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July 23, 2009

Service Segment to Emerge as Focus Area for Communications Technology: IVR Expert

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

The service segment represents the strongest growth opportunity in the communications industry, the head of an interactive voice response, or “IVR” company told TMCnet in an interview.
Ron Burris, president of iFront End Technologies, told TMC (News - Alert) President Rich Tehrani in an interview – printed in full below – that more and more customers are demanding better support for less money.

“I see this as a trend for years to come,” Burris said.
Burris – whose company is exhibiting for the first time this year at ITEXPO West 2009 – also said that the proliferation of WiFi (News - Alert), despite the technology’s popularity, raises security, bandwidth and environmental concerns that are still largely unknown.
Their full exchange follows.
Rich Tehrani (News - Alert): What has the economic crisis taught you, and how has it changed your customers?
Ron Burris: The economic crisis has taught us to provide more value then ever to our customers. Our customers are looking for ways to save money and get the most value at the same time.
RT: How is this down economy affecting your decisions to reinvest in your company or market, if at all? Where will you invest?
RB: We are investing more in our service sector than ever… The competition will continue to become more aggressive and we plan on being the “aggressive one.”
RT: What’s the strongest segment in the communications industry?
RB: I believe that the service segment will be the strongest growth opportunity in the communications industry. I believe that customers will demand better support for less money. I see this as a trend for years to come.
RT: With the rise of smartphones and netbooks, many wireless technologies, such as WiFi, appear to be poised for rapid growth. For example, we’re seeing more and more airlines add in-flight WiFi. In general, how widespread should WiFi be, in your view?
RB: Personally, I am not a fan of WiFi. I have concerns about security, bandwidth and environmental impacts that are unknown at this time. Our world is pumping too much technology through the airwaves and the overall impact is yet to be seen.
RT: Which nation or region of the world will present the largest opportunity for your company in 2009/10?
RB: I see Europe as the biggest growth opportunity.
RT: In what ways is President Barack Obama helping or hindering the technology markets? What more can he do?
RB: I see President Obama’s vision and cabinet appointments he has already made a sign that he is serious about technology, the question is what is his overall plan and how will his cabinet execute his plan.
RT: What device or devices do you use, and what do you wish you used?
RB: I like to keep it simple: desktop, laptop and cell phone.
RT: What has the iPhone 3G taught us? I know it’s very new, but what about the Palm Pre? What are we learning from the smartphones based on the open source Google (News - Alert) Android platform?
RB: It has taught us that the masses will spend money on technologies they don’t necessary need for business, but enjoy for entertainment value.
RT: I understand you are exhibiting Sept. 1 to 3 at ITEXPO West in Los Angeles. What will you show there? Describe the companies or people who should come to your exhibit.
RB: This is our first trade show and we feel it was time to get in front of potential customers to let them know that we can not only save them money, but provide a service level that will exceed expectations. Our “bread and butter” has always been IVR development and support and we have taken our support one step further with our “iMonitorIT” monitoring service.
We are looking to speak to anyone responsible or involved with Interactive Voice Response, or “IVR” systems.
RT: Why should customers choose your company’s solutions? How do they justify the expense to management?
RB: Customers will choose our company solutions, because we provide great value at a cost that will fit anyone’s budget. Our clients can justify the expense of our services, by understanding that we are helping them retain their customers.

Learn more about iFront End Technologies at ITEXPO West — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO (News - Alert) West will take place in Los Angeles, Sept. 1 to 3, 2009, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Visit iFront End at booth #327 in the exhibit hall. Don’t wait. Register now.

Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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