Telephony just got a whole lot better

Telephones icons device vector

We have a new wave of technology upon us that will make phone calls very powerful for contact centers. This major change is the convergence of the Internet and how technology like WebRTC and Biometrics will shore up some of the pitfalls of telephonic transactions, both from the business side needs and demands, but also delivery of a better experience for the consumer. First, let us take a look at the major “problem” of telephony; knowing who you are talking to is just plain difficult if not impossible. Just like the implosion of password security across the Internet, telephony has also suffered, in terms of ease of use and prevention of fraud, ironically phone calls to call centers suffer from similar methods of prevention techniques that the Internet has imposed upon us. Without Biometrics or some form of multi-factor based authentication system in place, you really never know who you are speaking to. Great example I love to give, is that my girlfriend often makes calls “in my name” to contact centers, because she speaks much better French than me. Hum, that means anyone can impersonate another; with the right information at hand. Kind of like having the password cracker for a web app, no?

So what does a contact center do to make things more safe and reduce fraud? Add layers and layers of questions to the identity session, that really in the end are doing little on the security side, as I point out in my example that with access to the “personal information” one can override all these efforts. But what is more damaging to the brand is the resulting frustration from these mitigation techniques and time “on the call” is ballooning. One major bank in the USA told me recently that shaving 30 seconds from a call can save millions. Hum, and if they are adding “minutes” to the call to ask what cake and ice cream I eat on my birthday, what does that cost? Add to this pain, whenever there is a transaction (purchase or payment) we are often reading off a multitude of digits and codes and billing address information that amplifies all the QoS metrics further.

Businessman unlocked phone fingerprint

Is there some silver bullet we can glean from the Internet lessons we have suffered over the past decade? Perhaps not just silver, but I dare say there is some gold to be dug. Many of us have experienced the ability to gain access to our phone or a website or pay for something using Biometrics. But what if that same concept was moved over to telephony? Now when I call into my bank, I can identify myself, or approve a transaction. That same technique not only provides a smooth and nearly “fun” experience to the customer, it also puts a nail into the basis of fraud, and collusion. Our Biometric system for telephony is built into our contact center and can be extended to yours or to nearly any application that leverages telephony. Meaning IVR systems, self care websites and cognitive alert systems banks use to prevent fraud.

Lets now look at the other part of the wave of Internet technology that we need to jump upon to stay afloat and ahead of the sharks, as it pertains to the world of telephony; that being WebRTC. There has been tons of activity in this emergent “gem of goodies”, that is more of an API specification than any sort of application or protocol. For contact center systems, we perhaps stand to gain one of the most significant benefits of the specification collectively because we base our core functions around the telephonic media. Why? simply put WebRTC will allow us and the caller to be anyplace there is an Internet connection and web browser. That means agents can be placed or pooled virtually, but consumers can also use the website to change from clicking to talking in a split second. Mix that with biometric identify capabilities, and you have some tangible change that will benefit all sides of the equation like never before.

WebRTC not only provides “virtualization” capabilities to the contact center agents, but also the ability to provision agents within seconds. No longer will dedicated equipment and software packages be rolled out, but rather permissions and accounts on a Cloud system that scales to the needs of the organization with fluidity. Telephony will remain in our view the core  medium of communications for some time to come in the contact center environment. Yes, this will be enhanced, and complimented with chat, file or desktop sharing and video sessions. But the telephonic agent call will not go away soon; with WebRTC and Biometric identity new life has not just been breathed into voice, but these technologies have re-positioned a telephone call into a trusted business tool with confidence and reliability.

Customer Experience – exasperation amplified because of fraud mitigation at the Contact Center

CCO of the Contact Center operations asks……. “How are we supposed to know who is “really” on phone with a degree of certainty, while not making them pissed answering 99 questions?

Juxtaposition – friendly but  secure Contact Center identity management in the year 2016


Angry business woman screaming in rage when she being on the phone. Business concept in communication.
How many times to I have to say what type of ice cream I ate at my first birthday party??!!! Did you never hear about rocky road??? We are sliding down that now madam, I want to speak to your supervisor!!!!!! Now!!!


When banks are implementing new layers of security into the call center identity process these days, they are discovering the rates of dissatisfaction from the customer side are spiking in correlation to the very measure intended to “help protect” the client. Alas, across all sectors of the market, the phenomenon appears. Nevertheless, in the financial technology marketplace it is very much a epidemic  because of the very nature of dealing with money….simply put. Additionally, there are commonly added pain to the injuries; augmented by compliance and confidentiality regulations, not just the self imposed internal security decisions. The sheer amount of “hops around Contact Center authentication” we are faced with would make anyones head spin today.

The root of the issue with identity of a person on a telephonic call session is that most of the information provided verbally can be spoofed or impersonated. Instead of just saying our account number or social security number, we are asked about our first car or favorite dessert. Why is it not simple? Financial institutions and many other industries are inundated with all sorts of fraud, especially via hijacked personal information or collusion. The answer then is you must have a Biometric multi-factor identity challenge session that is very simple or non-intrusive to the client.

Fortunately most large banks we have spoken to agree that the best place for this is in the mobile loyalty applications, and 2nd to that is the ability to integrate into the self service web applications for things like transactions or conformation of fraud alerts that are either IVR or push message based.


Businessman unlocked phone fingerprint


One of the holy grail metrics to achieve for any large contact center is to reduce time on the phone. Since most all banks and financial institutions have mobile loyalty applications, the platform is there to be extended to the Contact Center. This has made the task of accurately identifying the caller on the phone super simple, while also providing new capabilities such as cognitive processing without live CCTR agents thanks to technology like IBM’s Watson.



Multi-Tenant Contact Center

Providing a SaaS solution at scale is more about change management than what sort of redundancy or virtualization you choose. In the CCTR (Contact Center) spectrum of the market a Cloud solution has to be highly flexible and adapt to ever changing environments. While some enterprise CCTR deployments might appear on the “face of it” to be similar, likewise CRM or telecom, each will have unique IVR structures, agent topologies, and skills based routing that differ. This of course means if you want to provide a Cloud based CCTR offering the reality is each and every instance or customer will have unique configurations that demand a multi-tenant platform.

datacenter-01-01Often times we find in the data center many “solution applications” which are intended for a single “domain” or company because the architecture is simply not a platform with multi-tenancy capabilities. Problems begin for managed services for even single enterprises as the grow and demand solutions that can segment yet provide a system image of the organization. Good example of that is expansion internationally, or mergers with new requirements. With that in mind, the work around it deploying an instance of a server for each domain. Many if not all major VoIP backends are like that, making complex VoIP applications with any significant IVR or web logic more difficult to support as a Cloud system for 1,000’s of clients.

A true hosting platform would have the ability to define realms (domains) each of which having their own administrators and users as a core function. Further, a hosting platform will also have an architecture that can mange multi-telcos with parallel billing and redundancy. At CommuniGate Systems we take it even a step further and enable each container to have its own brand and applications that run independently of other domain realms, yet run on that same “CGatePro system image”. That way fully white label, yet manageable at extreme scale with thousands of domains on a single Dynamic Cluster image.

CommuniGate Pro was built for hosting and has a full programming environment that delivers capabilities at scale no other Contact Center solution for application hosting providers can match. What this means is that you can have applications built for HealthCare running while also servicing FinTech needs with completely different applications all running on one Dynamic Cluster as a Cloud platform. Now, as change management comes into play, machines and applications can be changed with no downtime. Yeah, zero downtime is really how a Cloud solution should perform. Users do not want hear about “being offline on the weekend for maintenance”. Unfortunately many of the large Cloud based systems out there today simply do not provide uptime that a hosting platform must have.

Have a read about how this all works in our PDF


CGate Multi-tenant platform

Reducing fraud one finger at a time

The top security issue banks and financial departments have today is prevention of fraud at the contact center. Conversely, for us consumers calling into get support or discuss payments with a billing center is painful. The IVR hell and hoops agents make us go thru is time consuming and frustration galore. With all the tricks of fraud today, we are asked to say not just ever more complex passphrase info, but we are now asked to reveal personal info too. Like what we like or not.

Our mobile loyalty app framework is a turn key solution that reduces pain in identity or transaction approval challenges, while delivering a robust anti-fraud system. It works like this. When you call into the Contact Center and identify yourself with traditional means or by the caller ID of the phone you are using the agent can send a push notification to your Biometric enabled device. This device is registered to you, and will be promoted to scan your finger. Upon a successful Biometric conformation on the mobile device the Agent is informed that you are indeed whom you claim to be.

The same mechanism can be used for transactions or alerts. Couple examples of that are stuff we see more and ore of these days. Like your credit card being blocked because of suspicious activity and having to either call into the bank, or click things off an email or SMS. But also just like you can make purchases in the Apple iTunes store, imagine now you can also approve transactions while on a call with billing department or bank teller.


Biometrics poster ainimated faster

Partner News! – IVR Technology builds HealthIT results with Biometrics

Our recent partnership with IVR Technology has produced some amazing results in such a short time. These guys are experts are building telephony applications and have a broad experiences with Contact Center platforms in the Health care market. After a few whiteboard chats we decided we needed a simple demo that would show how Biometrics approvals can be integrated into a common use case scenario while being very simple to use.

Normally when you go to get a blood test you are sent to a lab the tight be outside your doctors office. These means that critical “patient information” is in the hands of somebody that might not have all the information about you to make identity checks. There have been incidents when “results” from a test were “pick up” form somebody impersonating the intended recipient. To make matters worse for the health care provider, there are many rigid compliance regulations to conform with. As always, the more regulations, there is often less flexibility to use technology that is simple and quick to use.

With the IVR Technology results one application we show how a Biometric scan can be used to identify the caller, and then launch a telephonic application to play results of the tests.

Have a look and let us know what you think!

Results Line