Call center outsourcing services provider Bellsystem24 holdings, Inc. and its client De'Longhi Japan Corp. have partnered with Microsoft Japan Co., Ltd. and DataMesh Japan Co., Ltd. to launch a Call Center Workstyle Innovation Project aimed at creating new call center workstyles unbounded by time or location by leveraging the latest digital technologies. The partners have jointly developed Call Center Virtualization as a next-generation workstyle solution that leverages mixed reality (MR), and today launched test operation of the solution. This is the first ever utilization of MR in call center operations in Japan.
Call Center Virtualization is a solution for providing De'Longhi product customer support services from locations other than call centers by combining Microsoft HoloLens 2, a mixed reality head-mounted display, with an MR application that utilizes DataMesh's 3-D hologram technology.Up to now, standard practice in manufacturer in-house and other call centers handling tangible products such as electrical appliances and cosmetics has been to keep a large store of the products concerned in the center and have operators fielding calls take the products in their hands and manipulate them to explain functions as required. The new solution using HoloLens 2 enables an operator fielding calls from consumers to respond by displaying an exact reproduction of the product concerned in the form of a 3-D hologram and explaining its details as if it were right in front of the eyes of the caller. Also, because the hologram data is stored on Microsoft Azure, Microsoft's public cloud platform, it can be used by multiple operators from any location. This enables people whose ability to work is constrained by location or available time, such as those living in rural areas or needing to balance work with childrearing or nursing care, to undertake work of the same level as an operator working at a call center. Bellsystem24 has applied for a patent for this business model.
Japan's population is currently declining and also aging owing to the declining birthrate. As a result, securing labor has become a serious social issue. The call center industry has also been impacted by labor shortages, and while it is using artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies to boost productivity, it still urgently needs to secure human resources for business growth. This requires the creation of an environment in which people who want to work, including those living in rural areas, senior citizens, those who need to balance work with childrearing or nursing care, and those with disabilities, can work without being restricted in their opportunities. It was against this backdrop that the four partners, who share a common desire to enable new workstyles unbounded by constraints of time and location, decided to launch this project.
For this project, the four companies will work together on research and development aimed at call center workstyle innovation centered on Bellsystem24, a call center services provider with over 30,000 employees with diverse backgrounds. They will first test the solution in stages using operators fielding inquiries for De'Longhi products. After promptly completing the first stage, they will test solution operation with an increasing number of products, operators, and locations. While conducting various tests during this process, the partners will estimate the effectiveness and required scale for expanding application of the solution to other products and services. They will then aim to build a general-purpose business model by the end of 2021 for deployment by clients other than Bellsystem24.
The partners will perform the following respective roles as they collaborate to bring this project to fruition.
Since launching Japan's first full-fledged call center service in 1982, Bellsystem24 has steadily expanded its call center outsourcing business to handle contacts between businesses and consumers. With the aim of enabling diverse workstyles for a diversity of human resources, it has led the industry in implementing progressive initiatives such as creating work-from-home call center jobs. Utilizing its expertise, it will provide the facilities for testing the new solution under this project, which embodies its corporate vision of "creating better communities through innovation and communication."
In addition to its flagship line of fully automatic coffee machines, De'Longhi is a vendor of heaters and air purifying fans under its Comfort product category, and various small kitchen appliances under its Kitchen category. Its brand proposition is "A De'Longhi product will always turn 'the everyday' into something special." De'Longhi is committed to earning the satisfaction and trust of its customers through helping to provide them with great experiences through its products.
Microsoft Japan positions workstyle innovation as the core of its management strategy. It will share the experience, expertise, and knowledge it gained from implementation of its own workstyle innovations, and will leverage MR, AI and other intelligent technologies through Microsoft's cloud platform to drive workstyle innovation for Firstline Workers--workers on the front line--as well as office workers.
Since its founding, DataMesh has supported the workstyle innovation of clients throughout the world by utilizing the world's most advanced digital twin technology to improve the productivity of first-line workers particularly in the areas of education, training and work support. It is engaged in the digital twinning (3-D virtualization) of client products, equipment, work manuals and workflows. It is promoting the creation of new workstyles by enabling workers to access required information through the cloud whenever they need to regardless of time and location. DataMesh will leverage its accumulated knowledge to support this project from the perspective of technological development.
The four partners aim to contribute to the creation of new business models and environments that enable people with a desire to work to do so without being restricted in their opportunities through workstyle innovation that leverages the latest technologies under various conditions including changes in the social environment and advances in communications and technology.
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