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Avaya and others are making wearable devices for the call center

Erika Morphy | Sept. 15, 2014
Call center technology provider Avaya has been working on prototypes of wearable hardware and software for use in the call center. It is now moving some of these developments from their labs into customer trials, CITEworld has learned.

Eventually, Thompson envisions a wide range of technologies and form factors that can be deployed in customer service centers, which is why these early steps are so important. "For instance, is it better to have wrist bands for supervisors to receive these notifications or a headset that vibrates, or possibly an intelligent name badge."

Indeed there are a number of form factors that wearables could take in the contact center, Lee Odess, general manager for IoT startup Brivo Labs, tells CITEWorld. "New technology in the call center will boil down to the wearable devices with displays and those without them," he says. "The reason this is important is because it will dictate how the wearable will function. There are two routes wearable devices in a call center might take: using wearables without displays for tasks like signing in, turning on computers or getting meeting reminders, or using wearables with displays to communicate internally, receive notifications and/or metrics, view trainings, or even handle calls directly from wearable glasses."

The contact center rep also stands to benefit from these advances, Odess says. "These new technologies will lead to a movement called BYOW — Bring Your Own Wearable — where employees will be bringing their own wearable devices into a place of work," he says. "These devices will carry their identity and can be used to let them into the building, sign in to their computer, and also create the environment curated to their liking and working needs," such as having the office light turned on in a certain way and the temperature set at 78 degrees.

Avaya's version of wearables: a portable call center

Avaya is also exploring its own version of wearables in the contact center. "We have been hearing about the Internet of things and tend to think in terms of machine-to-machine communication," Avaya CTO Brett Shockley tells CITEWorld. "But wearables have the potential of letting people be part of IoT — and the contact center can facilitate that."

Wearables can also expand the notion of the contact center far beyond physical walls, he continued. Consider the example of a couple looking to buy a new house. The wife might view a house when her husband is not available but he could still see what she is seeing as she tours the home via a wearable. Also on the "call" would be experts such as the home inspector the couple have lined up for an initial view, and possibly a decorator as well. And of course, whatever slew of friends and family members that want to weigh in on the purchase decision. It will be the contact center technology that ties all of these people together and allows them to communicate in real time, Shockley says. Providing health care to a remote patient is another example, he says.

Such collaborative scenarios are basis of the prototypes Avaya has been developing and is prepping for customer trials, Shockley says.

"You'll be hearing about these trials in the coming months," he promises.


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