The Apiary Capital portfolio company Conn3ct, a provider of unified communications, contact center and global network service solutions, has acquired ICR Speech Solutions and Services Limited (ICR), a highly specialized speech application development company involved in interactive voice response (IVR) and next-generation speech bot technology. Conn3ct said that this acquisition is a major event in the company’s strategy, and adds important skills and intellectual property to IVR, which is essential for delivering an optimum call center customer experience.
According to a statement, this partnership with ICR will enable Conn3ct to offer a fully automated caller experience, where complex queries are quickly identified and routed to a live agent. IVR is a critical contact center technology that provides the initial response to the calling customers before they reach an agent. Substantial advances in technology and the introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning have driven IVR from basic call management to a more context-oriented, personalized customer experience.
Alex Tupman, CEO at Conn3ct, said that their vision for contact center IVR is quite simple – they want to move away from rigid, linear programs to something more human and satisfying to the customer. Tupman said, “We want to distance ourselves from individual channel bots to a single conversation AI engine, that supports voice and chat channels. After careful consideration of the market players, we determined that ICR is not only a great strategic fit for Conn3ct’s future vision but can ensure that we are at the cutting-edge of IVR technology and, ultimately, the customer experience.”
Conn3ct indicated that ICR will supplement their product capabilities with important IP enhancements, including the ‘Decision Engine’, which adds historical and real-time context to the caller’s intent. This input is captured using natural language, and assists in correctly routing calls to automated services or live agents. Moreover, the offering also includes a ‘Data Services Layer’, which applies business-specific logic to drive intelligent user interactions. Conn3ct said that technology currently in development incorporates a tool to read in Nuance natural language (NLCS) content and export a Google DialogFlow or Lex app for a combined chat/IVR experience, resulting in the ability to seamlessly blend on-premise IVR with cloud-based speech AI.
Conn3ct expects that the acquisition of ICR will create value for the business in the long run. This outlook is based on the unique combination of ICR’s developers, their creative processes for developing custom IVR applications, and proven solutions implemented by existing customers such as Lloyds Bank, Vodafone and Capita.