Interactive Intelligence introduced a new iteration of its flagship contact center automation and enterprise IP (Internet protocol) telephone software platform. Customer Interaction Center (CIC) and Vonexus Enterprise Interaction Center (EIC) version 3.0 include upgraded security, new deployment and integration technologies — it introduced a public API (application programming interface), for example, that allows users to create custom apps — as well as enhanced mobility features.
Many of the features in version 3.0 — the new easily configured polycom telephones, for instance — directly benefit Interactive Intelligence’s long standing corporate constituents: SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses).
However, the polycom phone, along with the company’s top-of-the-line security enhancements and new integration technologies, are also serving double duty as a lure for the enterprise customer, Ken Landoline, senior analyst for the Yankee Group told CRM Buyer.
Interactive Intelligence is on a mission to move upstream now that its foothold among SMBs is secure, he said, and it has made the necessary changes to its product lineup to meet these market needs.
“Some of the features in CIC and Vonexus EIC version 3.0 may not be new to the marketplace, but the whole effect is to give Interactive Intelligence a more robust offering by filling some of the holes it had and adding value where other vendors haven’t yet,” he said.
Securing the Call
Chief among version 3.0’s changes are the upgrades in security features. These include support of the real-time transport protocol (SRTP) and transport layer security (TLS) standards. Support for these SIP (session initiation protocol) standards means that users can encrypt the call itself and information about the call, such as where it originated and other identifying details, Rachel Wentink, director of product management told CRM Buyer.
Other security features include stricter password generation requirements, the use of public and private key certificates, and the ability to handle communications between secure and non-secure devices. The public and private key certifications, Wentink said, are key to ensuring that calls are not rerouted by hackers.
“By using these certificates, we can ensure that when a phone connects to a server it is really talking to the server it is supposed to be talking to,” he added.
All together these measures provide user-to-user call encryption as well as encryption for inbound IVR (interactive voice response) and ACD (automatic call distributor), outbound predictive dialing and other communications applications.
Integrating, Deploying the Application
Besides the public API, which Interactive Intelligence opened to users and developers to build custom apps, CIC and Vonexus EIC version 3.0 also include new integration to Microsoft Office Communications Server and Microsoft Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging.
This integration link embeds call control features into the Microsoft applications. This is another nod to the enterprise — although contact center software integration and easy deployment are the chief areas of concern for any sized company — Landoline noted.
“It used to be that enterprises would compare contact center software on a feature by feature basis. Now they base buying decisions on how easily and inexpensively an application can integrate into the legacy environment,” he said.
Interactive Intelligence also introduced new auto-provisioning for polycom phones, automated service updates, and an enhanced Web version of the software’s desktop client to simplify deployment.
These features mean IT support can configure the phone file from the desktop.
“It is a significant time savings because the person who is configuring the phone doesn’t actually have to be at the phone,” Wentink said.
It is a good feature for enterprise operations, Landoline noted, allowing it to reboot thousands of telephones at one time.
The mobile enhancements include support for Microsoft Exchange calendar integration in the Interaction Mobile Office application, along with more cost-effective speech recognition capabilities. Specifically, Wentink said, the company has added support for Loquendo, an Italian speech recognition company whose costs are roughly 30 percent lower than the industry standard. The company continues to support Nuance as well.
A new graphical interface provides “presence” functionality for mobile users and their desk-bound office mates. Supporting Windows Mobile 5.0 and 6.0 operating systems, the interface makes the company’s IP telephony functionality accessible via mobile devices.
Like easy deployment and integration, mobility and accessibility have become touch points for all sized companies, Landoline said.
“We have moved into the era of the Anywhere Enterprise, Anywhere Employee, Anywhere Network.'”
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