March 27 2018

What is blockchain and how will it affect the contact center?

By now, you may have heard of blockchain. And I’m certain you have heard of Bitcoin. But are they the same thing? And what does it mean for your business? Look out Digital Transformation, here comes Blockchain Revolution.

Blockchain AVDS

The terms blockchain and cryptocurrency are quite new to most people. However, they have made the cut and Webster’s Dictionary officially defines them as:

Definition of blockchain

a digital database containing information (such as records of financial transactions) that can be simultaneously used and shared within a large decentralized, publicly accessible network;also the technology used to create such a database

  • The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. — Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani 

Definition of cryptocurrency

plural cryptocurrencies

any form of currency that only exists digitally, that usually has no central issuing or regulating authority but instead uses a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units, and that relies on cryptography to prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions

  • Virtual currency bitcoin hit the mainstream in 2014. Bitcoin ATMs started springing up all over the world … , allowing people to exchange cash for the cryptocurrency, a secure digital payment outside of conventional financial institutions.  — Brenda Poppy

Now, let’s not get lost in Bitcoin. Although, had you got lost in it, you’d probably be a multimillionaire now. Bitcoin is considered a cryptocurrency that is managed across a decentralized ledger and traded on a blockchain network. Bitcoin was the “experiment”, of sorts. It has proven many things and dispelled a few others. However, Bitcoin is not the technology. Blockchain is the technology and that is where the business resides.

Financial services industries will be affected in how they leverage the distributed ledger and low-cost high-speed currency exchange to handle trade and commercial finance, business and consumer banking transactions, and especially cross border transactions. Insurance companies will leverage the efficiencies, inherent security, and constant availability of the technology to address needs for medical record management, patient care security, and payment transactions. Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management will be able to keep more accurate historical data, development records, and business transaction information by leveraging the smart contract and inherent provenance of record keeping on the blockchain network. And let’s not forget the Internet of Things. As machines begin to interact with one another, especially in an agentless environment, leveraging increased accuracy and speed of transaction along the blockchain will enhance the effectiveness of the IoT.

The real question for our industry is, how will blockchain technology change the future of communications and the contact center? I believe the short answer is “How will it not?”. Blockchain technology is poised to disrupt many forms of communication. Many companies are just beginning to understand the use cases for this technology. IBM is one of the leaders in this charge to adopt and leverage the benefits of blockchain technology to address these business challenges. While many use cases focus on the transaction of money, many more are developing for every vertical and solution. As this technology evolves, we will see all forms of communications distributed on the blockchain. Companies are working today to create a blockchain of agents who can buy/sell time to/from businesses who have a dynamically changing need for agent representation. This plays into an ever increasing global e-commerce need for agent availability that follows the sun. This also allows business to manage agent downtime and work flow processes on a global chain, verifying transactions and process quickly, without the need for costly centralized infrastructure. It is a truly remote workforce solution. The possibilities are endless.

At the very minimum, every industry referenced above relies heavily on their contact centers. The contact center is alive and well and not going away anytime soon. It certainly is looking at some uncertain changes on the horizon. But companies with vision and innovation who embrace that change will be primed to succeed.

AVDS, a proud IBM Partner, is a Contact Center Consultancy skilled in Contact Center Design, Professional Services, Custom Application Development, and Communications Networks. We would love the opportunity to discuss your complex business challenges. Contact AVDS Today! We make it easy to do business.