• September 1, 2003
  • Q & A

Adi Sideman, CEO, Oddcast

Tell us a little about Oddcast. What is your primary mission?

Adi Sideman Oddcast is a media technology company that develops conversational character products. We have a product called the [V]Host™ that helps companies create brand appropriate characters that do everything from teaching salespeople how to sell to guiding customers through the ecommerce checkout process. In today's online world, millions of businesses are communicating with their customers SILENTLY. Our mission is to introduce virtual salespeople, virtual marketers, instructors and customer service agents to the masses in the online world.

How do speech technologies fit into your product offerings?

AS Oddcast has advanced Audio Processing Servers, which process audio data into streaming Lip-synched files. Additionally we have Text To Speech Engines that allow character dialogue delivery in nine languages. The TTS requires no plug in, and works in Flash on the client end.

Who are some of your customers that use this technology?

AS We have over 600 clients. Companies using the [V]Host technology include Coca-Cola, Chevy, Cisco, L'Oreal, Skittles, WACOM and NASA.

How do your clients judge their success in using these solutions?

AS Companies who deploy interactive conversational agents on their sites are doing so to achieve a specific goal such as increase conversion from visitors to buyers, conversion to registered users, click-through rates or saving on traditional customer service call center costs. Elearning companies for example measure improvement in comprehension and retention. Ecommerce companies gauge success via increased sales. We've actually made the measurement process quite simple. The [V]Host™ comes equipped with robust reporting tools that allow our clients to monitor the performance of the characters and the return on investment, in real-time.

Which of your customer's deployments would you cite as "exemplary" or "one of the best" ... and why?

AS We are especially proud of Ladder Digital's deployment http://www.speak2me.net. Ladder Digital is one of Asia's largest publishers. The site has been successful. It uses a [V]Host character, "Lucy" to teach English. The [V]Host is tied to a natural language engine - so Lucy responds, through TTS to any user input. It's a marvel of technology and a strategically impressive model for business. Chinese people are purchasing phone cards on the streets of Beijing to pay for registration to speak with Lucy.

Why did you choose Loquendo to supply the underlying technology?

AS Loquendo has a state of the art TTS technology. Not only are they offering and continually developing a complete set of languages and voices to choose from, our intensive market research proved that they have the best sounding product too.

You are releasing nine new languages into your product mix. Why are you developing this language support?

AS Many of our customers market their products and services internationally. Therefore, Oddcast needed to find a solution that would provide these clients with a broad range of languages and language dialects," Loquendo TTS not only gives our customers the options they need, it also allows us to extend our product marketing reach into untapped territories. Most importantly, these language upgrades will help to further the expansion of [V]Host characters on the Internet.

What is [V]Host™?

AS Our flagship product, [V]Host™, allows businesses to create brand appropriate, online characters that intelligently interact with customers in customer service applications, e-learning systems, advertising campaigns, e-commerce checkouts, mobile devices and digital TV. [V]Host™ is offered as four separate modules to help meet the individual needs of any size organization. These modules include the [V]Host™ SitePal, [V]Host™ Studio Edition, [V]Host™ Studio CD Edition and the [V]Host™ Workshop.

How do you price your solutions? Are there other pricing options?

AS Our Lite product starts at $39 / month. It allows for up to three concurrent users - and offers basic functionality level. Our professional level products start at $4,500.

What do you think of the future of speech technologies for your offerings?

AS As speech technology offerings grow so will the offerings of Oddcast. Our [V]Host™ solution is cutting edge and can adjust to the exciting new products that are being developed by speech technology companies. We are closely linked with the artificial intelligence leader, The ALICE Foundation, for that very reason, so that we are ready and able take advantage of advancements.

SpeechTek Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues