Twilio, in conjunction with Google’s Enterprise division, is blowing the dust off of the old concept of a Contact-Center-in-a-Box.” With the introduction of Twilio CX, Chromebooks, the inexpensive lap-tops, running the ChromeOS and Chrome browsers, are transformed into agent workstations complete with pre-installed software and connectivity to support voice-, chat- and SMS text-based conversations. The ease of start-up is illustrated in this video:
Each box contains a Chromebook with a Plantronics headset, but it comes as a bundle that includes 7,500 minutes per month on Twilio’s network and the necessary service and support from Google Enterprise. All of this is made available for a fixed, monthly, per-seat fee.
LiveOps, which has built a considerable reputation as a cloud-based contact center solutions provider in its own right, is the first go-to-market partner for the package. Its multi-channel agent desktop has “native” or transparent integration of the Twilio Client. That means that, in the ideal, an agent merely fires up the Chromebook and is ready to take or initiate calls. LiveOps Engage or its close cousin LiveOps for Salesforce will serve as the user interface with hooks into the company’s CRM system. Both companies have long been supporters of WebRTC-based management of audio and video streams, so very little customization is required.
Enterprise customers will contract for the service from LiveOps, which in turn will buy seat licenses for TwilioCX, whose provisioning partner will arrange for delivery of the Chromebook and headset. LiveOps will charge a single subscription price per seat (said to be around $90) that includes the aforementioned 7,500 minutes of time on Twilio’s network as well as monthly payments for the Chromebook.
Contact Center in a box is an old idea that brings a new twist to the “No Capex” promise of the Conversational Cloud. Given its long-ago acquisition of Grand Central and the evolution of Google Voice, I had thought that Google, itself, would have provided the routing intelligence for this type of service. Nonetheless, the Google Enterprise has apparently weighed its alternatives and found Twilio to be the communications platform best suited for supporting communications between companies and their customers via Chromebooks and WebRTC.