There's something to be said about focusing very specifically in one area, or a singular talent. It's entirely another to be a jack of all trades. Looking to be the latter in a time in which simplicity and integration is all the rage, Phoenix-based contact center management provider Syntellect unveiled its new Communications Portal Version 7.2, the first combined technology effort since acquiring Envox Worldwide in October 2008.
"This is the first release that represents the union of our two technologies," says Bruce Sherman, product manager at Syntellect. "It is more of a direct descendant of what used to be referred to as Envox [Communications Development Platform 7.1]. As we looked at putting that product and ours together, we did the name change and thought about the future of technology ... hence ‘communication portal.'"
Daniel Hong, lead analyst at New York-based research firm Datamonitor, believes the name change is a good move for the vendor. "This provides Syntellect with greater flexibility to target both service provider and enterprise markets while having greater appeal with [information technology] departments," he wrote in an email statement.
The unified offering now contains new functionality, including:
- additional speech technologies vendor support;
- efficiency enhancements for Media Resource Control Protocol (MRCP) Version 2;
- new features for Syntellect Studio;
- computer telephony integration (CTI) link resiliency; and
- support for Windows Server 2008.
Sherman says that one of the more compelling stories revolving around this release is the fact that it is the first time Syntellect is able to offer an integrated development solution along with the platform. "Updates with Syntellect Studio as part of the platform are a huge differentiator for us," he says. "Previously we were a reseller of the Audium/Cisco solution [in that area]."
In addition, being able to stay up-to-date with operating system environment support is another important competitive differentiator. "It helps us stay tightly integrated with all third parties, not just in speech technology but the other enterprise solutions our clientele depends on ... the operating system being one of them," Sherman points out.
CTI link resiliency and MRCP features struck Hong as being the most important, though. "MRCP 2.0 essentially provides greater flexibility in terms of automatic speech recognition (ASR) which can lower the total cost of ownership and prevent ASR vendor lock-in for enterprises," he wrote. "At the same time, CTI link resiliency builds on the success of [Envox's] CT Connect and helps companies leverage CTI cost effectively to improve customer service."
Looking forward, Sherman says this release shows the market that Syntellect has committed to continue ensuring the vendor has the ability to communicate outside of the voice channel. "Specifically around SMS, email, texting, and video streaming ... it's just a matter of time," he envisions. "Tomorrow's consumer will be communicating in ways that we can't think of today."
Consequently, by being able to bring together the development environment and portal itself, as Syntellect has, allows for tighter integration and more flexibility in what clients can offer to their customers, Sherman argues. "The next major plan is to take our customer interaction management system and integrate that with our other products," he says. "We're looking for that effort to be completed this year."
What that would do for Syntellect is bring a full contact center management capacity with the development and interactive voice response platforms. "It really expands our suite, lowers the number of potential vendors enterprises would have to go to for solutions, and allows us to offer more components that make up an entire telephony infrastructure," he says. "It was important for us to tell the market that this is the very beginning of taking two companies and combining its experience and technology to really deliver the best of both worlds."
Hong partially echoes Sherman's sentiments, taking it further and noting other key acquisitions the vendor has made that will only benefit the company. "The strides Syntellect is taking with partners such as Dialogic uniquely positions Syntellect in the market today," he stated. "In the last year, the company has made massive strides with its acquisitions of Fluency Voice and Envox. It is a stronger vendor today as a result and I expect Syntellect will have greater appeal with a more comprehensive and stronger portfolio."
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