Wisper sells XiVo (Avencall) to Volaris Group. Who will equip the emergency services?
On 19 November, the Volaris Group announced the acquisition of Avencall, a Lyon-based services company best known for its highly acclaimed and innovative Xivo software and brick, which has democratised the use of essential and unified communications in contact centres. Groupama, Opteven, LDC, SDIS, numerous players in the public sector, research and the first open source users in omni-channel relations have all been fans and frequent users of XiVo CC.
This transfer could have an impact. So, who should you choose to help you design IVRs and simple voice customer journeys, without getting your AMEX or Mozaïc card hot?
The life and death of French publishers and innovators in CRM, UX and UCaaS.
What has become of the French products and software that have transformed voice conversations and customer relations over the telephone? That's the question we'll be asking ourselves this year in En-Contact, in a regular column branded by Ino Global, a rather Sioux and ambitious French telephony publisher. The sale and history of Avencall is very similar to the story of the many innovative products that French developers and engineers have imagined and sold. Sometimes, the sudden and necessary arrival of financial backers led to a commercial explosion, but in other cases, this was not the case. And why not? When the mythical creator within a group, when the developer, the brilliant but sometimes unmanageable visionary leaves, what happens to the company, the group, the community?
Is Genesis still Genesis after Peter Gabriel's departure? Joseph Monier invented reinforced concrete, but nobody remembers him any more and he ended his life in poverty. Although he filed patents for his invention, no one paid him the royalties.
This column will focus in particular on
The first IVRs, developed by France Télécom and the two engineers Alain Bernard and Didier Dupraz. It was in 1986 that the Société du Journal Téléphoné, SJT, developed these first services, billed in instalments. Prosodie is partly the successor to this company.
Anthony Dinis and Vocalcom and Hermes.
Alcatel's OmniPCX, etc.
Avencall and XiVo CC, Sylvain Boily, Maxime Didier, SAMU, etc.
Avencall was set up in 2009 by Jean-Marc Gonon and Bertrand Caron, who were soon joined by a team of former Alcatel Réseau d'Entreprises employees (NXO, Nextira One). In 2020, Avencall became a subsidiary of Wisper, a major French software supplier in the desktop virtualisation market, with its CeBox.
"Fourteen years ago, we created Avencall with the aim of building sovereign, customisable communications systems. Today, our software helps one hundred thousand users every day," said Jean-Marc Gonon, founder of Avencall and CEO of Wisper. "Over the past three years, we've focused the company's development on a new customer-focused offering that combines usage, support and upgrades. We are now delighted to pass this on to Volaris Group, a well-known leader in the software sector.
Opteven, a group specialising in automotive assistance and the European leader in this market, is just one of the medium-sized businesses that have chosen to equip their contact centre with Avencall and Xivo. There was a better and more expensive solution", this customer smiled in a campaign announcing his collaboration with Avencall.
"As a company specializing in a vertical market, Avencall fits very well with the Volaris Group's focus," said Rémy Jacquier, Group Head at Volaris. "We look forward to supporting the Avencall team in realizing their vision for the public administration and contact centre market, and continuing to write the success story that has been theirs to date."
Avencall has been developing digital products and services for over fourteen years to work with government and contact centre professionals to transform the industry and improve voice service centre performance. Having remained its owner for three years, Wisper has maintained Avencall's offering, without however stepping up its efforts to conquer new markets.
Sylvain Boily, the technical developer behind Xivo CC and a major contributor to Avencall's success, has gone on to create Wazo, a rival publisher, in Canada, where he now lives.
SAMU and SDIS are major users of Xivo. In its latest report in 2022, the French National Civil Security Agency (ANSC) wrote to Orange, which had been awarded a strategic contract for the management and routing of emergency calls (remember the breakdown in June 2021), reminding it that it was working on the framework for the first interactive voice server, which would collect the call and broadcast the kinematics of the call.
For alert management, improvements in ergonomics and navigation in the list of waiting calls have been recorded, as well as critical technical work on the high availability of the XiVo telephone brick.
Avencall customers include LDC, France's leading poultry producer, Groupama and numerous R&D centres. Because the XiVo brick is flexible, efficient and inexpensive. If you have the technicians and developers you need to use it.
The Avencall founding team consisted of Bertrand Caron, Laurent Demange, Jean-Marc Gonon and Frédéric Compain. This team, convinced of Xivo's contribution and innovative nature, subsequently acquired XiVo's owner, Proformatique Sarl. Various investment funds then acquired stakes in Avencall, before it was acquired by Wisper in 2020.
Maxime Didier, ex-CEO of B2S, now Konecta, is the majority partner of Avencall and Wisper. The B2S BPO specialist has often identified and used innovative tools and technical service providers before anyone else.
About Volaris Group, a subsidiary of Constellation Software Inc.
Volaris acquires, strengthens and develops technology companies specializing in vertical markets. As a subsidiary of Constellation Software Inc, Volaris Group focuses on strengthening companies in the markets in which they operate and enabling them to grow, whether through organic measures such as new projects and product development, day-to-day operations or complementary acquisitions.
To find out what topics will be covered this year in En-Contact, consult the editorial calendar. Click here.