“Voice recognition technology has made leaps and bounds during the past year, with major advances in Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. That said, it will most likely be quite some time before there is an AI-driven voice recognition solution with 100% accuracy,” says Ariel Utnik, Chief Revenue Officer, Verbit, in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.
ET Bureau: What are the biggest challenges for enterprise collaboration since the beginning of remote work?
Ariel Utnik: As enterprises continue to shift to remote work due to the COVID-19 crisis, they face the unprecedented challenge of figuring out how to communicate effectively via video communication platforms – both internally and with customers and partners. It may be quite some time before they can fully return to face-to-face meetings and events – indeed; over 60% of hiring managers believe that their workforce will be more remote moving forward.
Due to this shift, enterprises of all sizes have adopted and will continue to adopt innovative technology platforms that support remote work and enable effective business communication.
However, with new types of communication platforms and technologies come new communication challenges, such as difficulty concentrating, video fatigue, complicated group dynamics, struggles with remote interaction, and more.
Also, there remains a vital need to ensure that all such business communications are accessible and inclusive for all employees and partners. Enterprises need to utilize web conferencing platforms effectively to confront these challenges.
ET Bureau: How can enterprises enable seamless communication where their audio and video files are accessible as well as actionable to their users?
Ariel Utnik: One key way enterprises can enable more seamless and accessible communication for their customers and employees is by adopting speech-to-text tools that make communication channels clearer.
Transcription and captioning platforms, for example, make communication easier to comprehend and absorb, and they also make information communicated in various forums searchable, accessible, and actionable, enabling enterprises to optimize their communication and cooperation. In addition, audio-visual translation tools can help enhance cross-team collaboration.
Access to these types of tools often helps business leaders overcome distinct obstacles, including the inability to search video for key information or to decipher what a participant is saying due to background noise, distractions, bandwidth issues, heavy accents, and more.
ET Bureau: What role do AI and ML play in effective communication technologies?
Ariel Utnik: AI and Machine Learning play key roles in effective communication technologies. For example, AI-powered transcription and captioning systems on the market today can maximize the effectiveness of communication over video and web conferencing platforms with word-for-word transcripts, speaker identification, and interactivity for note-taking, searching, and sharing.
AI-powered voice technologies such as virtual assistants, smart speakers, and chatbots are helping transform enterprises and enabling more effective communication. As work-from-home and virtual conferences and meetings become more the norm than the exception, expect technological solutions to gain even more momentum.
ET Bureau: What advancements do you expect will emerge in the voice technology space for the foreseeable future?
Ariel Utnik: Voice recognition technology has made leaps and bounds during the past year, with major advances in Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. That said, it will most likely be quite some time before there is an AI-driven voice recognition solution with 100% accuracy.
Even as current AI-based Automated Speech Recognition systems improve at picking up on different accents, tones, and dialects that characterize the richness of human speech, they still need a human touch to reach optimal accuracy. Perfect perception can only be achieved by combining artificial intelligence with real – namely human – intelligence.
ET Bureau: Do you think the enterprise segment is conscious of the need for better communication technologies? What would you rate as the top 2 innovations in the communications technology field?
Ariel Utnik: Enterprises of all sizes are becoming more conscious of the need for better communication technologies. In the past two years, there has been an increased interest in the use of voice technology in the workplace, and even prior to the pandemic, organizations were looking to adopt voice-activated systems and virtual assistants. Now that remote work and virtual events are the “new normal,” I predict that enterprises will adopt even more technologies – many AI-powered – that enable effective communication.
Moreover, there is growing pressure on enterprises to be even more inclusive and meet the needs of all employees by providing accessible materials to those who may be having difficulties hearing or have other disabilities – even during web conferencing calls. Enterprises need to enlist more technologies that create an accessible, inclusive work environment for all.
The global pandemic has generated a universal need for technologies that enable and empower remote communication. Therefore, the top communication technology innovations of 2020 were advances in communication and video conferencing tools, collaboration platforms, and everything in between.
During a tumultuous year, these technologies successfully facilitated the continuity of two quintessential pillars, namely working and teaching. They enable individuals around the world to maintain some level of normalcy and routine while also maintaining key economic activities during social distancing.
Enterprises need to keep looking out for Voice Recognition and Natural Language Processing technologies to make continued advances to overcome the challenges presented by the global health and economic crises.
Ariel is responsible for all revenue generation functions and processes at Verbit. In this role, he ensures alignment between all revenue-related channels including marketing, sales, customer success, and partnerships. Ariel brings over 20 years of executive-level experience in business and customer-facing and technology positions at leading tech companies, including Clarizen, Feedvisor, and Panaya, where he served as VP Customer Success and Chief Customer Officer respectively. He holds a B.A in Management.