Based in South Africa, Altron Systems Integration is a specialist provider, leveraging world-class technology and leading practices to architect, implement and support sustainable ICT-based business solutions which are strategically aligned, fit for purpose, cost effective and optimized for performance.
For more information visit the company website.
One of Altron System Integration’s main areas of activity is running an outsourced IT service desk for employees of several corporate customers. The service desk operation runs on top of an on-premises Genesys PureEngage contact center infrastructure and employs around 180 agents in Altron’s offices in Johannesburg.
When the Covid-19 crisis hit early in 2020, Altron, like thousands of companies around the world, found itself having to make drastic changes to its day-to-day working practices. Almost overnight, the company’s service desk agents had to shift to working from home, a move which raised a number of logistical and technological challenges. Many of Altron’s agents lived in neighborhoods that lacked broadband infrastructure. To overcome this, the company supplied them with laptops equipped with 3G/4G modems to enable internet connectivity over the local cellular networks. Running the Genesys agent software on their laptops would enable the agents to handle calls and perform their everyday tasks just as if they were located in the office.
On paper, this looked like a great solution under the circumstances. However, soon afterwards, problems started to emerge. Altron discovered that a significant number of calls made to the service desk were dropping or suffering from unpredictable voice quality. It transpired that the extra bandwidth being consumed by the voice calls (using the uncompressed G.711 codec) was overloading the cellular data infrastructure. Clearly, this was a situation that could not continue.
“Our customers were understanding at the beginning, but we knew that wouldn’t last if the call quality and reliability didn’t improve,” explained Ralph Smit, GM Service Management at Altron. “We had to make a decision – do we bring everyone back to the office or look for a technological solution?”
Limited bandwidth connections lead to dropped calls
Required full integration with Genesys remote agent solution
Minimize disruption to service desk operation
“Thanks to AudioCodes' WebRTC solution, our agents have been able to continue working safely from home delivering the high levels of service our customers have grown to expect.”Gary Room, Business Unit Manager at Altron Systems Integration
Given the health risks involved in returning its agents to office-based working while the Covid-19 situation continued, a technological solution was by far the more attractive option for Altron. Altron’s IT team contacted AudioCodes, a trusted vendor of voice-related solutions with whom Altron had been working for several years.
AudioCodes proposed an innovative solution based on WebRTC technology. WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) provides web browsers and mobile applications with real-time communication (RTC) via simple application programming interfaces (APIs). It allows audio and video communication to work inside web pages by allowing direct peer-to-peer communication, eliminating the need to install plugins or download native apps. WebRTC uses the highly versatile Opus audio codec which is able to deliver high voice quality regardless of network conditions.
AudioCodes’ WebRTC solution comprises three elements:
- WebRTC gateway, fully integrated with AudioCodes’ market-leading SBC that mediates between WebRTC streams and external SIP-based systems, enabling, in Altron’s case, communication between the Genesys contact center platform and the agents’ WebRTC clients
- WebRTC client running in any standard web browser and requiring no special software download
- Session border controller (SBC) to deliver reliable and secure voice connectivity between the agents and the outside world.
AudioCodes’ WebRTC solution offers several important benefits for Altron:
- Reliable, high quality voice communications based on the Opus codec – reduced bandwidth consumption alleviates the strain on local cellular data networks leading to fewer dropped calls and improved quality
- WebRTC gateway fully integrated with AudioCodes virtualized Mediant VE SBC – simplifying deployment and management, ensuring robust security and offering reliable voice transcoding
- Tight integration with Genesys contact center solutions and remote agent desktop client – ensuring WFH agents can continue operating seamlessly and enjoying the same user experience as if they were still physically located in the office
- Highly secure solution – all WebRTC communications are encrypted by default, and Mediant VE SBC ensures protection from cyber-attacks
Mediant VE/SE SBC
Scalable solution for enterprises and service providers looking to virtualize their infrastructure and harmonize their datacenters on commodity server hardware.Discover More
Secure WebRTC Gateway
The AudioCodes WebRTC gateway provides seamless connectivity between WebRTC clients and existing VoIP deployments.Discover More
Altron deployed AudioCodes’ WebRTC solution using the Mediant VE virtualized SBC with its embedded WebRTC gateway. AudioCodes’ integration with Genesys and the software-only nature of the solution meant that everything could be up and running in a very short timeframe.
And the results were quite remarkable. Altron, its agents and customers began to notice huge improvements in call reliability and quality from day one. The dropped calls that had been plaguing Altron’s service desk ever since moving its agents to WFH mode virtually disappeared overnight.
“Thanks to AudioCodes' WebRTC solution, our agents have been able to continue working safely from home delivering the high levels of service our customers have grown to expect,” said Gary Room, Business Unit Manager at Altron Systems Integration. “Without having to change our established technology stack, AudioCodes’ WebRTC solution has ensured that the service we provide is as reliable as it would be if we were still working from the office.”