Next orbit of business communication — using AI and Analytics

Communication has the make or break potential for businesses. Any deviation in communication effectiveness or effort involved has impact on the business performance itself. Let me take you through the past, present and future of the business communications and how it can take your business to next level.

Communication is lifeline for all businesses

Communication is the lifeline of all kinds of businesses, be it B2C, B2B etc. Following diagram shows the touch points where a company normally interacts with its customers.

Previous Orbit — In-House Telephony and Call Centre setup

In this stage, communication happened on phone by an in-house call centre setup. It needed huge cost in setting up and recurring operating cost. This also comprised building IT/technical capability to run telephony for call centre, irrespective of the business the company is doing. Day to day dealing with idiosyncrasies of different telecom providers (for redundancy), issues and down times etc proved very painful!

Current Orbit — Cloud Telephony

A decade ago, the setup got hosted in cloud and a subscription based SaaS model emerged. This removed the hassles out of business’s life. Knowlarity pioneered the idea in PSTN markets like India and over a period of time various other companies also followed the suit. Today, almost a decade later, this space has become more of less commoditised. Time is ripe for a disruption in communication again!

Next Orbit — AI & Analytics in Communications

Artificial Intelligence is making the unthinkable possible in communications and data crunching. AI standing on your behalf, to talk personally to your customers and respond to their queries. AI and Analytics tracking your systems 24x7 and alerting immediately when anything anomalous happens. Thus keeping the business on track always.

This will reduce the workforce and training required for routine and repeated work. Machines don’t get tired and repeat same performance 24 hrs, without mistakes which plague manual processes. Humans would be second rung of escalation when the computer determines that specialised task needs to be done.

Magical scenarios possible via AI & Analytics -

  • Know what your customers/agents are “talking” about you (using Automated Speech Recognition — ASR)

Millions of call recordings in call centres are waste, as no analysis in possible without listening to them. Sampling and listening is too sub-optimal and error prone to be useful. What if computer can listen to ALL recordings and give you most frequent business keywords and also tag sentiments in calls? And if you could also search recordings based on keywords and sentiments? That’s what is possible now!

  • Search words within voice call recordings by text or sentiments.

Imagine you can say “show me all recordings in which someone said unhappy” or “show me all recordings with negative sentiment”. Then in result set, you click and go directly to spot in recording where “unhappy” was said. That’s possible now!

  • Make “personalised contextual automated” calls (using Text to Speech — TTS)

Imagine Amitabh Bachchan calls me and says “Hello Ajay, your daughter Aditi is 3 years old and should be vaccinated for pulse polio tomorrow, at the Pioneer Park near your house. Make sure to get her vaccinated”. This cuts through the clutter of generic promotional calls!

Everything personalised and contextual using the information from databases (say municipal database in example above) and spoken using TTS. That’s possible now!

  • Have “Voice based IVRs” where computer talks/listens to customers (using TTS + ASR)

To type the IVR options on phone, one has to take off phone from his ears, place in front of his eyes, then type and then quickly put it back on ear to hear next IVR response. Pretty irritating experience!

Imagine, if you could just speak your choice to proceed and there is no need to move your phone from your ears. That is possible now!

  • Have “Real time charts and alerts” even for huge/streaming data (using Big Data — Analytics)

Imagine, if you are a business owner and you are able to see in “Real Time” live what your customers are talking (say a word cloud dashboard as seen below)? How is your business doing as per your previous records and relative to competition? Get alerts for any deviations from the normal in that very minute?

Huge terabytes of data crunching at the speed of light. All that is possible now!

  • “Command the computer in English” to do above business tasks (using Natural Language Processing — NLP)

Imagine if you could command your computer in English (verbal and written) to do business tasks like generate reports, build charts, set alerts etc, just as you could talk to a human secretary. Many of you would have experienced services like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant etc. Similar NLP services will be your business secretary soon. Yes that’s possible now!

Overall exciting times ahead, as B2C communication would never be same again in coming months. Stay tuned to the future..

In case the above future excites you, do reach me @ajayshr on twitter or

Co-Authored with Ambarish Gupta