There’s a vital call coming through: someone’s ready to close that big sale, there’s a big deal on the line or a company-wide meeting happening that can’t be missed.
But that smaller screen on your phone just won’t cut it. For something this big, it’s imperative that you be able to see who’s on the other end. If only there was a way to flip that call to a larger screen on another device so you can pull up data or contracts—or take notes at the same time.
Companies such as Motorola, the Financial Times and Uber have come to rely on Dialpad for the technology to make this seamless leap from a phone to a computer—and back again, if needed.
“This is a new way to link today’s changing work forces,” says Lily Toy, Dialpad’s general counsel. “It’s essentially desk phones for businesses that are cloud based, so there are no more server rooms and no more cords.”
What Dialpad offers isn’t exactly a new concept. What makes the conferencing platform unique, Toy explains, is how it meets customers and callers where they are, without additional software to download or PINS to fumble for.
Dialpad represents the second iteration of a venture founded by CEO Craig Walker. After selling his first company to Yahoo!, Walker bought the name back, using it to launch the new-and-improved Dialpad in 2010.
In its new iteration, Dialpad also expands its offerings with its videoconferencing platform UberConference, Dialpad Support and Dialpad Sell, a sales platform that can record and transcribe calls. Dialpad Sell also uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to offer verbal cues and post-call analytics.
Now, Toy is working closely with Walker to give Dialpad a greater presence in the legal field.
“Law firm practices are changing,” Toy explains. “There’s a greater need for attorneys to be flexible and mobile while maintaining seamless communication with clients.”
In addition to allowing them to move from a phone to other devices as well as providing a PIN-free one-click conferencing system, the AI in Dialpad’s products should also enable attorneys to better track their billable hours, Toy explains.
To be an effective tool for its customers, Dialpad products must pass their own legal muster for things like data privacy and security.
Nowhere is this more critical than in the tool’s recording and transcription functions because, as Toy explains, laws governing whether someone can record a call are not uniform.
“The ability to record and transcribe are very attractive features,” Toy says. “The main concern is you have single-party and all-party consent states, but the call initiator doesn’t have a 100 percent guarantee of where the person they are calling is physically located and what the laws of that jurisdiction are.”
To ensure its customers have a compliant product, the platform’s default settings automatically alert all parties that a conversation is being recorded and possibly transcribed, whether they are calling in or joining via the web.
On the back end of the process, Toy says she’s also responsible for drafting contracts and agreements including the service quality and security guarantees from carriers selling phone numbers Dialpad supplies to its customers.
Now more than ever
As she spoke with Vanguard in March, Toy was telecommuting because of workplace restrictions caused by the new COVID-19 coronavirus.
Taking the lead in assessing and mitigating the associated risks, Toy says she and the company began advising employees who’d been traveling to high-risk countries to self-quarantine since early February.
In early March, Dialpad closed its San Ramon, California. office because employees of a neighboring office might have been exposed to COVID-19. Coupled with the increasing risks worldwide and because many Dialpad employees use public transportation to get to work, Toy said the management team decided to have all employees in each of its nine offices work from home shortly thereafter.
Still, as both she and the company website note, Dialpad remains a resource for companies affected by the pandemic. The company now offers its Dialpad Pro and UberConference Business platforms free for a limited time.
“Our core value is about doing the right thing without putting customers and companies at risk,” she says. “Fortunately, we build the tools to be able to go through this and maintain our productivity.”
Being in-house is challenging enough even before a pandemic expanded her role to helping keep Dialpad staff safe, but it’s a role Toy long aspired to.
“I found early in my schooling that I wasn’t interested in litigation—learning how to fix things after they had already broken apart,” she says. “I was much more interested in being collaborative and bringing people together.”
While her family has been living in the U.S. since the late 1800s, Toy was actually the first to be born in America.
As she explains, male family members would go back to China to marry and start a family, then return to the U.S. The cross-cultural immersion allowed Toy to become fluent in Cantonese and English, she later learned Mandarin Chinese, too.
A high school government class spurred her interest in a legal career, even though she was not able to land an attorney’s role in a mock trial that was part of the course, she recalls.
Toy graduated from the University of California Berkeley with degrees in legal studies and economics in 2001, then went on to earn her J.D. from Cornell University.
Despite her in-house aspirations, her first jobs were at private firms.
“In my six years in firms, I kind of lost sight of wanting to work in-house,” she recalls. “It’s one of those things where you just keep your head down. So getting laid off in 2010 was a blessing as it reminded me of that desire to be in-house and I got to re-evaluate my life balance.”
In 2010, Toy joined Telenav as a senior corporate counsel. By the time she left for Dialpad in 2018, she was the company’s general counsel and corporate secretary.
Having long wanted to work at a company experiencing “hypergrowth,” Toy says that Dialpad has more than met that mark.
“What I love about being in-house is being part of the team and building the business. You’re in the thick of it, understanding the problem, and helping with solutions,” Toy says.
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