Marco Signorini has been Engineering Lead for Loway since 2008. Prior to joining Loway he was Software Engineer for a AGB, a division of Nielsen Media Research working on TAM, and Advanced Electronics Application Engineer for Whirlpool Europe.
Earlier experience included Bluetooth and MPEG4 researches for ST Microelectronics. He attended Politecnico di Milano in Italy where he majored in Telecommunication Engineering.
Q: Mr. Signorini, what's your view on the Asterisk call-center industry future in the next two years?
I think Asterisk generated the opportunity to implement a call center in situations where, before the Asterisk era, it was inhibited by costs associated to the traditional telephony systems. For this reason the number of active call center is moving forward and I expect the trend will not change in the next two years. That's why with QueueMetrics call-center suite development we are going in this direction.
The Linux ad-hoc distributions targeted to telephony allows smart users to setup a very small call center in a few clicks and at no cost. At the same time, highly, reliable and professional solutions could be implemented by experts by integrating SIP proxies in front of Asterisk, thus enabling clusters of Asterisk boxes to crunch several hundreds of concurrent calls. Lastly, the availability of gateways to public telephony infrastructures, at competitive prices, concurs to lower the costs associated to call centers.
In this scenario the new technologies, like WebRTC supported by Asterisk 12, will generate innovative services that will increase call centers productivity.
Q: What are the key factors which make a successful Asterisk based call-centre?
Versatility is the key. Asterisk is the "Swiss Army Knife of Telephony" and it's free as in beer. Asterisk provides a set of APIs that helps smart users and/or experienced integrators to integrate it with other systems, thus generating a highly customized and complex services. With Asterisk, anyone with a little experience of programming is able to implement a set of features best fitting their specific needs. This is something new in the telephony panorama, historically controlled by big companies.
Q: What are your thoughts about present and future strategic role of Asterisk call-center analysis softwares in our market?
Asterisk is the "switching part" of a call center and, even if it plays a big role, it's not the unique piece of the puzzle. As soon as you're starting to receive calls you are interested to know how the call center performs. The costs associated to a call center are mainly related to salaries of agents working on it, so, bad efficiency reflects directly to higher costs.
No one can approach to increase performances without defining targets and without measuring how far the target is. For these reasons, analytics plays a fundamental role on a call center and QueueMetrics is a tool built for calculating a huge set of analytics reports.
At Loway, we're working to increase the QueueMetrics capabilities by collecting information that are associated to a specific call. All contributes to generate a set of useful aggregated figures.
Q: Could you give me an example of how you have dealt with a customers critical issue using QueueMetrics?
Measurement is the result of a complex aggregation of heterogeneous information. In QueueMetrics a set of information is collected and associated to a specific call. By statistical aggregations QueueMetrics is able to generate a set of reports that can be accessed either by operators through the web interface, than by "robots" through a set of APIs.
I'm referring, as example, to the Quality Assessment system that can be used either to track agent performances, than to generate demographical reports on calling people set.
Another example can be found in Icon, the rich client based new agent realtime page, where the page background can be dynamically replaced by an external CRM.
Our main idea is to propose a framework that customers use to integrate with a set of custom external tools in order to best fit theirs needs.
Q: What kind of benefits do you think customers experience using QueueMetrics, Icon and WombatDialer?
WombatDialer is the latest product from Loway and it was implemented with flexibility in mind. It can complement QueueMetrics when implementing inbound and outbound call centers. Customers or integrators can easily deploy complex systems with very advanced functionalities by running Asterisk, WombatDialer and QueueMetrics together with their own proprietary tools. I'm referring, as not exhaustive example, to recall services, marketing campaigns or similar, where inbound agents can be automatically contacted by the PBX without affecting the overall call center quality of service.
Icon, on the other side, introduces the concept of "single page working tool" by aggregating several tools on a single page, thus increasing the efficiency of agents and reducing the overall costs when deploying new seats.
I think QueueMetrics and Wombat open new opportunities for systems integrators and call center administrators: integrators can propose high quality systems to their customers and call center supervisors can benefit from higher performances at lower costs.