk. Very traditional and historic; the souk El-bey is right in the vieille ville (old town) and right next to the prime minister offices. A real treat is to sample the “Tunisian sweets” and bargain a little for some spices or scarfs. The local currency is accepted of course, but if you have a few Euro’s in your pocket you can get some movement on the negotiations. Just be careful to use a good calculation on the exchange rates as the vendors talk fast and are sharper than a tack when it comes to money!

The night views of the sea are as spectacular as are the daytime sun covered beaches. Tunisia is very much a tourism paradise with a massive amount of history that keeps you busy at night reading up on the cultural melanges that makes this country a superb choice for not just a visit but to have good business partners like our new graduates from the CommuniGate Systems Academy!

 

 

When will Watson be hungry?

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This week many geeks traveled to IBM Paris in search of intelligence.  Something a bit more; more than what we we have seen as glorified scripts and hashing tables today. Somehow all of us geeks are expecting to walk in to some demo and “finally” the computer will speak and think, not in feeble steps, but somehow in a way that will shock us to gratification.

Of course I am taking about the IBM Watson partner event!  This was an opportunity to see what is new in the “Big Blue” world of Artificial Intelligence or “cognitive” as they coin it these days. For some of us geeks we simply are salivating for the day when we get some sort of response from AI that makes one snap to attention in surprise. That would be the moment of unexpected capitulation that the machine has indeed crossed a crevice that brings us pleasure that we have finally spawned a new form of life. Until then there are some truly amazing advances or steps that demonstrate how we can be more responsive to big data and complexities in the world we live in so far!

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Most interesting for many of us was the assortment of cakes and cookies. Ahhh….got you on that one; just to see if you are reading. Well there were some really amazing French pastries  and the presentations that actually made them better was where we got to see Watson in action!  I really have had more power points in my life than pain chocolat; so being able to get real examples was the highlight of the event for me.

Several partners showed us how interactions with customers can be streamlined and that of course had me thinking about Customer Experience and the Contact Center issues we all face today. Specifically authentication, validation, and routing to the right knowledge bases.

Stay tuned as we will be making a few steps of our own in the direction of cognitive capabilities for better workflows in the Contact Center. Leaving the Watson Partner event that evening we had a good time thinking about how Watson would grow over the next 10 years and learn about us and our world. I wondered if he indeed became aware of himself and the environment around him; would he too be more inclined to ask for brownies or macaroons if he had the choice? Would he be hungry in the sense of interest to taste vs. pure nourishment? We indeed learned a good deal at the event and we pass our gratitudes over to our partner colleagues in the IBM French team!

Alumni Autumn 2016 CommuniGate Academy – Munich

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Our team helped get our partners accredited this week in Munich at our Autumn 2016 academy training sessions. The class was a great mix of people from Universities, integrators, ISPs and Cloud service providers. We had a good time learning about how the platform is used in each particular setting; and what types of external systems are integrated with CommuniGate Pro. For example, on the hosting companies premises we discussed how provisioning and billing systems are working for their needs and with the partners from the Universities we shared security and policy concepts for a diverse campus topology.

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Many of our partners have been using CommuniGate Pro for more than a decade, and some thought starting from the first level of the curriculum would be too easy.  Nevertheless, we found that everyone went away believing that the administrator level I was a challenge with rewards and not a cake walk in the park.  We will hold our next Academy in the Spring 2017. The following structure will be offered throughout the year:

  • Administrator Level I – for all those that use the platform in production as an administrator
  • Engineer Level II – for those wanting a little more on the API’s,  CG/PL development language and customizations
  • Business Applications – Advanced CG/PL applications – Contact Center 2.0 + IVR applications

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All of our events begin with some fun and “geekness” activities. For Munich what better than to have a look at some German engineering and manufacturing? We spent the first day over at the BMW Werk; which means the “production factory” where many of the cars are actually produced with cool robots; simply awesome! You can take the tour yourself, check out the details here “BMW Werk”

Later in the day we had a “BMW Genius” give us a  briefing about Electric Vehicles and the roadmap of their iSeries cars. We got to mess around with the i3 and yeah that really slick i8 supercar was there too.

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We were not allowed to take any photos or video of the Werk tour. ☹️☹️☹️ But this video below over at youtube is actually really good and will give you the idea. Highly recommended if you get to visit Munich!

The view of the city of Munich was beautiful even when wrapped in the clouds. Those buildings are really colorful just like back in Nice. Join us for our next event and until then follow us on Twitter @communigate

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Customer Experience – exasperation amplified because of fraud mitigation at the Contact Center

CCO of the Contact Center operations asks……. “How are we supposed to know who is “really” on phone with a degree of certainty, while not making them pissed answering 99 questions?

Juxtaposition – friendly but  secure Contact Center identity management in the year 2016

 

Angry business woman screaming in rage when she being on the phone. Business concept in communication.
How many times to I have to say what type of ice cream I ate at my first birthday party??!!! Did you never hear about rocky road??? We are sliding down that now madam, I want to speak to your supervisor!!!!!! Now!!!

 

When banks are implementing new layers of security into the call center identity process these days, they are discovering the rates of dissatisfaction from the customer side are spiking in correlation to the very measure intended to “help protect” the client. Alas, across all sectors of the market, the phenomenon appears. Nevertheless, in the financial technology marketplace it is very much a epidemic  because of the very nature of dealing with money….simply put. Additionally, there are commonly added pain to the injuries; augmented by compliance and confidentiality regulations, not just the self imposed internal security decisions. The sheer amount of “hops around Contact Center authentication” we are faced with would make anyones head spin today.

The root of the issue with identity of a person on a telephonic call session is that most of the information provided verbally can be spoofed or impersonated. Instead of just saying our account number or social security number, we are asked about our first car or favorite dessert. Why is it not simple? Financial institutions and many other industries are inundated with all sorts of fraud, especially via hijacked personal information or collusion. The answer then is you must have a Biometric multi-factor identity challenge session that is very simple or non-intrusive to the client.

Fortunately most large banks we have spoken to agree that the best place for this is in the mobile loyalty applications, and 2nd to that is the ability to integrate into the self service web applications for things like transactions or conformation of fraud alerts that are either IVR or push message based.

 

Businessman unlocked phone fingerprint

 

One of the holy grail metrics to achieve for any large contact center is to reduce time on the phone. Since most all banks and financial institutions have mobile loyalty applications, the platform is there to be extended to the Contact Center. This has made the task of accurately identifying the caller on the phone super simple, while also providing new capabilities such as cognitive processing without live CCTR agents thanks to technology like IBM’s Watson.

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Partner News! – IVR Technology builds HealthIT results with Biometrics

Our recent partnership with IVR Technology has produced some amazing results in such a short time. These guys are experts are building telephony applications and have a broad experiences with Contact Center platforms in the Health care market. After a few whiteboard chats we decided we needed a simple demo that would show how Biometrics approvals can be integrated into a common use case scenario while being very simple to use.

Normally when you go to get a blood test you are sent to a lab the tight be outside your doctors office. These means that critical “patient information” is in the hands of somebody that might not have all the information about you to make identity checks. There have been incidents when “results” from a test were “pick up” form somebody impersonating the intended recipient. To make matters worse for the health care provider, there are many rigid compliance regulations to conform with. As always, the more regulations, there is often less flexibility to use technology that is simple and quick to use.

With the IVR Technology results one application we show how a Biometric scan can be used to identify the caller, and then launch a telephonic application to play results of the tests.

Have a look and let us know what you think!

https://activeauth.ivrtechnology.com

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World Hosting Days 2016 – Rust Germany

This year we went to the WHD with our Bulgarian partner ICN.bg and had a great time not just being geeks and talking about hosting, platforms and APIs but we also had a little fun too.

Never would I imagine to have the chance to meet Pelé which me being Brazilian was a major lifetime experience never to be forgotten!

 

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The “fun and games” atmosphere of the event, that took place at Europa Park in Rust, gave us the chance to take a look at what others are doing and to better relate and understand what our customers and partners expect from us.