Cisco to underpin AI powered contact center strategy with CloudCherry acquisition

Cisco is set to snap up CloudCherry, a Salt Lake City based Customer Experience Management (CEM) specialist that provides rich APIs, predictive analytics, and customer journey mapping with integrated sentiment analysis.

Cisco said the purchase of the firm, with the majority of its employees based in Bangalore, Indi, aligned with its strategy around the cognitive and collaborative contact center. This approach will see Cisco focusing on cloud analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to boost agent productivity and confidence, enabling them to provide more personalized customer experiences.

Upon completion of the transaction, the CloudCherry team will join Cisco’s Contact Center Solutions business, led by vice president and general manager Vasili Triant.

1551998238-bpfull.jpg“With CloudCherry, we’re augmenting our contact center portfolio with advanced analytics, rich customer journey mapping and sophisticated survey capabilities that all our customers can use,” said Triant.

“And with more than 17 integrated feedback channels available, CloudCherry can help us better understand and enrich the agent and employee experience as well! CloudCherry’s predictive analytics and journey-oriented solution helps companies understand the correlations between various factors that influence customer experience, ” he said.

“Predictive analytics help agents make journey modifications in real-time, such as up and cross-selling and enabling discounting or couponing to meet customer needs during the interaction, to improve first contact resolution and customer happiness,” Triant added.

In addition, Cisco said CloudCherry’s open API platform complemented its own open and cloud architecture approach, by simplifying how customer data is ingested from systems of records, transactional data, and other data sources.

“This enables our customers to fully leverage their business technology investments, while helping contact center agents close the feedback loop and improve customer loyalty and satisfaction,” said Triant.

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2020, subject to customary closing conditions and required approvals.

US adds 46 Huawei affiliates to Entity List, extends export licence

The United States Department of Commerce has added a further 46 Huawei affiliates to its Entity List, a move the Chinese telecommunications technology manufacturer claims is politically motivated and has “nothing to do with national security”.

The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) said on 19 August it had identified 46 additional Huawei Technologies affiliates that “require inclusion on the Entity List,” as part of a routine review of all Entity Listings. 

Since May, the Department has added over one hundred individuals or organisations to the Entity List in connection to Huawei. The new restrictions on the freshly identified affiliates are effective from 19 August.

Huawei was added to the US Entity List, which identifies foreign parties prohibited from receiving certain items from US-based organisations, after the Department of Commerce decided the company was “engaged in activities that are contrary to US national security or foreign policy interests”. 

“We oppose the US Commerce Department’s decision to add another 46 Huawei affiliates to the Entity List,” Huawei hit back in a statement. “It’s clear that this decision, made at this particular time, is politically motivated and has nothing to do with national security. 

“These actions violate the basic principles of free market competition. They are in no one’s interests, including US companies. Attempts to suppress Huawei’s business won’t help the United States achieve technological leadership,” the Shenzhen-based firm added.

“We call on the US government to put an end to this unjust treatment and remove Huawei from the Entity List,” it said.

While adding 46 new Huawei affiliates to the Entity List, the US Department of Commerce also granted a 90-day extension to the Temporary General License (TGL), authorising limited transactions involving the export of items by US companies to Huawei and its non-U.S. affiliates that are subject to the Entity List. 

The Department said the decision to extend the TGL is intended to give US consumers  the necessary time to transition away from Huawei equipment. 

“As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei’s products, we recognise that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said. “Simultaneously, we are constantly working at the Department to ensure that any exports to Huawei and its affiliates do not violate the terms of the Entity Listing or Temporary General License.”

Huawei claimed that neither the expanded Entity List, nor the 90-day export licence extension will markedly affect its business. 

“The extension of the Temporary General License does not change the fact that Huawei has been treated unjustly. Today’s decision won’t have a substantial impact on Huawei’s business either way. We will continue to focus on developing the best possible products and providing the best possible services to our customers around the world,” the company said. 

Indeed, Huawei Chairman Liang Hua noted, “neither production nor shipment has been interrupted, not for one single day”. 

Despite these claims, Huawei has taken significant action against the US Government over other moves to restrict its trade with US entities. Earlier this year, Huawei filed a complaint in a US federal court challenging the constitutionality of Section 889 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which bars US Government agencies from buying Huawei equipment and services.

Through this action, Huawei sought a declaratory judgment that US restrictions targeting Huawei are unconstitutional, and a permanent injunction against these restrictions.

“The US Congress has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products. We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort,” explained Guo Ping, Huawei Rotating Chairman, at the time. 

“This ban not only is unlawful, but also restricts Huawei from engaging in fair competition, ultimately harming U.S. consumers. We look forward to the court’s verdict, and trust that it will benefit both Huawei and the American people.”

Huawei unveils holistic ‘Harmony’ operating system

Huawei has launched a new microkernel-based, distributed operating system dubbed HarmonyOS, which aims to deliver a “cohesive user experience across all devices and scenarios.”

Huawei said traditionally, new operating systems were released alongside new types of devices. It added that about ten years ago, it imagined a future where intelligence would seamlessly integrate with all aspects of people’s lives.

Huawei said it aimed to establish an integrated and shared ecosystem across devices, create a secure and reliable runtime environment, and deliver a holistic intelligent experience across every interaction with every device.

HarmonyOS is billed as a lightweight, compact operating system, and will first be used for smart devices like smart watches, smart screens, in-vehicle systems, and smart speakers.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, said consumers increasingly demanded a holistic intelligent experience across all devices and scenarios. “To support this, we felt it was important to have an operating system with improved cross-platform capabilities. We needed an OS that supports all scenarios, that can be used across a broad range of devices and platforms, and that can meet consumer demand for low latency and strong security,” he said.

“These were our goals with HarmonyOS,” Yu continued. “HarmonyOS is completely different from Android and iOS. It is a microkernel-based, distributed OS that delivers a smooth experience across all scenarios. It has trustworthy and secure architecture, and it supports seamless collaboration across devices. You can develop your apps once, then flexibly deploy them across a range of different devices.”

‘We will never give up on Australia’ says Huawei Australia chief exec

Huawei Australia CEO  Hudson Liu has told staff marking the Shenzhen-based firm’s 15th anniversary of entering the Australian market that the company would “never give up” on the local market.

Huawei Australia, which entered the Australian market in 2004, now has some 700 employees across the country and is generating annual revenues of about A$750 million across its network, consumer and enterprise business divisions.

“We accept that the Australian Government policy on 5G may not change in the short term but we will never give up on the Australian market, we are committed to this country in both the good times and bad times,” said Liu.“Our network business will continue to bring in solid income as we continue to deliver 4G for our existing customers and our consumer and enterprise businesses are still growing.

“No matter what is going on around us we will keep our faith in our technology and we will be patient for our opportunity to arise,” he added.

Liu said that while Australia would likely not be the first country to deploy Huawei’s 5G technology – as the firm had hoped it would be before the 5G ban was imposed- he hoped that over time that situation might change.

“Huawei has already established itself as the clear 5G leader in the global market with 50 5G contracts signed – over half of them in Europe – and commercial services already launched in the UK, Spain, Switzerland, South Korea and the Philippines and others,” he said.