Self-Service with a Human Touch: Announcing Inference Studio 6.0 with Conversational Speech Recognition and Natural Language Processing
Organizations are now laser focused on ensuring that their self-service channels are no less satisfying than speaking to a live agent. Gone are the days when cost cutting reigned supreme at the expense of customer experience.
The two pivotal innovations that have been instrumental in improving self-service are conversational speech recognition and natural language processing (NLP). Yet these technologies have remained elusively out of reach for all but the largest of contact center environments.
Today, Inference is happy to announce the latest release of our Intelligent Virtual Agent platform, Inference Studio 6.0. With Studio 6.0 we are now able to bring to the voice channel, the type of natural language conversational experience that consumers have come to expect in the era of Google Home, Alexa or Siri. These experiences are now possible for business at any scale.
Conversational Speech Recognition Moves to the Cloud
Just as the deployment of contact center software has undergone a dramatic transition to the cloud with Contact Center as a Service, Speech Recognition and Natural Language Processing are also moving to a “as a service” model with the release of Google Dialogflow and IBM Watson.
With Studio 6.0 we are enhancing the support we initially released in 5.3 for cloud-based speech platforms. By streaming and simultaneously interpreting audio from callers in real-time, to conversational speech recognition platforms we can now greatly enhance the over-the-phone customer experience, removing the “awkward pauses” and misunderstanding synonymous with traditional speech recognition. Studio 6.0 also makes more complicated dialogs possible because conversation between the caller and virtual agent becomes more fluid and life like.
Multi-lingual Virtual Agents
By embracing cloud-based speech platforms, we have also increased the number of languages supported by over 100 times, growing from 10 to more than 120 languages and supporting multiple underlying core speech engine providers. Support for text-to-speech has also been greatly enhanced with an additional 30 voices across 14 languages. Moreover, our agents can send text messages in different languages providing a two-way multi-lingual chat interface.
Give Your Virtual Agents a More Personalized Voice
Studio 6.0 now includes support for speech-synthesis markup language (SSML) which allows fine grained customization of pronunciation and emotion support. SSML gives you ultimate control on the way your virtual agents communicate. For example, you can control the rate, pitch, volume or emphasis of your text-to-speech.
Virtual Agents Gain More Skills
Studio 6.0 also offers several new skills for Virtual Agents including ‘number insights’ to allow the agent to determine if they are talking to a mobile or fixed line caller as well as ‘tone analysis’ to gauge the emotion of callers and react accordingly. Our agents have also improved their payment processing skills making it easy to accept PCI compliant payments not only via the voice channel but also the messaging channel using tokenization.
Carrier Partners Can Now Deliver New Types of Value-Added Services
Inference Studio has been the platform of choice for dozens of telecommunications carriers from around the world since it first launched in 2013. With Studio 6.0, our carrier partners now have even more flexibility to customize, package, price and resell services based on the needs of their customers. They will continue to be able to select from our pre-packaged applications and develop their own custom self-service applications. Those applications can then harness the power of a wider variety of underlying speech technologies – from on-premise to hosted and now to fully cloud-based speech platforms. From simple touch-tone IVR interactions to advanced Natural Language dialogs, we will continue to add new and innovative technologies to the Studio platform allowing service providers to drive more revenue from their BroadWorks investment and differentiate themselves with value-added-services.
We are now releasing Studio 6.0 to existing partners who want to leverage conversational speech recognition. I encourage new and existing partners to attend our upcoming Studio 6.0 webinar. We’ll be hosting the webinar on November 26 for Australian viewers and on November 27 for viewers in the United States and Canada. You can also sign up for a trial to see, first-hand the benefits to be gained from our latest release.