There is a growing use of cloud communication due to the ease of remote working, besides high efficiency and reduced complexity through the integration of real-time capabilities in communication. Chaitanya Chokkareddy, chief innovation officer, Ozonetel discusses how cloud communication and artificial intelligence (AI) can revolutionise the traditional approach in businesses, in an exclusive interaction with Ayushee Sharma.
Q. What are the challenges in traditional communication methods that the cloud can solve?
A. The first challenge that traditional communication methods face is setup and maintenance. There is a need to buy and install hardware, phone lines and create teams to maintain these. In comparison, cloud communications require zero hardware or software. The onus of maintenance and upgrades falls on the solution provider rather than the business.
The second challenge that traditional communications face is agility. Today, new tools are continually being developed or upgraded. New communication channels are continuously opening up. Businesses with legacy systems struggle to integrate these new channels and technologies, whereas cloud communication users integrate with a few clicks. Moreover, today’s climate has made it clear that disruptions don’t just come in the form of new technologies. A worldwide pandemic and national lockdowns has caused huge disruption in legacy call centres. Meanwhile, cloud call centres moved their operations to work-from-home, for thousands of agents, in a few hours.
This brings us to the third challenge, which is location. Legacy systems are limited by location whereas the cloud’s omnipresence ensures easy remote working across dispersed offices, with a shared repository of data.
The final challenge is scale. Scaling up your legacy communication requires an investment of time and money. Whereas adding (or removing) any number of agents to a cloud communication platform can be done in minutes.
Q. What are the features of cloud communication?
A. Cloud communication is agile and continuously upgrading. This enables seamless integrations with the latest technologies or communication channels. It also allows businesses the flexibility to scale up or scale down as per their capacity needs and growth. We have had call centres scale up from five to five hundred agents on the same platform.
Cloud communications are omnipresent, that is, they are not limited by geography. Your call centre can exist wherever the Internet is available. Also, there are no hardware setup costs in a cloud communication solution. And since cloud communications are essentially pay-as-you-go subscription models, there are no software and maintenance costs involved.
Q. Which businesses can benefit the most from it?
A. Any business can benefit from cloud communications. Since it involves zero setup costs, it is the go-to communication method for most startups and small businesses. Because of its advanced technologies, it is equally attractive to enterprises.
Q. What is the impact of conversational AI on cloud communication?
A. Conversational AI can help communications scale up tremendously. This means that cloud communications will have more automation and self-service options built into it. Conversational AI logic is also used to sift through data for more insights via tools such as speech analytics. This will help to effectively tap into the vast reservoirs of data collected via cloud communication.
Q. What are the basic necessities for building a chatbot?
A. The most basic necessity is data. A good dataset can go a long way in building a good chatbot. With the advancements in natural language processing using deep neural networks, building the base for a chatbot becomes easy if you have a good dataset.
Start by identifying what conversations can be moved to bot. Identify previous conversations that can help in training. From these conversations identify the intents and entities applicable to your bot. Once you have these, a good flow designer can help you build bot flows. If you have to support multiple languages, then a translation engine is also needed to support your chatbot.
Q. How can developers choose the right cloud communication platform for their needs?
A. For developers, the most important thing is flexibility. They have to check the spread of application programming interfaces (APIs) provided by the communication platform – whether the APIs only cover voice or other channels like WhatsApp, email and chat, too; are they defined in such a way that they are extendable and can support new channels as and when they come.
Other questions include whether the documentation is good enough, can developers configure alerts, does API support webhooks, whether the API has libraries in multiple programming languages, and so on.
Q. What are the hurdles faced by companies in this field?
A. Getting access to good data is the biggest problem. Since each domain is different in itself, we have to collect data from scratch for each domain.