If you thought the morning sessions for the 2018 Toll-Free User Summit were busy and jam-packed with information, the afternoon sessions took things to a whole new level! From IP technology to text enabled Toll-Free to the introduction of the secondary market, our minds were definitely BLOWN! In case you couldn’t tell, it was quite the afternoon here at #TFUS18 as we explored the hottest trends and technology in Toll-Free. Learn more about everything you might’ve missed from the afternoon sessions:
We’ve all heard about how Internet Protocol (IP) is revolutionizing the telecommunications industry but do you know how IP fits into the Toll-Free landscape? In the session “The Future is Now: Routing Data and Building for Toll-Free IP Routing,” the message was clear – the time is right for IP. During the session, panelists Doug Ranalli of NetNumber, Shaun Moore of Toll-Free Exchange, Craig Meredith of ThinQ and Mary Retka of Somos discussed the proliferation of IP networks in Toll-Free as well as the role Toll-Free will play in the IP future.
The panel started off by taking a deeper dive into the benefits of IP and how it can help to improve the Toll-Free Industry. One of the biggest benefits it can offer is increased value to the end customer. IP by nature is a one-to-many system that allows for improved continuity which in turn drives better communication among users and carriers. It provides a better use of the network which works to drive efficiencies.
One of the most exciting ways that IP is revolutionizing the industry is by passing increased savings on to the end customer. IP has shown the potential to reduce overhead which can provide the cost benefit shift that most companies require to adopt new technology. Additionally, IP has demonstrated that it can be more than simply a cost benefit – it provides a technological benefit, a fraud prevention benefit and more.
At the end of the day, agreed the panelists, the most important thing to consider when looking into IP and its impact on the Toll-Free industry is customer experience. Does this emerging technology have the potential to not only deliver a positive cost savings but also improve customer experience? So far, all signs point to yes!
The verdict is in: not only is messaging here, it’s here to stay. However, it may or may not always look how it does today. On “The Future of Messaging & What it Means for Toll-Free” panel, messaging experts hypothesized on the future forms that messaging will take and how enterprises will be able to leverage them in the future.
According to the panelists, enterprises should expect to see several messaging channels emerging in the coming years. In particular, Rich Communication Services (RCS) are expected to emerge as the next generation of text messages. Gene Lew of Saleforce describes RCS as a type of message that can be packed with multimedia, QR codes, suggested replies or actions, branding and true metrics, and other exciting features. William Dudley of SAP predicts that RCS will replace phone apps due to its potential for rich conversational engagement between brands and consumers.
Noah Rafalko from Midori Interactive noted that blockchain communications also have the potential to emerge as a key messaging channel. As the world grows increasingly interconnected thanks to smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), Rafalko predicts blockchain communications will be a key driver in secure messaging.
The panelists also expect that messaging will nicely integrate with AI in the contact center. Chris Currie from Aerialink sees texting as the glue holding together consumers’ interactions with a brand. For example, whether a consumer contacts a brand via voice or Chatbot, texting will track the entire interaction and keep the consumer informed.
The opening of a secondary market for Toll-Free Numbers will be our reality soon – are you ready for it? Toll-Free Industry experts definitely are and were on-hand to discuss what the secondary market is, who is affected and what opportunities it will present. One key message that was loud and clear was that there’s a strong connection between the secondary market and the branding of Toll-Free Numbers as assets.
With the introduction of the secondary market, our telephone numbers are no longer simply a vehicle for calling someone, they are valuable assets that help build branding around voice. As Paul Faust of RingBoost.com noted, this shift in the paradigm provides an exciting opportunity to grow an industry around vanity and thereby provide an added level of service offerings that provides the best value to the customer.
One of the key takeaways from panelist Steve Olson of Affective Analytics is that customers are your number one asset. They want to build their brand and will inevitably look to industry experts and consultants to help them. The opening of a secondary market is invaluable in this, as it can help provide better access to the Toll-Free Numbers a customer requires to differentiate their brand in the marketplace.
Regardless of whether the opening of a secondary market benefits you or provides a new layer of challenges, the effects will definitely have an impact on the vanity number world according to Greg Fernandez of THE Telco. As the market shifts however, it’ll present an interesting challenge for the industry as it will force companies that are not benefitting from a secondary market to rethink how they are providing value to their customer base.
Ryan Karnas, Somos’ Director of Product Management, wrapped up a jam-packed day of engaging panels and expert speakers with an exciting update on Somos products and developments:
SMS/800 TFN Registry: Somos continues on its modernization journey, which first began in 2017, with a continued focus on agility and flexibility, a unified experience and an adaptable platform. After listening to feedback, users can look forward to a total system cutover in mid-2019. The new system registry will bring interface parity and improved reporting features. The 3270 Interface will be decommissioned by the end of this October. WBA/MGI will be supported through 2020.
TSS Registry: Messaging plays a key part in communication for businesses now, and it will increasingly in the future. Somos has improved the TSS Registry with new features including: more visibility, larger batch queries, downloads up to 100K TFNs and export by NPA. Somos is also recruiting members for the all new TSS Registry Responsible Organization (Resp Org) Working Group.
RouteLink: Somos went live with new RouteLink features just the past week. Be sure to check out the new CPR Viewer Tool, which makes it even easier to navigate routing trees and puts data right at your fingertips. RouteLink also features a new API, providing data in a JSON format that’s easier to use and faster to deploy. Have questions? Reach out to Somos’ Consulting and Training Services for answers to any and every question you have.
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