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Thursday, June 04, 2015

What's YOUR view of contextual communications?

In recent months, I've been drilling into the new "hot topic" of contextual comms. Martin Geddes & I are so enthused by the topic that we're running a workshop on June 15th in London (details here), and we're already considering follow-ups, maybe in the US later in the year.

We're combining both the "here & now" of context with a view on where we might be heading in the medium-to-longer term. Martin wrote a very forward-looking and provocative piece on the possible future recently (here).

I'm really interested in what "contextual communications" means to everyone else. There's no fixed definition at the moment, and I suspect that we're going to get an "Olympic Rings" multi-way Venn diagram. Some views of context will overlap, while others will be miles apart. For instance, I've seen or heard all of these described as Contextual Comms:

  • Sending web-form info to an contact-centre agent during "click to call"
  • Embedding video/telepresence into a robot
  • Using mic & speakers on a phone to map out a room acoustically & tweak the echo/noise processing
  • Use a media-server to analyse a caller's tone (eg angry vs. happy) or facial expressions, and adjust the experience or script for a salesperson
  • Using a device orientation sensor to work out if a phone is flat on a table, or help to the ear, and adust the UI accordingly
  • Using machine-learning and analytics to assess the best time to call someone
  • Mechanisms for indicating the purpose of a call
  • Embedding a call into a timeline or activity-stream interface for UC and collaboration, so it can be recorded, captured & seen alongside text commentary or speech analytics
I'm sure there are dozens more as well. I'm looking forward to distilling some sort of map or ontology, so we can collectively understand this new landscape a bit more clearly. Is it one thing with lots of variants? Or 5 separate trends with a little overlap?

Do YOU have a good example or definition of Contextual Comms? I'd love to hear from you, either via a comment here, or by doing an interview briefing.

And if you'd like to talk about it publicly, we're offering all the workshop attendees an chance to present or demo their view - basically an "open mic" section of the day to showcase their unique take on context.

If you'd like more detail about the event, or to get in touch separately about context, please comment,  see this page to book a spacea, or email information AT disruptive-analysis DOT com.


Allan MacGowan said...

There are a lot of great contextual communication examples here. Another contact center example works in the reverse direction, whereby state information (e.g. position in queue or estimated wait time) is presented visually within the customer's tablet app once s/he initiates an in-app call to the contact center.

A second example involves passing contextual information between channels; for instance, a customer who begins a web chat with one agent can escalate to a video call with a second agent, with the transcript from the web chat passed to the video agent.

At CaféX we're seeing strong demand for these contextual solutions, particularly among financial services and insurance firms. One could group the above two examples under the Omnichannel umbrella.

Dean Bubley said...

Hi Allan

Many thanks for those examples - both good use-cases "in the here & now"

I've met CafeX before (at Enterprise Connect most recently) & it would be good to follow up again



Michael Elling said...

Contextual communications: whereby the communications session is associated with a known and measurable commercial event or transaction. In theory this should then pave the way for the economic value of the commercial event/transaction to pay for (directly or indirectly) the communications session either from the source or at the destination. This in turn will bring market economics (SLA, KPI, ROI, etc...) to the communication networks which don't exist today. As well it should move us away from average cost and consumption models to efficiently priced marginal consumption models.