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Friday, May 24th, 2019


'Presence' the key to effective unified communications

Just like a good search engine works better for you when it knows things about you and your context - to provide you with the most relevant information and links you need - so does good communications in a call center environment make customers come back again and again. This the analogy Ken Kannappan, CEO of Plantronics, uses to explain the importance of a good unified communications (UC) solution.

We caught up with Plantronics CEO Ken Kannappan at the leading audio communications player’s 50th anniversary celebrations and the opening of its new Asia Pacific hub in Suzhou, China in April 2011. Inevitably, the conversation revolved around UC.

His definition of UC is "instant messaging, voice, video, conferencing, desktop sharing and unified messaging all rolled into one". And the key to effective UC is "presence".

Kannappan explains what presence is all about: "Cell phones disrupt the actual availability of people. You may be at your desk, but you can’t answer a landline call because you’re busy on the cell phone. A calendar program may show someone is not available, when he actually is, because a meeting was postponed or ended early." The former is not truly present, while the latter actually is - but not regarded as present by the system in the enterprise.

This is important because “every business wants speed. But 70% of business calls are missed,” he adds. The Plantronics UC system defines someone on the cell phone as unavailable. If a headset is switched on and the phone rings, the system automatically knows you’re available and ready to answer the call. Other applications on your computer are then paused for you to answer the call.

The highest levels of adoption of UC are expected in organizations that fit the following criteria:

  • Firms with high unutilized real estate (especially in reputable CBD offices). For instance, 50% of consulting firms’ staff are not at their office desk to answer their calls. They could be travelling, visiting clients, or working from home. A UC solution offers such staff a full suite of communication and office applications.

  • Firms with significant travel expenditures involving expert and professional services such as geologists, researchers and oil-rig construction. With UC, such enterprises can leverage expert resources more effectively, even when they’re travelling.

  • Technology companies, which are usually not vertically integrated. But serving global markets requires a lot of communication, interaction and cooperation - and UC solutions meet these needs.