It’s still not known exactly when Amazon Web Services will be launching its Canadian availability this year, but when it does arrive, it will come along with a new cloud-based contact centre solution from Indianapolis, In.-based Interactive Intelligence.
Amazon’s new Canadian wing was on hand for Interactive Intelligence‘s Toronto event on Wednesday, announcing the pending launch of its PureCloud platform in Canada. Though some companies with U.S.-based headquarters are already PureCloud customers, relying on servers abroad for the cloud service, Canadian firms with concerns around data sovereignty will now be able to sign on with the service.
The Canadian instance of PureCloud will add to a list that includes locations in the U.S., Sydney, Tokyo, and Ireland, says Interactive Intelligence CEO Don Brown (seen in the above photo). When will it launch?
“The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned,” he says.
Interactive Intelligence, an Advanced Technology Partner of the AWS network, built PureCloud on the AWS platform from the ground up after Brown recognized the disruptive nature of cloud delivery. It ties into several of its core services for storage and database services.
“We’re pretty tightly tied to AWS,” Brown says. So it was either wait for Amazon to enter the Canadian market, or convince Canadian customers to trust using a datacentre that wasn’t located on home soil.
Examples of Canadian organizations that have already adopted PureCloud include Moncton-based real estate website Property Guys and the B.C. Liberal Party, according to JoAnne Finney, vice-president of Canada for Interactive Intelligence. But a Canadian datacentre will open up the opportunity to work with banks, government, and the healthcare sector.
“We find that many Canadian organizations, because of regulations and compliance requirements, prefer to stay in Canada and run out of a Canadian data centre,” Brown says.
Hence the wait on Amazon. AWS hired its first Canadian employee last October in Eric Gales, Canadian country lead for AWS and a former Canadian president for Microsoft. At the event, he says the team is being built out and that a Montreal-based AWS region will be coming to Montreal sometime this year. An AWS “region” consists of a cluster of data centres – at least three – in order to provide continuous availability.
“That region will enable us to help customers that have specific regulatory or sovereignty concerns,” Gales said in his presentation. Perfect for “customers that historically haven’t been able to use cloud services outside of Canada.”
Just like some Canadian organizations are already using PureCloud, AWS already counts 10s of thousands of Canadian clients, he says. They include Rogers Communications’ Showmi service and the Globe and Mail’s iPad app.
Gales says that his team is working with Canadian governments to ensure that all compliance standards can be met at launch. He also points out any Canadian firms interested in AWS but wary of data leaving Canadian borders can prototype now in Virginia without their data, building out their service and moving it to Montreal later this year.
When AWS does open, it’s likely that some of its early customers will also be interested in PureCloud’s offering. Some big banks are already Interactive Intelligence customers, used to support their contact centres, and are interested in AWS’s other services.
Setting up a PureCloud instance in Canada will cost $500,000 per year, Brown says, indicating the importance of the Canadian region for the firm.
“It’s been a great market to us for 15 years,” he says. “A strategic market for us and one where we can do better.”
Competitors for the contact centre market in Canada include Telax, 8by8, InContact, and even managed services offered by telecommunications firms. Interactive Intelligence’s competitive advantage, the company says, comes from its tie-ins to AWS and being offered as 150 independent microservices that cover everything from fax and email to workforce management.
PureCloud is also offered on a month-by-month basis, so seasonal contact centres are able to use it (and pay for it) only when required. The cloud subscription model also means no worries about upgrades, or paying for support.
PureCloud’s service is offered at three tiers – $76.99 per user per month for “engage 1,” and $109.99 and $142.99 for the next two tiers. An annual payment option is available and a freemium option is available as a way to get started.