Fabrizio Bartolini of Imbarco was the first developer registration to TADHack, so we asked him some questions. He will be in Barcelona during MWC 2014 in case you are also there, and can be reached at: http://cms.imbarco.com/contact-us or via phone: +44 20 3322 6005.
We’ll be doing many more developer spotlights, to help the community of telecom application developers get to know one another, and hopefully help them win more business.
What are some of your current and past telecom app development projects?
I focus on voice and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) convergence. CRM implementations have a fairly high failure rate, in large part because it is hard to notice when salespeople are not maintaining the integrity of the information. Utilization of other enterprise tools, such as WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), requires diligent data entry or mission critical tasks will fail and directly impact customer satisfaction. With CRM, failure to use or maintain the data will not result in a loss of operations, but may impact the opportunity that can be gained from its sustained usage. I focus on making CRM more ubiquitous and potentially unnoticeable to the salesperson.
Several years ago, I worked on a project that allowed salespeople to enter meeting recaps right from their phone. This was useful since a lot of information was forgotten between driving to other appointments during the day and doing the recaps in the evening. With newer and more powerful technology, we can transcribe conversations as they are happening: spotting words and phrases that let us know the conversation is about an opportunity, a sale, or an incident, and even identifying which products are discussed during the conversation.
What we are working on now is actually placing quantifiable value into calls. Thanks again to the convergence of voice and CRM, we can analyze incoming calls against purchase history, active orders/opportunities, and even the webpages viewed on your site before connecting the call. Based on this mix, we direct who takes the call, how, and in which priority. Essentially, if you are taking sales and support calls strictly in the order received, via an IVR (Interactive Voice Response), you are likely to be leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.
How did you get involved in Telecom App Development?
I worked as a CTO for a division of Telefónica. I was quite involved in CRM, as well as application development for mobile devices. Two of the big advantages at the time were adding things like data connectivity and location into low-cost hardware, typically under $2000, but voice was also an emerging advantage. From there, I started a business in CRM consulting. As our customers needs grew, we identified that voice would play a larger role in CRM, even for very simple tasks such as: identifying the caller, bringing up relevant on screen client details, or just being able to place calls on a PBX from a CRM directly.
What are you hoping to get out of TADHack?
I am very excited about TADHack, I think it will be a great opportunity to learn, share ideas, gather market interest, and network. Its the first time developers can review the telecom app development industry, rather than an event focused on one piece or one service provider. Of course the prize is a good incentive; I already have a few upgrades in mind for my boat before the summer comes around
We will be building a specific app focused on CRM and Voice to showcase the power of these APIs and its application into real world scenarios. I don not want to share too much yet, but WebRTC (Web Real Time Communications), call-management, NLU (Natrual Language Understanding) and of course Salesforce.com’s APIs will all be used.
What Markets do you operate in?
This is a great question and why we think the global approach of TADHack is excellent. We are a small company based between Barcelona and London, yet we are building our apps and services standing on the shoulders of giants. On one side, you have the API providers such as the sponsors of TADHack, who do a great job at enticing developers to try new technologies, have a mature product offering and great customer support. They have transformed an industry of monolithic, complex developments and deployments, into what it is today, as simple as building a web-based application, and with the same toolset.
On the other side, you have the telcos’ API programs built on their carrier grade network infrastructure, such as AT&T, Airtel, Deutsche Telekom, NTT, Orange, Starhub, and Vodafone. So when we build our apps, we have potentially a great channel to deliver it locally anywhere in the world. All this is accomplished without having to dedicate substantial investment in technology and sales. Its how the telecom application developer ecosystem should work, as discussed in the Telecom Application Developer Manifesto.
I think of it as a natural evolution of the ‘app store’ concept for the real-world of business. Businesses need solutions to their problems, not apps on smartphones. The convergence of voice with CRM, and communications with business processes in general, is going to revolutionize businesses and telecoms around the world. Imbarco, and other Telecom Application Developers want to make this happen.