Customer Engagement / Contact Centre / UC Solutions

Welcome to the Customer Engagement / Contact Centre / UC solutions pavilion. Below you will find leading vendors and/or their implementation partners in Australia. Click on any vendors of interest to see a showcase of their relevant local case studies, thought leadership articles, recent news stories, and product and industry insights. Use the advanced search facility in the menu bar to search for relevant content across the industries and solution types that you are researching. Also check the iStart event diary for local industry events. All vendors showcased have local representation and actively support clients in Australia, and so will be glad to assist with your enquiries.


Mouseover each vendor’s logo to find out more, and click to go to the vendor’s exhibit showcase:

Posts by exhibitor:



Customer engagement
Customer service has always been an important focus for all businesses. But with the move to digital and mobile, customer expectations have soared and customer experience is now a critical measure of successful engagement.

Delivering a seamless, integrated experience regardless of the means a customer may choose to use is at the heart of successful customer engagement.

Point solutions for CRM, call centre or website forms have evolved to provide integration across all channels including phone, internet, e-mail, text, social and bricks & mortar.

Unified Communications
Unified Communications or UC has provided the platform upon which these solutions have been built. UC describes the integration of multiple communication streams (voice, video & data) over an IP network onto one platform – e.g. a desktop, and also extends to integration with core business systems such as ERP or CRM solutions.

At the core of UC is Unified Messaging, whereby messages are streamed into a single inbox or service queue – be they sourced originally from fixed voice, mobile voice, e-mail, web, social, video or chat messaging.

UC extends unified messaging further by facilitating collaboration across business processes, so rather than simply a single inbox, participants in a process can collaborate on a problem and reach a decision faster than by traditional means. UC allows users to communicate with each other using the technology they have – so Video Conference participants can talk to one another via VC, but can also landline or mobile to include audio from those not connected to the VC.

“Presence” is a key concept in UC. Presence aware systems allow those within your network (business or personal) to be aware of your availability to be contacted. Are you at your desk, in a meeting, on the phone, on your mobile – or simply in a “do not disturb” moment? Your presence status means that you control your availability to be contacted, and people can see your availability. Phone tag is significantly reduced, particularly inside corporate network environments, and regardless of where you decide to leave a message, you know it will end up in the same queue – so there is no need to double up a voice message with an e-mail.

As an example of UC in action, consider the following scenario. A key customer has contacted the call centre and cancelled a large order that is in production. The call centre enters the issue into the CRM system with an alert to sales, production, inventory and shipping who all need to come up with a response plan. The presence aware messaging system will send an IM to everyone notifying them of the problem, and at the same time creates an online meeting space. As individuals come available they are able to join the space, and as they talk or chat online they can bring in whiteboard or videoconferencing feeds, ERP or CRM screens – or invite substitutes for those who are busy. The forum allows a collaborative decision to be reached as quickly as possible.

Unified Communication is in itself a subset of Unified Collaboration which is the “end game” in process collaboration across remotely located workers.

Conferencing is simply the bridging of communications between multiple parties over distance. Organisations are increasingly operating with staff or key partners in different locations, working from home, or travelling – so conferencing tools are now an integral part of allowing teams to collaborate across distance.

From its origins in teleconferencing that allowed more than two people to participate in a phone call, conferencing now extends across audio, video conferencing, web conferencing and webinars in the live (or “synchronous”) context, and can be extended to the asynschronous message boards, chat rooms, on-line forums and blogs. “Unified Conferencing” means that conferencing can operate seamlessly regardless of the end users technology – utilising Unified Communication.

With advances in network bandwidth and video data compression, IP-based video conferencing solutions have become a very real alternative to reduce the downtime from travelling to meet in person. A close look at the total cost involved with travelling, particularly for senior executives flying across international borders, means that high quality standards-based video conferencing is a very real option – particularly if the carbon credits associated with long haul air travel are accounted for.

VoIP / IP Telephony
IP Telephony allows voice traffic to be transported across an IP-based data network (hence “VoIP”), for example over your local area network (LAN) or the internet. The voice signal is sampled, compressed and encapsulated into data packets to allow it to be routed across the network.

When talking about IP Telephony, there are two parts to the story: IP Trunking and IP Extensions.

IP Trunking is where multi-site systems transport telephone calls over their wide area network. The phones at each end don’t necessarily have to be IP phones. IP Trunking is used to tie the two systems together. Voice effectively travels for free over the existing data network.

IP Extensions is where the desk phones or handsets are IP devices directly connected to the LAN instead of a phone socket (just like your computer). They can be multimedia softphones such as Net meeting, or alternatively IP telephones (IP Hardphone) which replicates a traditional telephone – or they can simply be as simple as your computer equipped with earphones and a mic.

VoIP should be considered by any organisation evaluating its telephony and communications infrastructure as it is an enabler to the many productivity enhancing unification and collaboration tools. Online forums, integrated email & voice messaging, and web conferencing are all examples of modes of communication which are available with the IP standard. Another consideration is that VoIP means that voice calls can be transported across data networks, rather than over telco networks – i.e. they can be carried for “free” – so toll charges are eliminated.

Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) is another network protocol that has provided for interoperability between voice, video and data devices, and with SIMPLE (SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions) provides for presence aware messaging and conferencing over an IP network.


Onshoring tide post covid

Offshored seats coming home

opinion-article |June 26, 2020 | Hayden McCall

The tide is turning after lockdown hits top end of town…

Datacom customer service hub

650+ jobs on offer as Datacom opens new customer service hub

news-items |June 9, 2020 | Heather Wright

Datacom flies in face of economic downturn with Aussie expansion…

Succeeding with online webinars

Guide to successful online events

research-articles |May 19, 2020 | iStart

(And the tech to support them…)

Otter_Zoom collaboration

Zoom makes a splash with Otter transcription

news-items |April 29, 2020 | Heather Wright

Forget Disney backgrounds, here’s a Zoom feature we can really appreciate…

Zoom_Eric Yuan

Zoom scrambles to recover security cred

news-items |April 8, 2020 | Jonathan Cotton

Zoom adds security enhancements to cap off its no good, very bad month…

Dr Watson_ IBM Covid assistant

IBM Watson serving up Covid info

news-items |April 6, 2020 | Heather Wright

Dr Watson on call to take strain off overloaded help lines…

WFH Call centres

Companies dial up virtual contact centres

news-items |April 1, 2020 | Heather Wright

But there are challenges to navigate first…

Australia 5G vs NZ race

Kiwis lag behind Aussies with 5G

news-items |March 8, 2019 | Pat Pilcher

Australia ranked as a ‘leader’ in 5G, New Zealand yet to allocate spectrum…

Telstra Network in Asia

Telstra’s Asian affair

news-items |January 22, 2019 | Heather Wright

Telco now carries around 40 percent of all Asia traffic…

Virtual assistant Jamie ANZ bank

Forget the chatbots, ‘virtual assistants’ are taking over now

news-items |August 24, 2018 | Jonathan Cotton

The psychological and technological come together in the race for CX AI supremacy…

Unified comms-as-a-service_Vorco

Agility, the workplace of the future and UCaaS

news-items |July 26, 2018 | Heather Wright

As unified comms-as-a-service grows, it’s embracing all today’s key catch cries…

Chatbots define customer service

Chatbots a ‘game changer’ for healthcare, banking

news-items |May 10, 2017 | Donovan Jackson

Juniper Research says traditional call centres are under threat…

Genesys bids for ININ

Genesys bids for Interactive Intelligence

news-items |September 5, 2016 | Beverley Head

Consolidation drives through contact centre sector…

multi-channel contact centres

The six challenges of multi-channel contact centres (and how to beat them)

opinion-article |February 12, 2016 | Carl Price

Contact centre operators have been shifting to multi-channel communication methods for more than a decade, writes Carl Price – but the shift has proven challenging…

customer centricity

Five trends which will revolutionise customer experience

news-items |January 25, 2016 | Newsdesk

Interactive Intelligence shares its predictions for the five trends set to disrupt customer service…

Small contact centre

Smaller contact centres lured with A$99 cloud

news-items |June 22, 2015 | Beverley Head

Interactive Intelligence dangles Amazon Web Services-hosted cloud platform…


How live video can boost contact centre performance

news-items |June 2, 2015 | Donovan Jackson

Enterprise video taken in a new direction as LogMeIn makes use of your smartphone…

Verint voice biometrics

Verint checks callers on black and white list

news-items |May 13, 2015 | Beverley Head

CRM customer support and service provider Verint is launching an upgraded platform that can identify callers from their voice alone, and analyse what they are saying and their emotions on the fly…

Unified communications enters disruptive phase

news-items |September 12, 2013 | Newsdesk

An as-a-service version of Microsoft’s Lync is being touted as potentially disruptive in terms of the way enterprises tackle unified communications…

Investment survey

2013 iStart ICT Investment Intentions Survey

research-articles |September 9, 2013 | Hayden McCall

Mobilising management is the key objective of IT investment plans for 2013 says iStart’s annual investment survey. The mid-market is investing in mobile business intelligence while small business is doing more with less in the cloud.

Unified communications comes of age

feature-article |September 10, 2012 | Jonathan Cotton

Three years ago iStart prophesised that unified communications was going to be the next big thing. But three years, in the days before BYOD and when the cloud was in its infancy, is a long time ago. So where are we now?…

Video conferencing saving two hours of work a week

news-items |October 6, 2010 | Newsdesk

A study released today says that workers are now finding benefits of video conferencing beyond the accepted travel and other cost savings…

Australian Unified Communications Services Market tops $600m

news-items |December 3, 2009 | Newsdesk

Research firm Frost & Sullivan says cost saving technologies are driving demand for UC…

Power of collaboration driving SME interest in unified comms

news-items |December 3, 2009 | Newsdesk

Hosted IP telephony is on the rise, says Ovum, and this will help fuel SME demand for software-based collaboration tools…

Hornsby Shire Council deploys Interactive Intelligence comms solution

news-items |December 1, 2009 | Newsdesk

Software-based IP solution has allowed the council to integrate communications across 20 sites and reduce its ongoing telecommunications costs…

Foster’s Group picks Cisco unified communications solution

news-items |August 21, 2009 | Newsdesk

The drinks giant expects cost savings and increased productivity from its global IP deployment…




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