Unified Communications Featured Article

Unified Communications for Deskless Workers

March 23, 2018

There are countless Unified Communications and mobility solutions available for businesses to create more efficient work environments.  The growth in the UCaaS market alone is evidence of that, along with the fact that Cisco, already a household name in communications, scooped up giant UC specialist BroadSoft six months ago.

Most of these UC solutions are quite similar in their capabilities, and serve a core business market extremely well.  Where they don’t always hit the mark is in specialized need markets with unique requirements that may not be ideally served by typical UC solutions.

Take the deskless worker, for instance.  There are many industries that have a large number of employees who may never sit at a desk, whether in a corporate office, home office, or other remote location.  Industries like hospitality, field service, manufacturing, telecom, transportation, construction and landscaping, and oil and gas, to name a few, rely on massive number of perpetually mobile workers who still need to be part of the communications process.

Stacey Epstein, CEO of Zinc, says businesses in these markets are as dependent on their communications capabilities as any other, but traditional solutions are incapacitating.  Instead, she says, businesses with high percentages of deskless workers need a different solution – not one that has a mobility element, but one that is inherently mobile.

She launched Zinc to solve that problem by creating a real-time solution that enables all forms of communication – voice, video, text, live streaming, PTT, file sharing, location, broadcast – in a mobile wrapper.

It’s all based on the Zinc communications app designed for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Chrome operating systems, and which enables a long list of communications capabilities for workers without them ever having to sit at a desk or open a laptop. 

“Most of Silicon Valley focuses on the rest of the market,” she says.  “What’s important for deskless workers is the solution has to be very easy to use.  They don’t use email the way the rest of us do.”

Through the app, users can make one-to-one voice or video calls (delivered by Twilio), but they can also start single-button conference sessions for collaborative engagement – even adding external users that are not part of the organization and are not on the network.  There’s a hands-free mode that can read messages, which can be tremendously helpful when staff are mid-project on a rig or installation. 

There’s also a broadcast mode, which allows important messages to be sent to all users or specific groups.  These messages pop up on the device screens, like emergency alerts, that have to be manually dismissed in order to get back into the app, ensuring everyone sees them.  Because many deskless workers are in regulated and compliance- and safety-driven industries, associated analytics features allow managers to see who has read, responded to, or dismissed them.

Communications capabilities are the backbone of every business, and traditional UC solutions allow businesses to operate more efficiently, just like a new generation of contact center solutions allow support organizations to more rapidly and effectively address customer issues and questions.

“By focusing on FCR, call centers seek to increase their first-time fix rate or time to service,” explains Epstein.  “That’s what they are trying to resolve with field service organizations and other deskless businesses.”

Gaylord Hotels is one of Zinc’s big hospitality customers, and has already done away with most of their traditional radios for communication, transitioning to the much more feature-rich multimodal Zinc app.

Edited by Mandi Nowitz