Kent Bridges, Senior Vice President of North American Sales, VoiceObjects
VoiceObjects is a provider of voice-driven automation, offering a server-based, lifecycle-focused Voice Application Management System (VAMS). VoiceObjects was founded in 2001 in Germany and recently relocated its headquarters to Silicon Valley.
With the newly relocated headquarters, VoiceObjects also brought on a new senior vice president to lead the North American sales division. Speech Technology Magazine sat down with the new SVP, Kent Bridges, to uncover the reasons behind the expansion as well as the new goals and initiatives that would follow along with the relocation.
Q. Congratulations on your appointment to VoiceObjects. What is your role in the company and what goals are you setting/changing as you move into this position?
A. Thank you. As senior VP sales, I will manage the company's enterprise, OEM and channel sales efforts in North America. As North America is the largest single market for voice automation, my goal for VoiceObjects is to gain significant market share and to build strategic partner relations. Given the company's success in Europe over the last few years, VoiceObjects is in an ideal position to leverage the work we have already done. We will be looking to leverage our existing SAP relationship and also the relationships we have with our partners Avaya, BEA, Datria, Genesys, HTI, IBM, Unisys, TSC and VoiceGenie to achieve our targets for FY2006.
Q. VoiceObjects recently became a U.S. company. What drove this initiative and how did you choose a location for the new headquarters?
A. It was the next logical step to grow the company and to fully capture the available business opportunities in the North American speech technology market. The goal was to find a new office location in Silicon Valley to be close to many of our important partners and customers. Our new office in San Mateo locates us perfectly.
Q. VoiceObjects also recently secured a new round of funding; could you tell us the purposes for the funds?
A. Principally, VoiceObjects will ramp up the team in Silicon Valley to focus on sales to major customers, key partnerships and ongoing professional services.
Q. With this new funding, have there been any changes to your go-to-market or partner strategies?
A. We are very happy with our current partner-focused strategy. This includes the recently launched Global Partner Program (GPP), in which we offer our partners a clear support commitment for joint business activities. With our Platinum partners, for example, we define joint business plans and actions to deliver a complete solution to our customers. There are various levels in our program, and partners can decide which level they want to join. A datasheet describing the benefits of the program is available at www.voiceobjects.com/gpp .
Q. Would you describe VoiceObjects as a products or services organization and why?
A. VoiceObjects is clearly a product organization. With VoiceObjects X5, we deliver the industry's leading Voice Application Management System (VAMS). VoiceObjects X5 includes development tools, a central voice application server and integrated analytical and OA&M support for various deployment scenarios. As in many other product organizations, our software is complemented by professional services, including consulting and advanced training in our corporate training centers, to ensure project success. These services may be delivered by either VoiceObjects or one of our systems integrator partners.
Q. What are you doing to make speech cheaper and easier to deploy?
A. A full-featured VAMS like our VoiceObjects X5 does both of these things. VoiceObjects supports all phases in the lifecycle of an application while offering the optimum framework for efficiently designing and implementing voice applications of the highest quality. Our VAMS simplifies the administrative tasks of monitoring, maintaining, controlling and doing analysis. Upgrades and service re-launches are performed seamlessly during normal system operation. Integrated usage and system data recording and comprehensive analyses prepared for a variety of company departments round out the capabilities of VoiceObjects X5.
Q. Is there anything that you would like to add?
A. Recently, we analyzed the market trends and challenges for voice automation and found interesting activities within our partner base. For example, Alcatel, HP, VoiceGenie and Voxpilot have each implemented integrated video capabilities within their VoiceXML environments. This offers a full new range of multimedia service applications, especially for the mobile and 3G market, to be developed on top of established media gateways. Our upcoming product release, actually in beta today, will reflect those trends and give partners and customers the opportunity to leverage these new application scenarios. In addition, driven by the industry's SOA (Service Oriented Architectures) initiatives, we see the need for more flexible interaction scenarios that include voice services. This will allow easier deployment and monitoring of voice applications - SAP will be one of the first to leverage this interface with our upcoming release.
With all that, I'm confident that VoiceObjects will stay ahead of the technology curve for voice automation and that our technology will provide our customers with important and practical business benefits. Thank you for speaking with me today.