News this week from India is that outsourcing and technology services supplier, VFS Global, has opened a sign-language call center as part of its Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) program. The new center will aid the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in accessing visa service information independently. Initially covering 16 countries – such as Austria, Germany, and Sweden – the initiative aims to expand gradually in phases.

Over 100 workers from Canadian telecommunications company Bell Canada gathered in Kingston, Ontario on December 5th to protest offshoring practices that erode jobs. The workers sought to secure full-time positions and fair compensation. Despite the workers’ frontline efforts during the pandemic, Bell’s downsizing and outsourcing efforts have prompted calls for equitable treatment and fair negotiations.

Vanagon Ventures, a Munich-based early-stage investor, has launched a €30 million fund in collaboration with ACE Alternatives, a digitized fund-administration service provider. Focused on B2B startups, Vanagon Ventures target innovations merging digitalization and green transformation, with their portfolio including ventures in CO2 certificates, nature conservation and technology-driven transparency in the carbon market. The fund emphasizes supporting startups using distributed ledger technology (DLT) and AI for sustainable solutions.

In Africa, TTEC has expanded its global customer experience (CX) delivery by opening a new center in Cape Town, South Africa. The new center of the global CX tech and services company will accommodate hundreds of associates. The company’s President of EMEA, Adam Foster, has highlighted South Africa’s skilled workforce, which positions it as a prime location for exceptional customer service. The dedicated site in a favorable neighborhood aligns with TTEC’s commitment to Africa, with plans for more centers in 2024.

The UK-based venture capital investor, Oxx, has raised US$190 million for European B2B SaaS scale-ups, aiming to bolster sustainable growth. The investment targets AI-powered solutions within the evolving SaaS landscape, aligning with Europe’s digitization wave and tech education hubs. Oxx plans to guide companies through product-market fit, offering expertise and network access.

Spotlighted during ICT Week in Tashkent, Uzbekistan is fast emerging as a global outsourcing hub. The week-long series of events, such as forums and summits, was host to international outsourcing companies, global media representatives, and thousands of IT professionals. These events highlighted Uzbekistan’s growth and opportunities available in the IT outsourcing sector. With current IT outsourcing exports valued at US$300 million, Uzbekistan plans to grow this market to US$5 billion by 2030.

Global communications technology company Zoom Video Communications, Inc. has unveiled an updated AI-powered CX suite. Zoom Contact Center’s new plans incorporate voice, video, chat, SMS, transcription, and AI Companion capabilities. Notably, the company has developed a tiered approach, with flexible pricing plans that cater to businesses of all sizes (ranging from US$69/month to US$149/month). The update introduces AI-powered personalized support, expanded communication channels, remote control, outbound dialing, enhanced privacy measures, and seamless third-party app integrations to elevate customer engagement.

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