At the Google Cloud Next '18 conference held in San Francisco in late July, Google announced an artificial intelligence offering that is in trial stages with several contact center partners. The offering is expected to be officially released by the end of the year and result in partner product offerings in early 2019.
Google jumped into the contact center market with its announced release of an AI platform that provides virtual agent, agent assist, and analytics capabilities. The offering is undergoing trials with multiple contact center partners, including Cisco, Five9, Genesys, Mitel, Twilio, and Vonage. Simultaneously, several partners issued releases announcing their intent to partner with Google and incorporate the cloud-based AI capabilities into both their cloud-based and, in the case of Cisco, premises-based contact center offerings.
Because of the strong market positions of its multiple applications utilized by most end-user customers, Google is in a unique position to supplement the AI applications of its partners with information it gathers from the internet, as well as across its own base of applications. With the addition of specific customer information that is possessed and controlled by its contact center partners, Google and the partners can optimize intelligence found across larger pools of data that have yet to be fully aggregated and proactively utilized by their contact center providers.
Some questions arise as a result of these Google and cloud contact center partner AI announcements: What effect will the agreements have on already initiated AI programs and partnerships of the contact center vendors with other AI supplier offerings? How will product differentiation capabilities of the involved contact center offerings be affected? The quick explanation offered is that Google will supply the base AI foundation to the contact center vendors, and it will be up to the individual vendors to create, fine-tune, and differentiate the deliverables to the end users. However, it seems that if all vendors have the same basic capabilities, it will be relatively easy for them to copy unique, best-of-breed applications developed by the competition. That will result in the minimization of any application development lead times, and therefore any product differentiation will be short lived.
Ken Landoline, Principal Analyst, Customer Experience