The Future Is Now: Eradj Khaidarov On How Ambient Photonics’ Technological Innovation Will Shake Up The Tech SceneAs a part of our series about cutting-edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eradj Khaidarov.Eradj has been leading innovative teams in the collaboration and video conferencing space for most of his 20-year career in software engineering. He was a key member of the core engineering team at Genesys Conferencing, building solutions for Fortune 1000 companies and competing with brands such as WebEx and Cisco through the late 2000s. Prior to that, Eradj built, pitched, and helped commercialize his proprietary solution at Intrado, which was implemented as Intrado Hoot Meetings.Eradj founded 6Ripples in 2018, a purpose-built software solution to help real estate agents find qualified sales leads using Smart CRM and AI-based lead generation. 6Ripples AI helped agents to estimate likelihood of the price bidding wars based on the listing price, simplifying the process of buying ads through Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads to find prospective buyers and sellers. Computer Vision and NLP paired together helped recognize the best features in images for the listings to increase lead conversions.As CTO at IrisCX, Eradj is building an advanced human-to-human collaboration platform that improves the way brands deliver customer experience, from pre-sales to post. Using AR, AI, and process automation, the enterprise-level platform collects and analyzes data so brands can deliver a more human experience.Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?Igot lucky while in college in the early 2000s. Genesys Conferencing out of Toronto took a chance on me as a quality assurance engineer. I discovered that manual testing was very mundane, and wrote my first scripting automation engine, pitched it to my boss. It was adopted to run repetitive tasks validating application quality.My drive to build and innovate opened doors to explore a professional software engineer career. Along the way, working for web and audio conferencing, I was inspired by the problem that we were solving. We were creating a product category that allows people to communicate and collaborate without having to travel thousands of miles to see each other. My interest in the ever-expanding field of human communications kept pushing me to learn more. I got hooked by Web RTC, the next wave of video conferencing. In 2011, Web RTC brought to the world accessibility of video technology; building video and chat applications didn’t require developers to know how to code the entire networking stack like TCP, UDP, and SIP to get two devices to talk to each other. Google and Mozilla, and a hesitant Apple, were adding features to their browsers to catch up with the Web RTC RFC spec. I had a hunch that we would tire of installing applications on our devices just to be able to establish a video call. Driven to solve that problem, I built an SDK that wrapped the Web RTC stack into a neat package easy to develop against. I pushed forward to create a product with my teams that Fortune 1000 companies would use.Being curious, I wanted to address a problem in the real estate industry; specifically the difficulty for new agents to gain credibility and find business. The real estate business revolves around two parties communicating. But how do sellers and buyers find the right agent who can understand their needs? That’s when I founded 6Ripples, which I built to help real estate agents easily connect with potential prospects through Smart Leads and Smart CRM.In the spring of 2021, I was introduced to the co-founders of IrisCX. I immediately saw an opportunity where my passion and prior experience aligned with the problem they were trying to solve. IrisCX was born out of wanting to make critical points on the customer journey more human, creating an experience that customers love, where they aren’t treated like a KPI.Today, I am Chief Product and Technology Officer at IrisCX, building a virtual sales platform using Smart Video and AI. We have all experienced trying to buy something for our homes — a couch, TV, or kitchen appliances. These are expensive and potentially complex decisions where we rely on experts to guide us. IrisCX makes anybody an expert.Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?Don’t ask for a map; ask for directions. If you are given a map, you are likely to cheat and follow it rather than carve out your own path. Ask for directions along the way to ensure you are on the right track. The same applies to forming a vision. It is never clear from the beginning where you will end up. Keep moving with your ideas forward methodically, and they will keep evolving. Seek feedback and validation along the way.In 2012 while working at Intercall, I was interested in bringing video into our product. With the help of product and engineering teams, we partnered with Vidyo. I was responsible for technical engineering and systems integration. I discovered that there were many gaps that would hinder the performance and the deployment of the video technology at scale. Closed architecture didn’t work and centralized database designs and syncs got in the way of managing millions of transactions per day. We had to pivot. We also decided to switch vendors and try an alternative approach, but it worked because I created a vendor isolation layer in our system designs that simplified moving from one technology vendor to another.When building the integration designs, I realized that vendor APIs were cumbersome and required a steep learning curve. The code was not user-friendly or customer-centric. My customers at the time were developers. It required very specific knowledge of how the system worked to build the business flows.Vendor isolation layers made it easy and intuitive to integrate with other video technology vendors. SDK was formed. It helped to isolate developers from knowing exactly how underpinnings of the video engine worked. This decision made integration easy and intuitive, speeding up the process of getting to market.That curiosity of trying to take a user-centric and simpler approach led to the capability that helped me frame a vision around Intrado Hoot Meetings. That very same SDK was rewritten and integrated with a different technology provider without having to rebuild business flows. It allowed us to capitalize on the existing pieces to expedite building the MVP and testing them in the market.Can you tell us about the cutting-edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?Everyone is buzzing about ChatGPT. Internet posts, videos, and comments are pouring in with excitement over what this technology can do. Generative AI seemingly could solve a lot of problems, but it is built using a general model approach. We are still researching niche areas, such as personalized virtual experience or symptom-based debugging.At IrisCX, we have been exploring generative AI and can see where visual and natural language generative AI can be made accessible to everyone. Imagine a product that can identify your needs by visually analyzing your living space. The app processes your information in real-time, guiding you through the buying process for an easier purchasing journey. All you need to do is answer a few questions and the app makes personalized recommendations. We aren’t talking about generic recommendations or sending you shopping links, but actually helping you visualize products in your space based on your color, style, and brand preferences. This alleviates the undue stress when making a large purchase and then having buyer’s remorse.I see a world where you will be able to empty that drawer full of manuals and quick guide instructions, and simply turn to IrisCX for help when you identify a problem. Our platform will listen and visually analyze the symptoms of the problem, and guide you in real-time through the needed steps to resolve the issue or get you connected with an expert.How do you think this might change the world?Remember the film “Total Recall” from the 1990s? Video calling was a screenwriter’s imagination on how we would communicate in the future. Fast forward to 2023: We communicate using FaceTime or Zoom without a second thought. Some studies indicate that 40% to 60% of the global population are visual learners. We interface with each other by picking up on nonverbal cues. My hope is that using our visual technology will minimize stress for everyone when making large, complex purchases for their homes.My other hope is that by helping people make more effective buying decisions, we can combat consumer waste and climate change. Returned products rarely make it back on the sales floor. They are resold, repackaged, and sometimes even recycled, adding to ever-growing environmental concerns. We want to enable large American home furnishing companies to connect more easily with their prospective customers and, in turn, reduce unnecessary returns.Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks of this technology that people should think more deeply about?Your home is the private and intimate space that you reserve for a few to see. Data should be treated similarly. We should all be thinking about the security and privacy of our data, and how companies treat and store it on your behalf. Consumer applications are built around capitalizing on the data and meta-data that allow large conglomerates to target ads to you and your household. Everyone should evaluate what level of access to provide to your apps.Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?Have you ever wondered, “if only I could access contextual data I need on the fly to help my conversations be more engaging and productive?” You wouldn’t need to research action items and you could replay the conversation to understand the context.That’s how I am thinking about this problem of making decisions and choices. We need data to substantiate the next actions. The paradox of choice is stressing us out. We make 35,000 decisions daily. Some are driven by our associative patterns, and some via shortcuts because we are familiar with the information. However, when faced with decision-making in a situation where we don’t feel fully informed, we tend to procrastinate, delay those decisions, and try to seek validation elsewhere.Data and research should be easily accessible when you need them. Our technology at IrisCX is making it easier for consumers to feel empowered and informed. We are capitalizing on visual intelligence to build next-generation technology and products that will help people be confident in their purchasing decisions.What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?We need to make customer experience not just a buzzword on a corporate slide deck but put meaning and purpose into it. Omnichannel communications that try to deflect and redirect customers driven by cost-saving KPIs shouldn’t define customer experience. Instead, put customer needs in the middle, and figure out minimal touch points to help resolve the problem. Brands need to reduce stress and reinforce that consumers are on the path to having their problems or needs addressed.We still seek that human connection and reassurance, so we continually try to press ‘0’ when looking for help. Enterprises should evaluate what the customer’s voice truly means. Surveys and NPS and CSAT scores do not entirely represent how people feel. That’s why IrisCX measures success by smiles, laughs, and thank-yous. Positive sentiment and reinforcing language go a long way, paired with video presence.What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?We speak at various CX and home product and services industry events throughout 2023. We work with a few advisory leaders in the home furnishings industries who recognize that the e-commerce world was originally built to sell books online.In 2022, we were involved in accelerators with Google for Startups and Stage 2, where we could pitch our vision to limited partners and investors to get their feedback. andWe are taking an account-based sales and marketing approach, and part of that includes product value communications to our customers and prospects. We don’t want to discuss features; we discuss the business value brands get from providing a human touch — driven by technology.None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?I have been lucky to have worked with a few good people throughout my years in the industry. There is one person in particular who really saw my potential and helped open a few doors along the way. Don H. was my manager and mentor, and remains a great friend. Don is the type of leader who listens more and speaks less. He has an insightful opinion and will share it when the time is right. He always gives you the credit, allowing you to voice your ideas with senior leaders by entrusting you with his power. I immensely enjoyed working with Don throughout my career.Thanks to Don, in 2006, I was sent on a technical assignment to Shanghai, China, to help build our engineering team overseas. I greatly appreciated the opportunity; it helped me grow professionally and as a person, trying to break communication challenges working with a team overseas and helping to integrate our Chinese staff into our product engineering team. Living overseas and traveling back and forth between 2006 and 2010 opened my eyes to how the rest of the world lives and communicates. I made it a priority to become a great communicator and learn various techniques to help my remote teams be effective.How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?I try to coach and help people to get to the next level. I have built partnerships overseas and go out of my way to mentor employees and contractors. My team is primarily composed of people who have worked with me in the past, and who have faith to follow me along my journey. I am very grateful for their support and trust in me.What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?Even in a tech role, you need to be a good salesperson. You need to be able to sell your ideas and get other people to buy in. You might be a brilliant software engineer, but to make a difference you need that entrepreneur side.The sooner you learn how the business works, the sooner you become valuable to the organization. Connect the products and technology you build to the company’s value. Make it your mission to mitigate risks by aligning the solution to the problem, and you will be a company MVP. Know who your customers are and how your product or service is used.Be customer-centric. It is easy to practice. If you have people dependent on you, try to find ways to communicate and unblock them before you get deep into your priorities. Good leaders are effective enablers.Challenge the status quo by creating alternative views and solutions rather than criticizing an existing process. Find ways to tell a transformation story rather than bringing people immediately to the future state. Engage your organization and peers in forming an opinion over a problem so they are contributing to the solution.Always be grateful for what you have and how you got there. Recognize and give credit to people silently pushing that big boulder of your vision up the hill. That’s a true definition of an excellent healthy culture — where people are so engaged that they make it their mission to succeed.You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)Stop looking for shortcuts to success. Put in the time and effort. The fruits of your labor will be so much more enjoyable than trying to make a quick buck by creating noise. Be direct and genuine with each other and give direct negative feedback if necessary. That’s how we all learn. Create stronger relationships by being there for people you care about.Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?Never stop learning. I believe I do not know enough, and that urge to learn more about the world and life around me keeps me upbeat, optimistic, and looking into the future. Hard work and dedication are appreciated silently, and recognition always follows.Some very well-known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)IrisCX lets you deliver a more human customer experience. One that makes customers happy and will keep them returning for more purchases. Consumers want expert advice to assist them with their buying decisions. People buy from those they like and trust. Video helps to deepen the connection between the consumer and the expert.B2B selling platforms like Outreach, Gong, and Clari have shown the need for data and consistency in B2B deals through voice analytics. IrisCX is pioneering visual intelligence by creating predictable virtual selling experiences Smart Video, Visual AI, and Data. We create visibility in D2C selling motions. We help large home product and service brands capitalize on digital strategies resulting in higher conversions and AOV.The IrisCX platform makes anybody an expert.How can our readers follow you on social media?You can always find me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/eradj-khaidarov-24ba7a15/)Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
Give your customers what they want. A more human experience, with IrisCX.
By: IrisCX • 19 September 2022
Online reviews are impactful because they reach people with purchasing intent – a total of 93% of new customers consult reviews before purchasing a product or service. With virtual CX, your team can start receiving and leveraging better quality reviews.
Authority Magazine Interview - Tracy Posadowski Of IrisCX On 5 Ways To Create a Wow! Customer Experience
By: Tracy Posadowski • 25 April 2023
How do you create a customer experience that people love? Make it human. Authority Magazine's Fotis Georgiadis sat down with our CMO Tracy Posadowski. In this interview, Tracy discusses why we assume it's intuitive for brands to deliver great experiences and fall short, and whether or not competition forces companies to deliver a better customer experience.
By: Tracy Posadowski • 29 June 2023
Our CTO Eradj Khaidarov was interviewed by Nat Rubio-Licht, senior reporter at The Daily Upside about how AI-based innovations in customer experience are being engineered to predict service outcomes to better serve customers. In the article "JPMorgan's customer service vibe check", Eradj was consulted as a leading authority on moving from human reaction to an AI predicted outcome in customer service.