When Avaya (News - Alert) announced its latest call center product, the message was clear: WebRTC is ready for prime time. It also underscored the long-standing theory that the customer service market would be the most likely candidate for early success. Interestingly, the theory was always based on the idea that every customer has multiple web-enabled endpoints that could leverage WebRTC to contact agents, but Avaya has actually made the agent the WebRTC user.
Avaya Agent for Chrome is a low-cost, no-fuss contact center solution launched in association with Google (News - Alert), leveraging the latter’s cloud platform. It pushes the limits of ease deploying remote or home-based agents. It effectively creates an army of Chrome-based agents that leverage cloud-based applications to perform their functions. It is also a low-risk deployment, as hardware costs are low and corporate data is not stored on the devices.
“The cost of setting up and onboarding a new agent is small; the amount it takes for them to be productive is also greatly reduced; and risk is limited while productivity is increased,” explains Joe Manuele, senior vice president and general manager of global cloud services at Avaya.
Avaya has long supported the larger contact center market with Aura Contact Center, but it now is clearly looking toward the lower end of the market – specifically, the nearly 60 million Google Apps users who have already shown a desire to move to cloud-based business apps. The solution, which was developed through direct collaboration with Google’s Chrome team, comprises a native Chrome contact center application that terminates calls within the browser, limiting the need for additional hardware or software to a Bluetooth or USB headset.
“Their appetite for moving their contact center technology to the cloud is very synergistic to what we’re doing,” notes Manuele.
In addition to enabling progressive SMBs to migrate further to the cloud, Avaya Agent for Chrome adds a cloud-based offer for its 10,000 existing channel partners, which have, to date, been locked into a much more rigidly designed Aura offer, a much tougher sell to this market. Instead, the Google-like look and feel of Avaya Agent for Chrome will be both an attractive, cost-effective offer for businesses, while giving resellers a profitable recurring revenue stream.
For the agent, it provides a hassle-free work environment. With little hardware or software that can fail to worry about, they are able to focus on their full efforts on serving customers. The compute power behind the application lies in the cloud, as does all the storage for customer records, so all that is required is a simple login to access the agent console – no different than logging into Google Apps.
While the cloud has become a haven for many businesses, thanks to its cost benefits and process enhancements, the typically high turnover in the contact center market makes it an ideal alternative to traditional on-premises or even other cloud-based solutions. With a near-zero overhead and risk model, neither turnover nor seasonal expansion become an issue. In fact, the enterprising VAR may well find an opportunity to add revenue by leasing Chromebooks, especially for seasonal scalability.
While Avaya has traditionally been seen as an enterprise player, Avaya Agent for Chrome provides a real opportunity to penetrate the SMB market with not only a cost-effective alternative, but one that leverages the latest in communications technology. With a WebRTC-based agent, connecting a WebRTC-based customer becomes a hassle-free experience (no gateway required) that may also drive the integration of WebRTC into websites to increase engagement opportunities.
“It’s time,” adds Manuele. “WebRTC is ready.”
Incidentally, the latest and greatest market-ready WebRTC opportunities – as well as the opportunities that lie ahead – will be the topic of heavy discussion in Miami, May 12-14, at WebRTC Conference & Expo (www.webrtcexpo.com). I hope to see you there.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino