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NEC Introduces Contact Center in the Cloud

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NEC Introduces Contact Center in the Cloud

July 07, 2015
By Sandra M. Gustavsen
Analyst, Business VoIP

NEC has enhanced its UNIVERGE cloud services with the introduction of a new hosted contact center suite that enables efficient handling of customer communications, whether these are telephone, email or Web interactions. The NEC UNIVERGE Cloud Service Contact Center utilizes technology from partner Enghouse (News - Alert) Interactive (formerly Zeacom) to deliver a suite of cloud services that includes inbound multi-channel communications, outbound dialing, intelligent routing and queuing, self-service via Interactive Voice Response (IVR), multimedia recording, quality monitoring, real-time and historical reporting and more.

NEC (News - Alert) and other cloud providers of late are on-target with the introduction of hosted contact center services and hybrid cloud opportunities. Cloud-based contact center services are an appealing alternative for any business that wants to eliminate the expense of purchasing and installing contact center software and/or hardware on-site and the cost of the ongoing administration and maintenance that follows. A cloud service can be up and running quickly with no need for any new infrastructure or equipment other than an Internet connection and a Web-based client with built-in softphone or an IP phone (with or without an associated desktop PC) for each contact center agent and supervisor.

Data from a number of market research firms confirms that cloud-based contact center solutions are increasingly becoming the preferred deployment model. Research by Frost & Sullivan indicates that the hosted and cloud contact center market is growing at nearly twice the rate of the premises-based contact center system market. IDC forecasts U.S. spending on hosted contact center services to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.9 percent to reach $2.0 billion in 2018. Worldwide, Research and Markets estimates the cloud-based contact center market will grow from $4.15 billion in 2014 to $10.9 billion by 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 21.3 percent.

Cloud Contact Center Packages

NEC’s UNIVERGE Cloud Services Contact Center includes three Agent packages priced with varying levels of functionality and with the flexibility to add on more advanced features and functionality, per agent or per tenant, as needed. Note that the package pricing listed includes the agent extension and the UCaaS extension for business (non-ACD) calls. NEC UCaaS is the company’s hosted version of its UNIVERGE 3C software-based unified communications and collaboration on-premises solution.

  • Basic Agent supports inbound voice-centric ACD queuing and routing with skills-based routing and real-time and historical reporting. Basic Agent starts at $60 per agent per month.
  • Standard Agent builds on the Basic Agent package, adding a desktop call control client and support for shared presence status information with other NEC UCaaS subscribers. NEC also offers a selection of add-on functionality (per agent and/or system-wide) for an extra fee. Standard Agent starts at $90 per agent per month.
  • Advanced Agent incorporates all Basic and Standard Agent features and supports a connector for a basic call tracking, screen-pop capability. Subscribers can select from a variety of add-on functionality (per agent and/or system-wide) for an extra fee. Advanced Agent starts at $95 per agent per month.

Agent Feature Add-Ons include the supervisor role, shared presence with NEC UNIVERGE 3C users, call tracking, media recording, screen recording and outbound predictive dialing (future). Tenant Resources Add-Ons (system-wide capabilities) include the administrator role, touch-tone IVR, additional voice and/or IVR ports, professional services, email queuing, Web chat queuing and outbound preview dialing. Additional CRM integration is available through a professional services engagement.

Image via Shutterstock

A Hybrid Cloud Approach

NEC UNIVERGE Cloud Services Contact Center is deployed as a public cloud offering (hosted in an NEC data center) or as a privately managed service (hosted in an organization’s own data center). It is closely integrated with NEC’s unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) cloud-based solution, but can also function with an on-site system such as NEC’s UNIVERGE 3C or with the NEC SV9000 communications server or even an IP-PBX (News - Alert) system from another vendor via SIP trunking.

Hybrid cloud solutions can be a perfect fit for businesses that have an existing phone system already located on-site, but want to incorporate new functionality, such as contact center, without the hassle of purchasing, installing and maintaining additional hardware and software on-site. The pay-as-you-go model afforded by cloud-based services will make sense for a business that is not yet ready to move all of their communications to the cloud. Read more about how a number of vendors are addressing the hybrid cloud opportunity.

NEC’s UNIVERGE Cloud Services Contact Center is available in the United States with other regions to follow. A meet-me audio conferencing service was introduced last fall, and NEC is planning to release several more hybrid cloud solutions, including Web Collaboration, Emergency Conferencing and Mass Notification. Stay tuned.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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