Eolos Interviews Amit Bhayani on the Future of Technology Integration
Eolos CEO Marcelo Fada speaks with Telestax co-founder and VP of Application Development Amit Bhayani about the future of technology integration and of Telestax platforms. Since 2018, Eolos has been a Telestax partner for on-premises solutions.
Marcelo: I have some questions for you about the future of Telestax technology. First, what challenges are operators facing towards the new technology integration with the partners and full-stack solutions, and how can Telestax help them?
Amit: That’s a good question. So, Marcelo I think operators globally have a huge opportunity ahead of them by delivering programmable cloud-based services to the enterprise market. For communications platform as a service to work you need a really strong network which operators already have. They have invested billions of dollars to create this strong network and they still continue doing so. Not only that, they have a huge customer base. But the challenge now is how to implement communications platform as a service or CPaaS. Fortunately with Telestax they can now easily implement a complex CPaaS platform and also the new turnkey solutions that are exposed on top of CPaaS like two-factor authentication, number masking, contact center solutions such as skills-based routing of tasks to the right agent, auto attendant, and many more to capitalize on this opportunity. Enterprises want a solution from their operator, right? They already have business from this operator, they believe in them, they trust them. It’s been going on for decades. The best thing would be for the enterprise to directly get the APIs from the operators. It’s about trust. It’s about a win/win.
Marcelo: Because of the price offered from the carriers, they know what they can do. So if they can offer this type of solution, it will be easy to deploy. You say about contact centers and we work with contact centers and call centers. The last six months of the pandemic, now nine months, we saw a lot of increase in the call center using artificial intelligence. So, do you think we will be able to see more of that in the future?
Amit: Our customer profile is communication partners and the communications service providers. They come back to us saying, ‘We are seeing a huge rush from non-conventional contact center companies to now have a contact center deployed,’ either on-premises or in the cloud because the whole world is working from home now, right? There is a huge rush for Enterprise customers to handle the calls by their employees wherever they are. So, I completely agree that the contact center is becoming the vertical which is not confined anymore only to big Enterprise, only to support sales. It’s more becoming the day-to-day communications for employees as well. They want to really use this solution to help the employees in terms of productivity. It’s the boundary of the contact center solution that is increasing to much more than what it used to be, earlier before COVID-19. With artificial intelligence they want to add a new intelligence though, where you know it’s not taking away the time from the employees to solve the day-to-day basic query, but would focus on helping customers to solve the basic query and then jump to the real person behind if something has not been solved by the regular questions. The contact center is going to change a lot in the future.
Marcelo: One of our last deployments with a customer was using the ACR on the TTS completely from the cloud and they saw a drop from 500 calls per day when the human resource takes the call. [Then] they drop to around 20 because they were able to handle all the requirements directly from the TTS. They just asked for it and of course the voice answered it naturally. Then they just hang up the call with satisfaction guaranteed and complete success on the call. Our customer is very happy on that, of course. They need to increase a lot more on the artificial intelligence but it’s a good start. COVID-19 is changing around us for the entire world. If more people engage specifically with remote work, what can we expect on the features and how can we better interact with the customer?
Amit: We started this discussion about COVID-19 and people working from home. The employees started using their phones for business needs and this brings a host of opportunities for the CPaaS provider, whether on-premises or cloud, it doesn’t matter. A simple example can be Number Masking from Telestax. When you have a permanent masked number associated with the employer, this allows the agents to have a business number to be associated with a personal phone number and easily screen the work calls as they need to do. With the pandemic, the boundary between work hours and personal hours has diminished a lot as everyone is working from home and for many of them it is new. It is difficult to draw a line. But thanks to services from CPaaS, from Number Masking, they can easily set up the working hours and they don’t have to expose their personal numbers. If the call comes in during non-working hours, they can play a very good message that ‘Working hours are between 8 and 5, please call back.’ These guys are not working in the office anymore so they’re not getting their office phones. There are no fixed line phones that lie on the desktop. They are completely on mobile. They can go where they want to go. CPaaS will help them to achieve that kind of workplace flexibility. I think over time the pandemic will push many companies to adopt programmable voice and SMS services. I know that is the case for Latin America and a few other regions like Africa and Asia. USSD is still very prominent as it comes to services. The pandemic has helped the operators to move onto programmable SMS voice and USDS as well. There is a demand for the delivery of food and meals that requires a strong SMS system. The previous example with a masked number applies. Also, two-factor authentication provides security for the customers to access a banking system or healthcare. Customers rely on their cell phone for a variety of reasons. Now businesses know that the phone is the best way to communicate with them. Everything is going to be on the phone in terms of communications and everything would be on a mobile phone.
Marcelo: As you said it’s been used for financial services even for the card here you see the charging services on the USSD system and two-factor authentication. We are seeing a lot of that, and we could say that Telestax is one of the first companies where everybody worked from home, many years ago. You were on the cutting edge for this way of working, right? What about the future of technology and cloud solutions versus on-premises solutions? They are different. but the carriers are still looking to work from on-premises.
Amit: My personal opinion is that I strongly believe that cloud is the future. In regard to the capex, we see more and more companies including the operators want to reduce the capex and with trial and error, if something is not working, to fail fast. For that reason, I believe that CPaaS is a great value addition for them. That way they can not only expose the programmable SMS, voice, USSD to their end customers but can also expose it to the developers in the community, to allow them to develop any application as quickly as they would want. They can test the waters and if it works, great! If it doesn’t work, there’s not that much investment gone. That makes a lot of sense when it comes to CPaaS. As for whether on-prem or cloud, there’s still a lot of demand from operators to be on-prem for many reasons, including regulatory reasons. I know there are a lot of countries where the government doesn’t allow the operators to run on the cloud. Many countries do not have data centers from cloud providers. Let’s talk about AWS or Azure. The regulatory agencies are prohibiting for operators to go on the cloud. Not only that, if you see the cloud is all about integrating with operators over newer tech like SMPP. But, remember a lot of operators invested in solutions like SS7. So even if the operator wants to go to the cloud there’s a lot that needs to happen to integrate the legacy network with the new network and that’s where the on-premises makes perfect sense. Or a hybrid makes perfect sense, where you would have, let’s say, the SS7 solution deployed on-premises in the data center and part can also go to the cloud. Or you can have the Diameter or Radius protocols which are heavily used by the operators for their infrastructure which could still work on-premises and other services can go on the cloud. I still believe on-premises is a huge market depending on geography. There’s still a lot of ground to be covered for on-premises.
Marcelo: We are seeing a lot of on-premises for some things and then connecting to the cloud for some APIs, so yeah, right. The last question I have for you is what does Telestax have in the works for the near future?
Amit: Telestax will continue to deliver a complete communication platform as a service and turnkey applications on top of CPaaS for the largest operators globally and we will continue to ensure our partners like Eolos have what they need to deliver on-premises capability to their market. As I said in my previous response, we believe that on-premises is still a huge market. There is a lot of potential and we are really grateful for partners like Eolos that have a comprehensive strategy for on-premises and also very strong customer service to ensure on-premises technology is available. If you know a little history of Telestax, it is a decade old technology that started initially with very low level protocols and solutions for on-premises. Then the cloud started a few years back. We are thrilled to work with partners like Eolos that have been contributing from the early days when Telestax was focused on low level protocols. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not only about understanding the product from a high level, but from those deeper roots. Thats why Telestax has put its trust in partners like Eolos to help our customers for on-premises with the thought process that eventually they would want to go in the cloud at some point of time and then it would be a smooth migration when the timing is right.
Marcelo: For us it is a pleasure to be a part of the Telestax team, so I really appreciate your time with us today and thanks for all your open answers. Any time, if you want, drop me a call and we can talk again.