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Three things you need to know about the Future of Telephony

As another year draws to a close, it seems as good a time as any to look to the future. There’s certainly plenty to look forward to in the telecoms channel. Change is afoot, and with change comes opportunity. Here are three things the sector should be aware of about the future of telephony in 2024 and beyond. 1.) The copper switch off is getting near People have been talking about the PSTN (copper line) switch off for what seems like years, but the actual event is creeping ever closer. Many channel resellers will use the final countdown to 2025 as a way to promote agile alternatives to legacy copper-based telephony. What seems clear to us is that the switch-off is a marker of the economy’s increasing preference for flexible wireless solutions; those with no need for complex internal or external cabling. However, this does mean businesses are putting a higher dependency on mobile services and Wi-Fi. This brings a range of new opportunities to the channel, from security to integration to automation. These are areas where successful resellers will help customers find the most value from their systems. 2) The AI revolution gathers pace AI has only just started making its mark on business communication, but the opportunities are potentially endless. To take one example, AI can enhance your telecoms offer by bringing hugely valuable analytics capabilities to unified communication (UC) systems. While the metrics and reporting currently available in contact centre platforms may be adequate for performance reporting, that’s only touching the surface of what’s possible. AI-powered analytics promise far greater qualitative insight into how services could be improved, allowing resellers to offer more value to customers. This is especially apparent in systems that automatically ingest audio, running Natural Language Processing (NLP) on all calls to gain a deeper understanding of interactions and the challenges customers and agents face. For the reseller, having the right AI portfolio is likely to become a huge differentiator in the next few years, providing base-wide security benefits, enhanced service quality, higher margins and, most importantly, more trusting customers that form longer-lasting relationships. 3) Companies are becoming digital-first Digital-first businesses rely on digital technology to make them more efficient and customer-focused. To do that they need bandwidth. Connectivity has become the great business enabler of the moment. Those businesses able to adopt cloud services, and run them efficiently via gigabit-capable connections, can adapt best to our technology-driven future. How can the channel help in all this? Selling great connectivity is one way. But where the channel can really make a difference is by helping businesses make all those systems work together, integrating them via professional services and AI to provide a unique bird’s eye view of operational performance and success.

Elisha Telecom and its Pioneering AI services in Comms Dealer

Elisha Telecom and its AI Services is featured in the October 2023 issue of Comms Dealer magazine. Comms Dealer magazine, the pioneering publication in the UK convergence channel, is an important resource for the comms and convergence community. Its expert team of journalists and channel specialists ensures readers stay informed about the latest developments in the ICT channel, including new opportunities and technologies and emerging market trends. The Comms Dealer website offers real-time news, comprehensive content, interviews, market analysis, and valuable insights. The article highlights the pivotal role of Elisha Telecom CEO, Jeff Green, in the transformation of contact centers through the integration of artificial intelligence (AI). Jeff Green, with a background in ICT, emphasizes the importance of AI integration rather than standalone AI tools. Elisha Telecom, established by Green and Mike Torres in 2006, has grown to serve both large end users in the Philippines and smaller UK businesses through resellers. Green recognizes that AI is not just about the tools but the seamless integration of AI services into business processes. Elisha Telecom’s latest offering, Elisha Insights, is an AI-based metrics solution designed to revolutionize contact center operations by harnessing data and AI-driven insights. Green acknowledges the evolving landscape of communication services, with a transition away from traditional desk phones towards softphones, WebRTC, and mobile devices. He places particular importance on MS Teams in this shift and ensures that his company adapts to these changing technologies. Green anticipates Elisha Telecom becoming a market leader in AI-generated metrics thanks to early adoption and the accumulation of priceless insights. He draws parallels between the potential of AI and the transformative impact of the microchip.

Shaping the future of business interaction: AI-Powered Unified Communications

Business communications are changing, and not just in the number of channels businesses now need to integrate to effectively communicate with customers, colleagues and partners. Unified Communications solutions have been touted as a major enabler of innovative business communications, but what exactly does it mean, how does Artificial Intelligence support that innovation, and what does that process entail? Keep on reading to find out! What is ‘Unified Communications’? Unified Communications (or UC for short) is a major component to the future of communication services, amalgamating all your separate communication channels under one application, so your team only has one app for everything. Voice Video Social Media Messaging Conference Email Typically delivered via an app for laptops and mobile devices, UC solutions also enable robust and secure remote or hybrid working policies to be put in place, guaranteeing productivity while delivering a better work/life balance for employees. Especially when combined with futureproof technologies, merging AI, 5G and UC, for example, businesses have the perfect foundations to build innovative new experiences for customers and ensure the highest satisfaction rates, hopefully increasing the chances of customers returning for additional purchases too! The Role of AI in Unified Communications AI trends are everywhere, from content creation to stock trading, helping automate and enhance processes, just like in the telecoms industry. AI in communication solutions can help businesses do more with less, while providing rich insights into performance to help businesses improve processes even further! AI-powered UC solutions provide more value by enhancing collaboration tools and ingesting massive volumes of interaction information to help surface insights that would be indecipherable otherwise! ChatbotsMinimise incoming calls by delivering automated responses – via websites and voice calls – to common issues and questions. Natural Language Processing (NLP)Natural Language Processing essentially means automated listening and transcription – enabling AIs to listen to callers’ needs (like in the next example) as well as collate everything that’s said across all of a business’ calls, to help identify areas for improvement. Voice recognitionPrioritise calls and ensure they’re directed to the right department, which is sometimes called ‘Automatic Customer Interaction Classification’ reducing transfer volumes and increasing first-time resolutions. Further Benefits of AI-Powered Unified Communications Data Analysis from Multiple Sources and LanguagesOnce NLP is in place, contact centres can deploy sentiment analysis, trawling that massive volume of conversations to highlight common phrases and keywords. Whether positive or negative, the results help decision-makers know what works and what isn’t and where to reallocate resources for the greatest impact. Customisable Performance IndicatorsContact centres can better assess performance of individual team members (and teams on the whole) with KPIs updated in real-time, from call lengths to wait-times, satisfaction scores to sale success rates, ensuring managers and staff can all see how they’re doing in the given moment. Privacy ProtectionAI is also really good at keeping sensitive information anonymous, whether via encryption or other forms of anonymisation, ensuring biases don’t work their way into reporting or staff surveys for example. But Ai isn’t without its challenges, from creating Machine Learning engines in the first place to identifying regional variances in pronunciation and vocabulary, even ensuring AI-powered decision making doesn’t take a drastic turn and send callers down an incorrect calling journey! So, if you want AI to help as much as possible, rather than hinder, Elisha Telecom can take all the complications away and develop the automated processes that help your team do more with less. Call 020 7100 1114 or email info@elishatelecom.com today to see what’s possible with an AI-powered, fully managed UC solution!

Generative AI: The Future of Customer Service is Now

What is Generative AI? Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has been around for years. Machine learning algorithms, natural language processing, and the like are now ubiquitous in the IT applications we use on a daily basis. However, only with the advent of various Generative AI technologies such as ChatGPT, MidJourney, DALL-E, and Bard has AI claimed the spotlight and headlines across the Globe. Generative AI is a type of Artificial Intelligence that can create new, and arguably “original”, content based on the models it was trained on. It has revolutionized what AI can be used for and how accessible it has now become. Before, AI was a niche field useful to organizations that generated large amounts of data and had the resources to hire data scientists and build powerful servers to analyze them. It is now a tool that can be used and prove useful to practically anyone. From the students asking ChatGPT to help with their homework, to graphics designers who can now create in a matter of seconds what took days if not weeks before, and to office workers who can ask AI to create and summarize worksheets of data into a report they can pass on to management. Generative AI in Customer Service A key segment of your business that can greatly benefit from Generative AI today is customer service. Unlike traditional rule-based chatbots that operate based on pre-defined scripts, generative AI has the ability to understand context, learn from data, and produce human-like responses that adapt to the unique needs and preferences of each customer. Personalized Interactions Generative AI is unique in that it improves its answers to your customer’s queries as the conversation develops. The more information it has about your customer, the more tailored its responses will be. For instance, when a customer contacts a retail company regarding a previous purchase, generative AI can use the customer’s order history and preferences to suggest complementary products, providing a seamless cross-selling experience. 24/7 Global Availability Your business is often limited to interacting with customers in your time zone and in the language you are familiar with. Generative AI effectively eliminates this barrier by being available 24/7 to customers who speak different languages. Generative AI not only detects and translates the queries of your customers for you; it can also reply to the customer in his or her native language. As such, Generative AI has the potential to open up completely new markets for your products and services. Handling Complex Interactions Generative AI can learn from the vast amounts of data your business generates. It is capable of handling customer service scenarios that previous chatbots could not. As the AI interacts with customers, it learns from each interaction and gains a deeper understanding of nuanced queries. This empowers the AI to provide accurate and relevant responses even to intricate questions, contributing to a smoother and more efficient customer service experience. Unlike the previous generation of chatbots, which were completely dependent on the script they were following, a Generative AI chatbot can actually assess the intent, mood, and flow of the conversation and automatically escalate the interaction to a human agent if the need arises. Generative AI Customer Service Use Cases Limitations of Generative AI and how to overcome them Risk of Misinterpretation and Miscommunication Generative AI relies on generating responses based on the the data it has. While it can detect some sentiment and intent from its users, it does not have true understanding of emotions. As such, it could have a tendency to produce incorrect responses or ignore emotional cues that can cause frustration for the customer. To address these issues, it is important not to be over reliant in AI for all interactions. For example, once a negative conversation is detected, this should trigger an alert for a human agent to take over the customer interaction. Continuously monitoring interactions and fine tuning the AI through training and updating can also help address and prevent issues from repeatedly occurring. Inability to Handle Unforeseen Situations When faced with unprecedented or highly unique situations outside of its training data, an AI may struggle to provide accurate and helpful responses. This causes the AI to have “hallucinations” or make it appear that the AI is lying to the customer. The solution to prevent or at least limit hallucinations is through thorough fine-tuning, prompt engineering, and training of the Generative AI. You can also program them to limit responses to only the custom trained data and to self analyze their response before replying. It is critical that the AI interactions are regularly reviewed and any issues remedied through fine tuning. Privacy and Security Concerns Customer service often involves handling sensitive information, such as personal details or account credentials. Generative AI’s ability to generate human-like text raises concerns about data privacy and security. If not properly managed, there is a risk that sensitive information could be mishandled or exploited. Compliance to existing privacy and security regulations must be at the top of the list when deploying a Generative AI system. Proper data encryption and storage should always be practiced and where applicable anonymization and proper filtering of Personal Identifiable Information (PII) should be conducted. Finally, ensure that the AI requests and shares only the minimum personal information needed to address the needs of the customers and make all customers and users aware of the risks involved when utilizing the system. Dependency on Quality and Quantity of Training Data The quality and timeliness of the the training data is what will define the capabilities of your Generative AI platform. Incomplete, outdated, and inaccurate data will reflect in the responses of your AI to your customers. Hence, maintaining and managing your Generative AI platform is an on-going concern. Fine tuning, monitoring and updating should be done on a regular basis. Thorough testing of the system before pushing it live to your customers should be a priority. Generative AI is not General AI While it can generate very informative and useful responses, Generative AI

AI Analytics: Empower Your Customer Service Now with Elisha Insights

Elisha Insights offers real-time AI analytics and evaluation of customer service interactions for your business. Leveraging the latest advancements in Large Language Models and Natural Language Processing, Elisha Insights stands as the most sophisticated customer service analytics platform available in the market today. Elisha Insights accepts customer interactions from various sources, including email threads, chat, voice, and video transcripts, and supports multiple languages. Its default Speech-to-Text engine can automatically detect over 50 languages, and optional third-party integrations can extend this to over 120 languages and dialects. Elisha Insights AI Analytics Features Define categories for customer interactions effortlessly, and let Elisha Insights automatically classify them. With built-in sentiment analysis, monitoring the tone of conversations with your customers becomes easy. Clients can tailor Elisha Insights to their preferred set of performance metrics and modify them as needed. You can assess how your sales agents upsell to customers, track the resolution of technical support questions, analyze conflict handling, compare interactions against your script or call flow, and much more. Privacy protection remains a priority, as Elisha Insights incorporates built-in Personal Identifiable Information (PII) filtering to ensure the security of your customers’ privacy. Additionally, Elisha Insights does not keep or record any transcripts or recordings it analyzes by default. Elisha Insights is designed for seamless integration with your current IT systems. It offers APIs and embeddable code snippets that facilitate rapid integration. The payment model is based on per analysis, allowing you to pay for only the transcripts we analyze. This approach enables you to scale up or down, knowing your costs will follow suit. Charges are determined per minute of recording or per page of text (500 words) sent for analysis. Elisha Insights revolutionizes your customer service approach. It harnesses the power of Artificial Intelligence to provide valuable insights, improve interactions, and boost customer satisfaction. Schedule your demo today by emailing sales@elishatelecom.com and experience the future of customer service with Elisha Insights!

UCaaS: A New Standard for Business Communications

Cloud communications, specifically Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) or hosted PBX, is revolutionizing enterprise communication systems. In contrast to traditional on-premise PBX solutions, cloud PBX offers significant advantages such as reduced equipment costs, improved communication services, enhanced phone quality, flexibility, and mobility, resulting in increased productivity. A recent study by the Eastern Management Group highlights the growing prevalence of UCaaS, with the market worth $20 billion in 2018, encompassing 54 million seats. Unified Communications has a substantial market share globally, with a 27% total addressable market in North America and 73% in other regions. The report projects a continued rise in hosted UCaaS startups/providers, reflecting the shift towards cloud-based communication solutions. Maintaining an on-premise PBX system poses limitations in today’s dynamic business landscape, including communication challenges during outages, poor call quality, limited scalability, high server upkeep costs, and difficulties in adding new communication capabilities. The necessity of change is clear as businesses seek to enhance efficiency and adaptability. The cloud-based alternative, with a market share growth from 4% in 2010 to 18% in 2017, offers a promising solution to address these challenges. Switching to UCaaS offers definitive advantages: Selecting the right UCaaS solution requires careful consideration. Key questions to ask potential providers include affordability, technical support availability, customization, and integration capabilities, offered features, security, global coverage, call quality guarantees, and the availability of reports and analytics. Industry reports indicate a clear trend toward cloud-based communication. According to No Jitter’s 2016 report, the adoption of cloud-hosted communication increased significantly from 20% in 2015 to 28% in 2016. The future outlook is promising, with a forecasted 17% growth in 2017 and beyond. Moreover, Frost and Sullivan’s 2015 report predicts a 25-30% adoption rate increase for cloud communication from 2017 to 2020. Read the Original White Paper Below: