WebRTC Expert Feature

August 06, 2013

TokBox at the Batter's Box

Recently most articles related to the topic of WebRTC have been focused on WTFR or, Where To Find Revenue with WebRTC.

Mike Ozanian of Forbes correctly identified what can happen when the profitable part of the Web gets better tools. A few months ago he mentioned that MLB.com was adding a TokBox solution to their site that will allow fans to talk to Major League players and their leadership. Ozanian likened the app to a direct sports radio experience, pointing out that MLB.com is the leading app store participant for both Apple and Android and, most important, is consistent in its high pricing.

MLB.com CEO Bob Bowman (or “Head Coach” as he has been known to go by) has spoken at a number of our past events, sharing his vision of a market willing to pay for better access to “The Show.” To be bunt…er, blunt, though Bowman amazed me not only with his ability to make Major League Baseball teams see the benefit, but I was sure that his home run would result in discord with the teams looking to take more control. The grand slam business he helped to create, however, has proven to be a $6.5 Billion goose that is in no danger of being slaughtered (non-baseball metaphor notwithstanding).

And MLB.com continues to demonstrate its ability to “hit ‘em where they ain’t”, incorporating such innovation as the Chatting Cage, which is in effect, an add-on sports channel that does not cannibalize the team network affiliations. This has a somewhat amazing maneuvering, which illustrates how WebRTC can deliver something new that compliments the existing network. Putting all of this in call center terms, we can easily see each call center offering it’s very own HSN-style experience. Perhaps “Trudy” could get a voice! 

The point of these WTFR articles is not to replicate, but to innovate past the traditional sense of the cost of a call. After all, the call to my broker versus the call to my grocer is all the same to the carrier, so it’s up to the Web folks to bring the analytics into perspective and to extract the value from the call. This was a key point in a conversation I recently had with a friend who does analytics for her company. That, although the mining of the information gives context, the use of analytics to interact with the customer is often lost in translation. Thus, companies that figure out how to integrate analytics into solutions that interact with the customer in real-time could inevitably dwarf Ian Small’s castle renting demonstration.

IBM’s Blair Reese and had a talk not long ago on the subject of Jeopardy Winner Big Blue being refocused as the IVR for call centers. For those of us who normally hit zero as soon as we hear the IVR start, Big Blue is probably going to be voiced as a human. The lesson from Big Blue’s jeopardy win, however, was not its ability to retain knowledge but its adaptability to aggressively bet. Big Blue has already shown the ability to think like a human, and now it can bet on the most likely need of the customer. 

As Ken Jennings graciously said (borrowing from “The Simpsons”) “I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.”

That is, as long as Big Blue shows me Where to Find Revenue.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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