Contact Center Startup CafeX Says Mobile-First Strategy Gaining Attention In Channel

As the adoption of mobile devices continues to soar in both the enterprise and consumer markets, startup CafeX Communications says it's taking advantage of that trend with new contact center software that can be embedded directly into mobile apps.

CafeX -- founded in 2013 after being spun off from unified communications vendor Thrupoint -- offers software called Live Assist that enables real-time, WebRTC-based communications services directly within any iOS or Android app.

These services, according to Sajeel Hussain, vice president of marketing and partner development at CafeX, include voice, video, file sharing and annotation, allowing mobile users to not only launch a video chat with a support agent in real time, but to actually share their screen so that the agent can see exactly what they see.

[Related: Going Mobile: Cisco Again Shakes Up Collaboration Line With 'Project Squared' Cloud-Based App]

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But most importantly, Hussain said, all of CafeX's communications services are embedded directly within an app, meaning customers can receive the support they need from an agent without ever having to leave the application itself.

"From a market perspective, mobile is hot," Hussain said. "Everyone is saying, 'I have a mobile app, but I need to do more with it.'"

What's more, Hussain said CafeX's software has the ability to collect customer "context" across multiple communications channels, including voice, video or chat. That data, which offers insights into customers' purchasing habits or prior interactions with the app, is then passed on to the customer service agent, preparing them to offer the best possible support.

In addition to iOS and Android mobile apps, the CafeX solution can work with all major Web browsers, Hussain said. It's also interoperable with all standard contact center and SIP endpoints, meaning it can work on top of existing contact center software from companies such as Avaya or Cisco Systems.

"[Customers] don’t need to rip and replace," Hussain said. "They can still have their existing unified communications or contact center infrastructure."

According to Hussain, CafeX's mobile-first contact center strategy is gaining attention in the channel. He said CafeX has on-boarded roughly a dozen partners -- including major systems integrators such as World Wide Technology and Presidio -- since the company rolled out its channel program earlier this year.

Another early CafeX partner is IVCi, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based video integrator and No. 202 on CRN's Solution Provider 500 list. Chris Bottger, senior vice president of collaboration experiences at IVCi, said he saw CafeX as an opportunity for IVCi to broaden customers' video use beyond the boardroom and onto the mobile device.

"We have been in video a long time, from a videoconferencing perspective, and most of it has been inside the meeting room," Bottger said. "What CafeX allows us to do is really change the business outcome and how our customers have been talking to their customers -- either to consumers or partners or what have you."

Bottger said one of IVCi's clients, a health-care insurance provider, is leveraging CafeX's technology to provide real-time nursing services directly through its mobile app.

"For us, the key thing is that it drives more of their customers to their app," B o tger said. "That is a big differentiator, as well."

Hussain said CafeX also is selling its technology through a number of OEM partnerships, many of which are with "major" unified communications and contact center players. He declined, however, to name any specifically.

CafeX is working with a third group of partners as well -- independent software vendors -- that use CafeX technology such as Live Assist to create new mobile applications and then resell those applications to businesses.

Hussain said the goal is for CafeX to ultimately do roughly 75 percent to 80 percent of business through the channel.

"These resellers are looking to not just sell plumbing, but move up the application stack, sell solutions and become a strategic adviser to their customers," Hussain told CRN. "Our solutions allow them to do that."