RingCentral Expands Its Collaboration Platform

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala, Author at eWEEK.

The communications industry is rapidly shifting from best of breed to best of suite. When it comes to interacting with employees and customers, there are many ways to do it. Historically, customers have had to buy product A for calling, product B for meetings, product C for contact center, and so on. The result was that customers to pay 2-5x what they needed to pay if they could consolidate to a single platform.

With Communications, Platform is the Way Forward

In response to the issue above, the vendor community added more and more capabilities, creating a single platform that can deliver communications and collaboration of all forms.

There’s an obvious “one throat the choke” benefit in this approach. And in the long term, as the industry becomes AI-driven, the single stack will equate to a single data center with which to train the models.

This week, cloud communications provider RingCentral announced the general availability of two new offerings. Ring CX is a cloud-native contact center solution that uses RingSense AI, the AI engine currently integrated into RingCentral MVP, the company’s UC suite. Also unveiled was the general availability of RingCentral Events, formerly Hopin Events, which enables customers to hold virtual, in-person, or hybrid events.

RingCX is Designed for Companies that Want a Digital-First Contact Center

RingCX is the company’s own cloud contact center solution. The product is designed with a modern contact center in mind, where the assumption is that customers will start interacting with the brand through some kind of digital channels such as bots, messaging, or self-service.

RingCX is infused with RingSense AI, which has three primary benefits:

  • It makes the digital channels smarter so a customer can converse with a bot and have a more natural conversation.
  • If the interaction needs to move to an agent, the agent is equipped with insights from that call and previous ones. During calls, the platform generates AI-powered summaries so agents can keep track of key points when talking to customers.
  • After a call is completed, the solution provides detailed transcriptions and summaries, giving supervisors a clearer view of each interaction.

Beyond its AI capabilities, RingCX stands out for its rich omnichannel capabilities. It unifies multiple communication modes, such as voice, video, social media, SMS, and email, into a single, user-friendly interface. This allows agents to interact with customers through their preferred channels while maintaining a deeper understanding of the customer’s history and needs.

RingCentral is being aggressive with pricing. At $65 per agent per month, it includes various features like voice and video communication, over 20 digital channels, AI-driven summaries, and unlimited domestic inbound and outbound minutes.

The new RingCX solution complements its RingCentral Contact Center product, delivered via its partner NICE. I asked RingCentral if they plan to stop selling the product, and they said no. RingCentral Contact Center is ideally suited for large customers with complex requirements, whereas RingCX suits companies with a digital-first mindset.

RingCentral Events Makes Virtual, In-Person and Hybrid Events Easy

The second announcement, RingCentral Events, is the company’s hybrid event platform. One of the key advantages of RingCentral Events is its all-in-one nature. It can be used to register attendees and track analytics and can be accessed via a mobile app.

It also offers features like check-in systems, badge printing, and lead retrieval tools. The platform has integrations with over 40 different apps and data systems, making it flexible and easy for businesses that want to simplify event management.

Ease of use is a major selling point of RingCentral Events. Companies can use the platform to create custom, branded event pages without coding knowledge. These pages can be tailored to display specific agendas, speakers, sponsors, and other relevant content, enhancing an event’s visual appeal and overall value. Additionally, it can comfortably accommodate events with over 100,000 attendees.

Soon, RingCentral will also introduce artificial intelligence features in RingCentral Events to simplify and automate event management. One of these features is the Smart Content Generator, which uses AI to create various written materials for events, including titles, descriptions, email templates, and schedules.

Another upcoming feature is the Smart Q&A, which uses AI to sort and categorize attendees’ questions, making it easier for organizers to manage questions during events. Additionally, the Smart Clips feature is an AI video editor that creates short, engaging video clips, which can be used to market events on social media.

Bottom Line: RingCentral Events

As the latest addition to RingCentral’s suite of business communication tools, RingCentral Events complements existing products like RingCentral MVP, RingCX, RingCentral Video, RingCentral Rooms, and RingCentral Webinar. Pricing plans for RingCentral Events start at $750 annually for events with up to 100 attendees.

The collaboration industry was once filled with best-of-breed products, but every vendor tries to deliver a full stack of tools – from video to calling to events and contact centers. Customers have no shortage of options available today and should evaluate vendors on how integrated the features are across the suite of products.

RingCX provides much tighter integration with RingCentral MVP and RingCentral quickly integrated Hopin into the platform. The ultimate winners of the platform wars will be the customer as they’ll get more features, faster at a lower cost.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.