Don Smith, CEO of Mitel took me around the Mitel booth and the adjacent call center pod. There were two interesting things that I saw. The call center pod showcased a smart-card activated IP phone-computer. The smart card, according to Don is integrated with the building security system, so an agent now has a compelling reason to log out of the system.
According to Don, agents often neglect to log off to take a break or leave the call center building. If the same smart card activates service in the phone/computer and access to the building or floor, the agent will login/out in a convenient way.
The second interesting development was the hosting service module that Rogers is using in Canada. This very scalable approach delivers a lot of flexibility for enterprise customers. My concern was the channel. Hosting is a crowded market, with lots of softswitches available from a host (no pun intended) of equipment providers, including Open Source solutions. Mitel has a strong reseller network, but hosted implementations require a different kind of sales force, prices and support structure. The question is, does Mitel have what it takes to make that happen? Does Mitel have what it takes to make that happen at a sufficiently large scale so it is makes a serious contribution to the overall business?