Uniphore saw that 70 percent of the population in India was disconnected from the digital revolution. The founders also realised there was a problem of English literacy also. Uniphore has now become a leader in the speech analytics market. We talked to Samith Ramachandran, VP & Head of Products at Uniphore.
Analytics India Magazine: Tell us about Uniphore and current clients?
Samith Ramachandran: Uniphore Software Systems is a global Conversational AI technology company that builds transformational customer engagement solutions for businesses. Uniphore offers software for Conversational Analytics, Conversational Assistant and Conversational Security. Uniphore has served over 100 enterprise clients and 4 million end users. It has offices worldwide including in USA, Singapore and India. Uniphore was founded in 2008 at IIT Madras, India. The company was recognized as a Technology Fast 500 company in the Asia Pacific by Deloitte in 2014 and ranked 10th in Deloitte’s Fast 50 in 2015. Uniphore’s Co-founder & CEO, Umesh Sachdev, was named in 2016 as one of the ’10 Millennials Changing the World’ by TIME Magazine, and ‘Innovators Under 35′ by MIT Technology Review. Uniphore’s investors include John Chambers, IDG Ventures India, IIFL, Kris Gopalakrishnan, Ray Stata, YourNest Angel Fund and India Angel Network. Uniphore has many marquee clients in India, APAC and US across BFSI, Healthcare, BPO and Hospitality sectors.
AIM: Can you share what’s the roadmap for 2019 for Uniphore and its products?
SR: The primary driver of Customer Experience will be Customer Service and Conversational AI is poised to fundamentally transform customer service. Uniphore and our innovative technology products for conversational AI will drive that transformation. While, we cannot talk about the specifics of product roadmap, at a high level we will be super-charging our flagship product, auMina – the Conversational Analytics Platform with AI, with additional features to deliver both business outcomes and operational efficiency. We are also planning to launch an upgraded version of our versatile, multi-modal and omnichannel conversation assistant solution – AkeiraTM.
AIM: What are the expansion plans going ahead and new updates for our readers?
SR: Last year we established our footprint in the APAC market. We have exceeded our own expectations with key wins from the BFSI sector. This year Uniphore entered the US market and we have already bagged some early major wins. Both regions will continue to be the focus markets for future growth of the company. Our future plans will be to expand our footprint across these markets in terms of Sales, BD, Delivery and R&D.
AIM: What advancements have you achieved in the speech technology?
SR: Our Core Tech R&D team has been working on many areas ranging from Speech/Audio Enhancement to NLU-NLG solutions to the development of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) Engine. Just this year we have filed close to 4 to 5 new patents in the aforementioned areas.
AIM: How has the speech and speech analytics markets changed over the years?
SR: Uniphore has always been the first to anticipate market transitions and align our solutions and strategies accordingly. We pioneered conversational Analytics for Business Outcomes in India and APAC markets about 2 years ago. We have been working with Opus Research for the last 3 years, commissioning a Survey for identifying key trends and customer needs in the conversational Analysis market for different regions. Our findings from these surveys have been that each region has different priorities in terms of drivers for implementing conversational Analytics. While India and APAC markets are still quite excited about applying conversational Analytics to drive Business Outcomes, the West especially the US which is a mature market is looking at Real-time solutions for driving Operational Efficiency and Customer service excellence.
AIM: How much do you invest in R&D activities in AI and speech processing every year? What are the plans for 2019?
SR: We have always believed in serious investments in building AI and Core Speech tech capacity every year. We are looking at both organic as well as inorganic capacity building aimed at imbibing AI-ML into our R&D DNA and building a strong AI-ML over the early part of next year. From a spend perspective, we are looking at doubling it in 2019.
AIM: What has been the reaction from your clients over the years to Uniphore product? How much is the demand for speech analytics grown?
SR: Uniphore has always garnered great support and feedback from our clients. We listen to our clients and understand real business problems and provide insights which solve these problems for our clients. The demand for conversational analytics has significantly grown over these years. Uniphore has always been keen in identifying newer application areas for its products Conversational Analytics, Conversational Assistant and Conversational Security. Conversational AI will soon become the core to successful customer engagement for enterprises across verticals. In the last year, we have been able to move conversational Analytics from a peripheral offline analytics solution to a real-time, inline and core conversational analytics platform which will redefine Customer Service of the future!