Interactive Intelligence announces upcoming ‘pure’ cloud product, sets sights on cloud

Interactive Intelligence is leaning toward the cloud as it sets its sights on further growth in the contact center market.


CEO and founder Donald Brown announced at the company’s Interactions 2013 event today that the company will next year launch a multi-tenant ‘totally cloud and web-based’ contact center offering, built on Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) cloud computing platform.


According to Brown, the service, dubbed Purecloud, will likely result in much lower costs for customers. “AWS has the least expensive IT infrastructure and we’re able to use servers by the penny per second. This cost is also decreasingly steadily,” said Brown.


PureCloud will be Linux and Javascript-based to ensure access via web browser. The initial version of Purecloud will be missing some features available in the company’s flagship Customer Interaction Centre product, with the first iterations targeted at small to medium customers who want basic call center functionality.


Current challenges associated with a pure web-based contact center solution, according to Brown, lie with handling the ‘nitty gritty of voice’. A Purecloud implementation will  be facilitated via an edge device capable of handling voice, SIP gateway, SBC, fax, conferencing, IVR, speech, video, basic IP PBX.


The edge device will sit on a customer’s network and provide connectivity to the telco in addition to media type services; AWS will handle applications services such as routing, record keeping, statistical calculations, storage, database, email and SMS.


A Purecloud customer’s voice traffic will not leave the customer network and the edge device will ensure a degree of continuity in the form of routing, recording and IVR even if connection to the cloud fails, claimed Brown. Purecloud will not be available as a private cloud option.

The Purecloud announcement forms part of the Interactive Intelligence’s cloud strategy, with the other being its existing CaaS (Communications as a Service) offerings for both small to medium and large enterprises.


Revenue-wise, the company’s cloud-based orders increased 123% last year and accounted for 35% of total orders, up from 23% in 2011.


“The cloud is changing how contact center services are delivered,” said Dustin Kehoe, an Australia-based research director at IDC. “Before the cloud, companies had to deal with things like MPLS, with every layer consisting of both complexity and cost. Business processes were the last thing to be thought about.


“With the cloud, companies can think about business processes first and then proceed to other aspects.”


Kehoe added that recent high-speed connectivity options such as Australia’s national broadband network and other fiber optic networks are driving the trend toward the cloud and mobility, doing away with the need for call center staff to be tied to a single location.


Purecloud’s RESTAPI, an open standard, will facilitate integration with and major CRM systems, with purported potential for Big data and analytics. Citing IDC research conducted last year, Kehoe named Australia, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong New Zealand and South Korea as markets in the Asia Pacific furthest along in the Big data journey.


Industry manager at Frost & Sullivan Krishna Baiyad said Purecloud’s fully web-based nature would appeal to certain market segments contributes toward Interactive Intelligence’s vision to cater to contact centers both big and small. “The service does offer good features and if priced right, will prove attractive for small centers, temporary expansion requirements or even internal employee help desks,” said Baiyad.


In the Asia Pacific, Interactive Intelligence experienced 158% growth by revenue in the ANZ region, due mainly to its focus on the FSI industry and the market’s encouraging shift toward the cloud. Managing director for Interactive Intelligence in ANZ Brendan Maree shared that just 1 of the 7 contacts currently being negotiated in his region is premise-based.


Country manager for Interactive Intelligence in Japan Keith Martin noted a similar shift toward the cloud, despite the country’s contact center market seeing just 1 – 2% growth last year.


Regional general manager for Interactive Intelligence APEJ Simon Lee stated the region is a tough one to operate in, with emerging countries such as Cambodia and Laos being lacking funds to do business in. Price pressures from local vendors in markets such as India have also shifted the company’s focus away from the country for now, Lee shared.