ICCM 2001, CHICAGO - July 31, 2001 - Cisco Systems, Inc., the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, today announced at the 2001 ICCM Call Center Management Conference & Exposition (Booth # 517) in Chicago, new solution enhancements for the Cisco Internet Protocol Contact Center (IPCC) solution. With this announcement, Cisco is solidifying its position as a complete, IP-based end-to-end contact center solution delivering a viable ACD (automatic call distributor) alternative.
A key part of Cisco AVVID (Architecture for Voice, Video and Data), the Cisco IPCC solution is an integrated suite of IP telephony and contact center solutions that provides intelligent call routing and multimedia contact management over a single converged IP network for multi-site or single-site enterprise call centers. Several customers such as RESPONSE Services Center, a leading telematics and location-based service center; BKW FMB Energie AG (BKW), one of the largest energy providers in Switzerland; and vCustomer, a global services company offering outsourced customer support and knowledge management solutions from India, have deployed the Cisco IPCC solution to maximize resource productivity and raise the quality of interactions within their contact centers.
Volvo Information Technology of North America, a communications solutions provider for the Volvo Group and selected other customers, is implementing the Cisco IPCC solution instead of an ACD-centric solution due to the scalability, broader functionality and customer tracking across multiple channels that only an IP-based system can provide.
"There is no question that eventually, most contact centers will be based on IP technologies. It's the only way you can handle the growing number of IP-based contact channels such as email, the Web, chat and video," said Bob Pausch, supervisor of network communications at Volvo IT North America.
"The ability to effectively manage these new channels is critical - and an IP platform enables us to innovate to better maximize resource productivity. IP telephony versus ACD reliability was a question though. But in the Cisco IPCC solution, we found a very reliable and scalable solution that interoperates with circuit-based equipment and gives us the flexibility to operate centralized and distributed high performance contact centers."
"Traditionally, customers had limited choices when deciding what technologies will help drive the capabilities of their contact center," explained Brett Shockley, vice president and general manager of the Customer Contact Business Unit at Cisco Systems. "Deploying an ACD was the default strategy. But with the reliability, scalability and integration enhancements to the Cisco IPCC solution, customers not only have a realistic alternative, but an end-to-end solution that can open new contact channels to take their customer management to the next level."
New enhancements to the Cisco IPCC solution
Some new enhancements to the Cisco IPCC solution include increased application integration from the Cisco Intelligent Contact Management (ICM) 4.6 software, a key component of the Cisco IPCC solution, which features Cisco's new computer telephony integration (CTI) platform - the Cisco CTI Object Server (CTI OS).
To ensure intelligent, quality interactions with customers, enterprises need to integrate telephony data with contact center applications in order to seamlessly share this data across their contact center. However, achieving robust customized CTI in the contact center is a time consuming, complex task. Cisco CTI OS helps to ease the pain of customized integration within the contact center by offering a number of programmatic interfaces for customers and technology providers to choose from (Java, COM, C, C++) as they deploy specific CTI solutions such as softphone, screen pop, and integration to third party technologies, in either server-to-server or desktop-to-server integration modes.
Consistent, rapid and reliable call routing is critical to run a successful contact center. The software-based call-processing engine behind the Cisco IPCC solution, Cisco CallManager 3.1, addresses this need for high availability through clustering for ensured redundancy, reliability and scalability. Cisco CallManager 3.1 server clusters, which can be managed as a single entity, can scale up to 10,000 users per cluster and by interlinking multiple clusters, system capacity can be increased up to one million users in a 100-site system. Clustering also aggregates the power of multiple, distributed Cisco CallManagers, enhancing the scalability and accessibility of the servers to phones, gateways, and applications. This triple call-processing server redundancy consequently improves overall system availability within the contact center.
In related announcements, Cisco also today announced several relationships with application and go-to-market vendors (see related news release issued today- "Cisco IP Contact Center Solution Builds Momentum and Enjoys Broad Marketplace Support") for broad contact center functionality and support.Based on open standards, the Cisco IPCC solution interoperates with both legacy Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) and IP infrastructures which helps enterprises extend investments in existing legacy technology as they transition to IP-based networks. Through IP, companies can reduce costs, increase scalability, open new contact channels to their customers and innovate to maximize contact center resources. For example, with the Cisco IPCC solution, businesses can easily extend the boundaries of the contact center enterprise utilizing IP to include branch offices, at-home agents, and knowledge workers.
Pricing and Availability
The new release of the Cisco IPCC solution will be available in Q3 of 2001 through Cisco and the following system integration companies: eLoyalty Corporation, Fulcra Solutions, Hewlett-Packard Consulting, IBM Global Services, Innova Solutions, KPMG Consulting, Inc., NetEffect, and Spanlink Communications. Pricing for the Cisco IPCC solution is dependent on configuration.