The 2017 State of the Speech Technology Industry: Speech Analytics

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Partnerships are also being forged. In September, CallMiner, a provider of speech and customer engagement analytics solutions, and Five9, a provider of cloud contact center software, signed a reseller agreement to provide actionable customer insights for the contact center, marketing, finance, operations, sales, and product development.

Real-time analytics has been another area of emphasis in the contact center. “With information in real time, managers can better support the staff,” says Karen Hardy, vice president of product and business management at Avaya. When necessary, a contact center manager can coach an agent as an event takes place so that any problem can be remediated immediately, rather than waiting until later to review what happened.

Again, suppliers are moving in various directions to add real-time capabilities to their products. In August, Verint Systems natively integrated real-time speech analytics into its interaction recording software. The solution is based on the vendor’s new speech engine, which features phonetic recognition and full transcription of calls. Firms can leverage advanced language understanding to deliver keener insights and create desired outcomes, such as increased sales.

Invoca, a provider of call intelligence, embedded IBM’s Watson cognitive computing technology into its Voice Marketing Cloud. The integration enables marketers to garner insights about callers and conversations, which they can then use to enhance and personalize the customer experience.

What’s on the Docket?

In 2017, vendors plan to push their products in new directions. “Like with other solutions, the speech analytics process follows a process where one crawls, walks, and then runs,” Kendrick points out. Suppliers have been adding more intelligence to their systems. They have been using artificial intelligence and are starting to dabble with machine learning, which identifies patterns among interactions, and rather than having a developer code the possible responses, the system takes that step automatically.

In addition, new ways of interacting with customers are becoming possible. “We will start to see more advanced analytics technology that will be able to predict future customer behavior and even prescribe proactive resolution tactics,” Bauserman predicts. “In other words, we will be able to fix customers’ problems before they are even aware of them.”

While speech analytics solutions have been gaining traction, they remain expensive, a factor that has limited their use to larger enterprises. Suppliers would, of course, like to extend the market’s reach. To lower costs, they have been bundling analytics with their other solutions. “We are also working to reduce the amount of professional services needed to support deployment,” Bauserman says. “The ultimate goal is to expand the market for speech and other analytics technologies into the [small to midsize business] segment.”

The speech analytics market has been evolving quickly, and more changes, some of them unpleasant, are expected in the new year. DMG believes that speech analytics’ growth peaked in 2016; the sector will continue to see sustained double-digit growth during the next five years. DMG estimates that the contact center speech analytics market grew by 20 percent in 2016 and will grow by 18 percent in 2017, 17 percent in 2018, 15 percent in 2019, and 14 percent in 2020.

Interest has been high, competition has been fierce, and signs of market consolidation became evident in 2016. In January 2016, NICE paid $135 million to acquire Nexidia, a speech analytics supplier. In May, NICE followed up by acquiring inContact, a cloud contact center and analytics vendor, for $940 million. In August, Calabrio, a leading provider of customer engagement and analytics software, was purchased by KKR, an investment firm. Further consolidation is expected as speech analytics becomes a common element in contact center, workforce automation, and customer relationship management solutions.

Paul Korzeniowski is a freelance writer who specializes in technology issues. He has been covering speech recognition issues for more than a decade and is based in Sudbury, Mass. He can be reached at paulkorzen@aol.com or on Twitter @PaulKorzeniowski.

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