Original post on Customer Magazine
The ongoing migration to everything-as-a-service (XaaS) solutions and telco cloud continues to disrupt old business models and traditional hardware/software architectures associated with the last two decades of legacy IT infrastructure.
With so much to gain, cloud contact centers are expected to grow at a stunning pace, with the cloud contact center industry valued at $14.5 billion in 2021 and projected to reach $82.43 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 21.3% in that period, according to Straits Research.
Legacy network infrastructure cannot keep up with the amount of data being generated, including granular data many contact center operators, including large BPOs, are collecting and analyzing in real time, using Robotic Process Automation (RPA), AI and machine learning. That, combined with the growing popularity of multimedia video and multiparty conversations, there is no choice except to move to the cloud. The greatest challenge today for cloud contact centers is quality at the edge – the ability for home-based agents to serve customers efficiently with great voice, video, and messaging services that are increasingly personalized for the opt-in consumer’s convenience.
Add to that the explosion of edge devices. According to Statista Research, the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices worldwide is forecast to almost triple from 9.7 billion in 2020 to more than 29 billion IoT devices in 2030, adding to the billions of smartphones, tablets, and computers – all of which need to not only work, but work consistently and in “high definition” to be attractive to consumers and businesses, and competitive in a hyper-connected world.
As the contact center industry looks to cloud computing, the movement is fundamentally based on the concept of outsourcing IT infrastructure and maintenance need to a third party, which accounts for the dramatic growth in the Managed Service Provider (MSP) space. MSPs are leading in developing edge solutions that support distributed telco cloud solutions in the contact center space,
Unlike traditional cloud solutions, “edge” computing takes advantage of the inherent benefits a distributed architecture offers but requires innovation at the edge to invoke the assistance of those edge devices to manage, perform, and deliver quality, especially in the new age of the “borderless enterprise.”
With edge computing to complement the already massive migration to cloud solutions, the ability to meet today’s requirements while preparing for tomorrow’s is already within reach.
This week, global MSP ConnX, a multiservice communication platform integrator and service provider, and Nectar Services Corp., which delivers actionable insights for the cloud collaboration and contact center markets, announced the availability of an advanced edge experience assurance solution, designed to ensure every voice and collaboration interaction is excellent on every endpoint and every step of the way.
ConnX has been managing large enterprise networks in the retail, manufacturing, healthcare, government, and financial services sectors for nearly three decades, and their extremely popular ConnX Virtual Edge (CVE) has been in place and serving Fortune 500 companies as real-time communications and collaboration shifted dramatically to the cloud.
Nectar’s software solutions, delivered as a service in the cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid model, are embedded into the ConnX AI Active Assurance offering. Nectar brings to the collaboration dynamic geospatial dashboards which provide location-based views of usage and user experience metrics that enable IT support and managed services teams to drill down on individual users, locations, and sessions to quickly troubleshoot issues.
These user-based dashboards give ConnX managed services support teams full context into an individual user’s devices, client versions, and network connections with correlated insights and a real-time health assessment (powered by Nectar’s proprietary User Health Index) for fast troubleshooting. ConnX integrates Nectar’s solution into a broader partner ecosystem, simplifying the client experience and helping resolve issues more efficiently.
“ConnX has been working with Nectar for over ten years, collaborating with them through the rapid evolution from traditional infrastructure to cloud networking solutions,” said Jeff Li, Senior Director, Risk, Governance, Partners, and Projects at ConnX. “By bringing together two talented engineering teams around a common vision – to bring the highest quality real-time communications services to enterprise customers and contact center and CX providers at a level they’ve never seen before – we are dramatically improving how the ‘borderless enterprise’ can deliver consistently excellent interactions with their customers and partners. The pandemic caused us to work harder and faster than ever as the evolution to the cloud became a revolution, and together our offering addresses the hardest challenges.”
“Working with ConnX, we’ve been able to bring enterprises more visibility into private, public, and hybrid cloud UCaaS services,” said Steph Shaw, Strategic Alliance Manager, Nectar. “Our combination of strengths, including our great teams and common vision, make it possible to bring enterprises and departments insights their teams need. We are proud to enhance ConnX’s AI Active Assurance premium offerings and support their next-level AI SD-WAN capabilities.”
Nectar was founded on the idea that voice and video are a unique workload within IT, and over the years, it has proven its value in day-to-day telephony operations within many of the world’s largest organizations.
By instrumenting devices being used for everyday internal and external communications with additional software, the two companies have gone way beyond intelligent routing for quality and resiliency, advancing into software that validates and makes instantly visible controls associated with the management of every session.
The future is applying analytics to generate BI insights that have a direct impact on business outcomes, whether companies wish to grow revenues by improving customer experience or to improve profitability.
“We are very proud of our collective solution and grateful for the partnerships we have been blessed with as we have always been able to succeed when we can truly help leaders across the entire organization to drive increasingly positive business outcomes,” Li said.
Last year, the GSMA published a white paper on the “Telco Edge Cloud,” saying an application is considered edge-native when it takes full advantage of the intrinsic benefits edge computing provides (like low latency, performance, security, or proximity), using an architecture specifically designed to run on a distributed network of edge nodes.
“To run in such distributed processing environments, edge-native applications demand a tighter integration with the underlying networks, over and above basic edge hosting capabilities,” the paper said. “Such network-integrated applications are typically designed following a different set of principles to non-edge-native applications. In addition to a modular design to facilitate the deployment to multiple locations, edge-native applications are flexible and portable to be able to run on different types of edge hardware and show some specific characteristics, including high-performance real-time application capabilities, service continuity, low-latency to reduce jitter and other quality disruptions, and security.
Together, ConnX and Nectar are solving for the automated management and optimization at the Telco Edge, which both companies believe is impossible to do without AI included at the edge, monitoring every device, application, and broadband availability.