AI, bots and contextual comms are the future of enterprise communications
As innovations continue to evolve at a rapid pace, ITSPs are under increasing pressure to establish differentiated services, writes Rob Pickering, the chief executive of IPCortex. One hot topic of discussion that triggers much debate is how artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots and machine learning will shake up communications in the coming years. Indeed, it would be no exaggeration to say we are ushering in a major communications revolution from the perspectives of people to people, people to machine, machine to people, and machine-to-machine (M2M), and that spells opportunity for ITSPs.
We’re already becoming more used to talking with machines, driven mostly within the consumer realm with the likes of Siri and Alexa, but also gaining traction in the world of business. Contact centres are starting to use chatbots to deal with common queries and complaints based on database suggestions, and some councils are using a form of AI as a virtual agent to deal with front line requests. As the number of interactions increase, robots like this will learn rapidly and improve.
However, the impact of AI and machine learning extends far beyond just chatbots. There is another innovation taking root in the industry: contextual communications. Made possible by open web technologies like WebRTC, it enables context to be added to every communication making customer interactions more efficient, personalised and engaged. These contextual communication applications mesh together pertinent information in real-time from CRM systems and other databases to deal with customer enquiries via web video, text chat or through a mobile app.
This is where AI can make a dramatic impact. Determining the right information and communication context to serve, informed by a wealth of data, leads to better decision-making throughout sales or customer service processes, which ultimately leads to a greater customer experience. This applies equally to customer facing chatbots, as it does to virtual assistants that recommend the next course of action for a customer service agent or salesperson to take. Move a stage further and cognitive interactions will understand accents, sentiment and context, enabling even greater personalisation and decision making capabilities – a far cry from today’s annoying automated services.
The real-time enterprise of the future will be able to communicate with its employees and customers in context – at the right time, with the right people, in the right application. This is the future of enterprise communications. It will ultimately ‘hide’ communication as it becomes integral and inherent within applications. We will have reached the point where we won’t even think about communication as a stand-alone operation but instead it will be something that happens naturally within the context of what we are doing.
These developments mean the future looks bright for ITSPs who will be in a position to offer propositions that can potentially deliver huge productivity gains and boost efficiencies – and importantly, a much more natural communications experience for their customers.