Promoters of emerging communication technologies have a major message challenge: They need a shorthand way to explain what their new form of communication does for people. It's best if they can say it's like existing technologies, only better. With business video communication, the most obvious angle is to liken the experience to voice telephony. New technical models, though, always differ from existing ones. Thus comparing video to voice communication glosses over technical and other issues that may prove problematic in practice. Avistar Communications Corp., for one, is pushing a software-only approach to video communication, with a message that contrasts with those of most other players.
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One big problem for companies in handling customer calls is uninformed answers. That is, the person answering the call has no idea who is calling or why. Large companies solve the problem by using call centers, which integrate high-end CRM (customer relationship management) systems with sophisticated call-handling systems. For smaller companies, integration of hosted or premises-based IP PBXes with hosted CRM services is a good solution, eliminating the need for premises-based CRM systems. And a new "rich calling" service launched by Ringio at this week's eComm conference simplifies things even further. For a flat rate per user, it provides both IP PBX and basic CRM functions in a single hosted service.
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