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Hardware

Future of Hardware in Telemarketing

Peter Bannister
Peter Bannister
Published on February 27, 2020

In a previous article we took a look at the trends for office space in the telemarketing area.
In this one we will take a look at the hardware needed to support telemarketing.

So what does "hardware" mean?
Aside from desks, which are unlikely to change this side of a lottery win, it means computers and headsets. Apart from these two things, there is little else people need to make calls and detail results.

Computing devices
In the early days of telemarketing computers were big clunky things with very little "oomph" but todays computing devices are more akin to super-computers of days gone by than the old "green screen" variety. Indeed there was no such thing as a "mobile" so computing device was a computer and vice verca.

However, with the advent of mobile, computing devices now fall into desktop/laptop (just desktop from now on) and tablet/mobile (just mobile from now on), The mobile area is distinct as applications tend to be downloaded from a store and not installed manually by a user from DVD or similar. Either of these groups has significant processing power and as each year goes by, this computing power is still increasing.

So how is the future of these areas shaping up for the telemarketing area?
Over the last 5-10 years, all the major software providers have moved to a cloud based solution accessed via a web browser. This means that all that desktop computing power is completely wasted and, unless you want staff to play Fortnite, not necessary. On the mobile side, to create the same application to be installed on a mobile as runs on the web is actually more effort than creating the web application as the form factor of a mobile is a lot less than a desktop, however this has not stopped the big CRM vendors such as Salesforce and MSFT from releasing them.

In the short term, people like to feel that they own the hardware people use, so it is unlikely that there will be much change in the usage of desktops in the telemarketing area. While mobile app usage continues to rise, the cost of mobile devices coupled with the ability to review contact details, make notes and call at the same time is limiting widespread adoption.

0 client
In the medium term, people are starting to realise that desktops are just being used for browsers and the purchase and upkeep are a drain on commercial resources. "Desktop as a service" from the likes of Azure, Amazon or Citrix offer fully managed solutions when coupled with "zero based clients" (just an interface no computing power shown in the illustration) and can drastically cut investment and upkeep costs.

While this solution offers little or no maintenance as its all done by the provider, its cheaper to get the required hardware but does require a suitable internet connection.

Headsets
Associated with computing devices is another necessary piece of technology, the headset. This has also come a long way over the years with current versions producing hi quality sound for reasonable pricing. The market is dominated by Sennheiser, Jabra and Plantronics with pricing ranging from 10-30GBP to around 800GBP for the top of the range models.

Most of these are wired headsets where they plug into the computer directly, however as you move up in the price brackets more and more become wireless.

In the short term, probably not much will change in the telemarketing area as cost is always a key consideration, so low to mid rage headsets such as the Jabra Evolve, Sennheiser SC230, Plantronics Blackwire or similar will continue to dominate the average call centre environment.

In the medium term, wireless is likely to become more affordable and widespread, not just because of general technology improvements but because of rapidly increasing battery life.

What does the future hold?
While the above looks at how the general trends are evolving, in the wings there is a disrupter technology lurking called Augmented Reality (AR) !

This is no longer science fiction but is completely mainstream, take a look at https://www.vuzix.com/ who have build solutions to support servicing, manufacturing, warehouse and even tele-medicine (yes really! )

These devices are still fairly cumbersome and so a long way from being easy everyday usage in the same way as the current headsets. However https://www.mojo.vision/ are making great strides towards a contact lens that could move things towards every day usage of AR.

When we start to get this type of technology into the mainstream, and not just an R&D project, keyboards and mice don't work. Fortunately the mobile arena already started the move towards "gesture control" with gestures such as "pinching" the screen . This has now moved to the next level with touchless control being incorporated into new mobiles and cars - a recent example from BMW shows how close this is to being completely mainstream.

While the cost of implementing AR will be high at the start, with the continual push for cost reduction and the likely adoption from Generation Z, will bring the costs to the point where this could be the de facto standard for operations.

With contact lenses providing the backdrop to AR and gesture control as standard, could this video be a sample of the future, only time will tell !