I believe that we are at the cusp of a profound revitalization of telecommunications. There is an enormous pent-up demand for multi-mode, multi-media, and real-time integrated with off-line communications. (Too many buzz words here…)
The world wants and needs telecommunications service that could start on the web. A user could click a link and send a text-like message and get a response. The text-session could include a variety of screens and menus. Some of the menus would be automated and some might be human interaction. At some point the session might transition to a video call with two-way life communications between an agent and the client. During that call screen shots and menus might be presented. The live call might terminate but the session would continue, perhaps as an order confirmation. Then, it could transition to a text session where the customer asks a question. An agent answers the question and sends information. The client then decides to talk with the company and they transition the session to a voice phone call. The agent that is called has the entire session available to them. They can see the order, they can review how the customer has been helped. They can take action or switch the caller to a specialist…who also would have the history of this session. When the talking is over the session continues to live. Perhaps months later the client has a warranty need and the session simply picks up and continues.
I may not have described this eloquently, but we all know deep in our hearts that this is what we want. We all know this is how communications SHOULD be. We know we would like to do this. And, if we can do this it would transform telecommunications. Within five years most companies would toss out their telecommunications hardware and buy this new vision.
I believe there is pent up demand for this answer. And, with billions of users now having internet connected smartphones the ONLY thing holding up this vision is a technical standard and software toolkits that allow easy deployment.
I would normally say the IETF should implement this standard and patch it together using existing technologies, but the IETF has been brain dead for a decade.
I would say that Steve Jobs would see and feel this and Apple could implement it. Apple could become BEST at it, but it would be an open standard. I KNOW Steve would understand that it must be an open standard because he promised that FaceTime would be an open Standard. It is only those with closed minds <Cough> Tim Cook </Cough> that have closed the standard.
Nadella at Microsoft is just the right kind of person to be able to pull this off, but Microsoft lacks the clout needed with the smartphone hardware makers and with the carriers.
In the Old Days the Bell System would simply implement it, and all of their standards were open, by law.
Once upon a time the FCC would mandate compatibility standards. They were the ones who stabled 48 volts as the standard voltage to be used everywhere. (And touch-tone frequencies etc.)
BellCore was never very good at implementing visions or at setting open standards, but it could have been their role.
But today…who could just make the necessary standard? How can we get this thing rolling?
Let me put forth that there are five things needed to pull this off:
Here is a list of the features I think we MUST HAVE to have a new generation of communications:
- An open standard that can be implemented on the server and client side.
- The ability to seamlessly transition between text-chat to voice-call to video-call as needed.
- Persistent sessions that may span days or long periods of time.
- Transferable sessions that can be transferred from one agent to another (on either end). A session is much like a technical support “case” that can be handed off.
- Archiving capability (on either end) for service monitoring, legal compliance, or personal records.