SVOX to Break Ground on New Digs in Ulm

SVOX will open new offices in the industrial German town of Ulm. This will be the second German branch for the Zurich, Switzerland-based embedded speech provider, which already has offices in Munich, Germany.

The Ulm opening represents a push to strengthen existing ties to a number of original equipment manufacturers. SVOX has traditionally been an embedded speech-to-text solution provider for mobile and automotive settings. Ulm, a center for both heavy industry and technological research, is also home to a number of its partners, including Harmon/Becker, the automotive systems provider. Carmaker Daimler, Nokia, and Siemens AG, which sold SVOX its speech unit giving the company access to recognition capabilities, also have corporate headquarters there, making for a geography from which SVOX could clearly benefit.

“Of course, we already have relationships with all of them,” says Alexander Davydov, marketing strategist for SVOX, of the Ulm firms. “It would be hard to find something new. It’s more like selling to them better so we can dedicate more people to their projects, and so we can have deeper cooperation, and do it locally.”

The offices are expected to have 30 employees staffing them within the next few months, and more than 30 more in about a year. To that end, SVOX may draw from the deep pool of local technological talent the city offers.

“For four hundred years, it’s been a center of manufacturing,” says Davydov, “so you have a lot of people who are somehow related to it. Also, the education is somehow tailored. For that reason, it’s easier to find people there.”

For his part, Davydov doesn’t foresee the company scaling back on the Ulm offices in the face of the recession. The plans were created before the downturn began and haven’t changed. If anything, like many other firms, SVOX is putting a shine on the bear market and sees it as an opportunity for growth at a time when automakers are trying to differentiate their products and move units during tough times. It also will be easier to hire talented workers, Davydov asserts.

“If you think about product cycles in our industry, they are clearly not several months,” he says. “If you invest now, the outcome will be visible maybe two, three years down the road. And we are optimistic things will be recovered and we will be positioned to capture that.”

Davydov sees investment in speech growing. He claims that SVOX is meeting its sales targets and internal metrics, adding that without the recession they could achieve higher results. But given their success he says, “There is no reason for scaling back.”

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