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Verizon taps Google Cloud for Contact Center AI


Google Cloud on Monday announced that Verizon is piloting its Contact Center AI technology to improve its customer experiences. The deal shows Google making progress in its broad plans to win over the telecommunications industry with its cloud and AI tools. Google's Contact Center AI software, which became generally available last November, enables businesses to deploy virtual agents for basic customer interactions. The service promises more intuitive customer support through natural-language recognition. When a customer contacts Verizon through voice, call or chat, they can simply say or type their request -- there's no need to follow menu prompts or option trees.

Google Cloud matures, aims to leverage Confidential Computing, multi-cloud analytics via BigQuery Omni


The cloud computing race in 2020 will have a definite multi-cloud spin. Here's a look at how the cloud leaders stack up, the hybrid market, and the SaaS players that run your company as well as their latest strategic moves. Google Cloud's plans to launch a Confidential Computing portfolio that targets regulated industries as well as a multi-cloud analytics play called BigQuery Omni highlights the company's maturation under CEO Thomas Kurian. Kurian, who has been at the helm a bit more than 18 months, set a strategy that revolves around enabling multi-cloud deployments, digital transformation and the targeting of industries via efforts like BigQuery, Anthos and now Confidential VMs. Here's everything just announced at Google Cloud Next '20: On Air: This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet / TechRepublic special feature, examines how to play multiple cloud providers off each other and what vendors and tools can help you manage multiple clouds.

Beyond Cloud: Oracle Offers a Glimpse into the Future


Thomas Kurian, Oracle president of product development, has mapped out the technology path ahead for Oracle, and it includes artificial intelligence, machine learning, chatbots, and new human interfaces. President of Development Thomas Kurian talks about how Oracle is infusing new technologies and new forms of human interface into its cloud offerings. During a keynote presentation at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, Kurian said these emerging technologies now fit into the vision Oracle has had since it started building its cloud offerings more than a decade ago: Let anyone, anywhere in the world, access the power of all of Oracle's technologies using only a browser or a phone. "We're going to show you not just the new innovations we have in Oracle Cloud, but also a glimpse into the future of Oracle, of how we're infusing the new technologies of autonomous computing, artificial intelligence, IoT, blockchain, and new forms of human interface into our cloud offering," Kurian said. These fast-emerging technologies give companies a window of opportunity to get a competitive edge, and that makes it even more important for companies to have a well-defined cloud strategy, said Dave Donatelli, Oracle executive vice president, in the same keynote session.

Google's AI starts answering Verizon support calls


If you call Verizon looking for support, don't be surprised when Google answers the phone. This week, Verizon announced that it has started piloting Google's Cloud Contact Center Artificial Intelligence in a bid to deliver, "a more natural and streamlined digital experience." Verizon believes using Google's tech will lead to shorter call times and more satisfied customers, with the added bonus of the company being able to deal with more customers calling each day. Shankar Arumugavelu, global CIO & SVP, Verizon, commented, "Verizon's commitment to innovation extends to all aspects of the customer experience ... These customer service enhancements, powered by the Verizon collaboration with Google Cloud, offer a faster and more personalized digital experience for our customers while empowering our customer support agents to provide a higher level of service." Google's Contact Center AI is built around an end-to-end development suite called Dialogflow.

Who are Thomas Kurian's key hires since taking over at Google Cloud?


Since taking the reins at Google Cloud after Diane Greene stepped down in November last year, the ex-Oracle executive Thomas Kurian has been busy changing the culture of the organisation in a bid to better compete with the two giants of the public cloud market: Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. In a short time the new CEO has been busy securing a set of key hires to bulk up its global sales muscle, made a handful of high profile acquisitions and signed a host of new partnerships to help attract more enterprise-scale customers onto its cloud platform. Speaking to Computerworld in April this year during the Google Cloud Next conference, Kurian said: "The two things customers tell us is: we love your technology, but we don't have enough people from Google to assist us with your understanding of the technology and your understanding of our industry. "So that essentially translates to growing our go-to-market function and our work with partners to deliver the right solutions for customers, which means adding people in sales and customer service and customer engineering, which is our technical teams, as well as hiring people with deep industry backgrounds." He also told the Wall Street Journal that Google's cloud sales team is around one-tenth to one-fifteenth the size of the sales forces at AWS and Microsoft Azure, something he was clearly keen to redress. As expected this has translated to significant growth of the sales teams at Google Cloud under a new set of global leaders. There have also been reports that renumeration packages for sales staff are changing to a more bonus-heavy scheme, like those seen historically at enterprise software vendors Oracle and SAP, so no surprise there. Kurian added in April: "When we compete with other players, we win far more of the time than they do.