Syntellect Acquires Fluency Voice

Contact center solutions supplier Syntellect yesterday acquired privately held Fluency Voice Technology, a London-based provider of on-premises and hosted packaged speech recognition solutions for call centers, for an undisclosed amount.

While Syntellect has packaged applications, the company is known mostly for its IVR platform. The acquisition of Fluency gives the company a more comprehensive solution it can market to prospective clients. Additionally, the move gives Syntellect and its parent company, enterprise software solutions provider Enghouse Systems, a greater presence in Europe and elsewhere.

"Fluency’s broad range of deployed speech applications, VSA Suite and hosted speech capability enables companies to deploy speech recognition systems flexibly, rapidly, and at a low cost," Syntellect president Steve Dodenhoff said in a statement. "The adherence to open standards and industry-recognized architecture provide the combined organization added potential to address the wider market today."

The acquisition also benefits Syntellect in that many enterprise customers have been replacing their traditional IVRs with next-generation Voice XML platforms that are more open and don’t require proprietary language restricted to a single IVR platform to upgrade.

"Essentially over the next three years, a lot of companies that have invested in traditional IVR systems are replacing those with next-generation Voice XML IVR platforms," says Datamonitor senior analyst Daniel Hong. "Syntellect always had a premise-based IVR solution – by acquiring Fluency they acquire packaged speech application assets and additional customers. The acquisition also enables Syntellect to enter the UK market."

Hong describes 2008 as an "inflection point" in the speech technology industry. For the first time, he says, Voice XML platforms will account for more port shipments than traditional IVRs.

Ultimately, Syntellect’s acquisition of Fluency is in line with all the consolidation that’s been happening in the voice business value chain in recent months. "There’s a lot of consolidation in the platform level and the enabling software layer," Hong says. "We’ll see more in the application layer."

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