The most magical technology

you’ve ever heard

A journey into voice and a game-changer for the industry

The most magical technology

you’ve ever heard

How do you create the best conversational virtual agent on the market?

The answer may surprise you.

It’s attention to details.

Gridspace CEO and co-founder Evan Macmillan has been an entrepreneur most of his life. But before first grade, he was a software tester. ‘One of my earliest activities at home would be to QA test software for The Learning Company, things like Reader Rabbit. So, one of my first experiences was not just interacting with educational software but starting to look at it through the lens of an end user and a contributor to the software development team. It kicked off this long track of excitement for me around software.’

Evan’s discovery of voice was memorable and career-defining too.

‘In the early days…there was nothing else like speech technology for me. It was the most magical kind of technology I had ever encountered. I was an early user of the IBM products and the Nuance products and then when Siri. But they still couldn’t do exactly what I wanted, which was have a natural conversation…’

‘So, fast-forward 15 plus years and we’re working with the lab behind Siri, SRI, and we built software for businesses that makes it really easy to understand and automate contact center speech.’

It was while working on Zappedy and later with Groupon that he first became interested in the call center model. ‘That was my first experience of a vibrant contact center where agents were on the lines with businesses day in, day out. You would have these incredibly important conversations between merchants and Groupon, and Groupon and customers, and the only connective tissue between these conversations – and the business and all the other people in the business – was the recollection or notes of an agent. That was fascinating to me. Because our business was being moved by these conversations. They determined everything. I realised I wanted to do something in voice.’

Later, Gridspace was formed as a collaboration between SRI Speech Labs and a multidisciplinary team of designers and engineers. There was a clear mission to solve the ‘huge puzzle’ of how to get inside these conversations and make use of their vast amounts of call data to the advantage of businesses and customers alike.

Co-founders Anthony Scodary and Nico Benitez shared the same intellectual and creative passion for the work. Anthony previously worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and has been at the forefront of a wide array of novel machine learning applications in speech and language. Nico previously worked at OnLive, a cloud gaming company that rendered and streamed complex video games.

‘Technical insight doesn’t necessarily translate into an easy path,’ Evan recalls. ‘We found there were some really, really big challenges with both understanding and automating voice.’

Today, the company’s speech processing system combines groundbreaking techniques in the fields of speech recognition, natural language processing and artificial intelligence.

Gridspace makes it possible to multiply the competences of an agent by providing real-time guidance and pairing it to the kinds of issues customers are asking about in a real time call. Customers benefit from access to a technology enabled human agent. Call times are reduced because responders have the information they need to handle cases quickly while also reducing the chances of a callback.

The company also provides executive tools for transcribing and monitoring of populations of calls, along with notation capabilities and search capabilities. The software integrates with popular telephony systems, CRM solutions, data warehouses, and other data sources to provide a comprehensive view of live conversations. This significantly improves ability to identify performance trends, understand a specific agent’s behavior, automatically connect CSAT to recordings or transcripts, and provide focused analyses on products or situational needs, such as calls related to localized incidents, natural disasters or pandemic related complications.

Gridspace Grace is a next-generation conversational voice bot, the result of more than seven years of research and development. This task-specific virtual agent not only takes a call, it uses conversation in real time to connect outside data sources with the dialoguing system to solve customers’ problems without the need to reroute the call to a new agent.

Voice automation is a growing market with broad provider choice to support your journey. Gridspace products, as we’ve heard, are born of excitement, expertise and years of endeavour on voice technology.

Your organization will hear the difference!

Authors

Acknowledgements

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