Piergiorgio Vittori, Spitch: “AI helps to unlock human creative potential by taking care of the monotonous routine work”
Today, we’re riding the crest of technological progress where many routine processes are being automated. Artificial intelligence is one of the most promising innovations that can help with repetitive tasks and give more time to complete the ones requiring unique human intelligence.
The broad application spectrum of artificial intelligence ranges from improving customer experience to analyzing large data sets and even cybersecurity. For example, along with effective password management services one can employ AI-based voice biometrics solutions to reduce the risks of online fraud and identity theft.
For this reason, we’ve asked the VP of Business Development Worldwide and Regional Managing Director at Spitch, Piergiorgio Vittori, to give insights into the potential of AI in business automation and its future regarding applications in the cybersecurity industry.
Let’s go back to the very beginning of Spitch. Can you tell us more about your journey since 2014?
Founded in 2014, Spitch was the pioneer in enterprise-class voice and text solutions in Swiss German with its many dialects. It was ahead of Big Tech to offer customer communication automation services in all major languages spoken in Switzerland. The company has developed its speech-to-text (STT) engine against the backdrop of over 50 years of combined research experience of its international R&D team based in Zurich.
Since then, the company has created Virtual Assistants, Speech Analytics (including sentiment and behavior analytics) solutions, and Voice Biometrics for continuous customer identification and authentication. We also have a speech synthesis (TTS) system with a capability of the so-called branded human voice to suit our customer's branding needs, as well as a unique set of tools for speech application building and customization.
Today, we are a global company headquartered in Zurich with offices in London, Milan, Madrid, as well as in the US with operations across Europe, the USA, and worldwide through our partners.
Can you introduce us to what you do? How is AI incorporated into your products?
Spitch products are powered by Deep Learning-based conversational AI, including Natural Language Processing (NLP), Natural Language Understanding (NLU), and other technologies. The technological stack that Spitch has developed allows processing human interactions in voice and text fully automatically. It also supports human agents in contact centers by a set of products and solutions seamlessly integrated within the Spitch Omnichannel Conversational Platform, including Speech Analytics, Voice Biometrics, Knowledge Base, and Chat Platform. Spitch can quickly onboard new languages thanks to the most up-to-date end-to-end language model training approach requiring minimal data – 10 times less on average, than the previous generation systems.
In your opinion, which industries could greatly benefit from implementing conversational AI solutions?
Virtually all the industries stand to benefit from conversational AI. The reason is simple – Spitch solutions help improve customer experience and save costs. That includes banking, financial, government, and public services, e-commerce, healthcare, manufacturing, utilities, and other sectors.
Spitch products assist with the following:
- Identification of calls with negative customer sentiments
- Analysis of the reasons
- Correcting scripts to support problem-solving during the call
- Understanding the root causes of the most frequent complaints
- Monitoring compliance in any conversation
How do you think the pandemic affected your field of work?
The Covid-19 pandemic showed how important it is for companies to do the following:
- Be able to compensate for shortages in face-to-face interactions
- Make remote working easy and secure
- Automate end-to-end communications without any loss in quality by processing typical queries quickly and efficiently
- Eliminate waiting time for customers
- Deliver great customer experience
Spitch was able to deploy its products and solutions very quickly. For example, for very large government contact centers in healthcare, as well as for many companies having a hard time coping with an avalanche of calls and text queries. This success was the best proof of both the current value and future potential of conversational AI solutions for enterprises and especially for their customers, making life much easier.
Besides conversational AI solutions, what other technologies do you think can significantly enhance business operations?
While Spitch is focusing on conversational AI, many other technologies and products help improve business operations for our customers in synergy with Spitch solutions. To make sure that our clients fully benefit from such synergies, Spitch has built an impressive global partners ecosystem and marketplace. Our partners not only sell our products but also create their own conversational apps that make the most of all the ecosystem and integrate their solutions for the following:
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
- Fully secure remote customer onboarding
- Using data extracted from conversations in specific areas of business analytics
- Planning marketing campaigns
Talking about cybersecurity, what would you consider the key best practices every company should follow?
Cybersecurity is one of the key areas of focus for Spitch. Its voice biometrics solution ensures identification and continuous authentication for agent-led as well automatic handling of transactional and other personal data exchanges by Virtual Assistants or authentications via mobile phones. It is a two-channel verification, which in the case of human-to-human conversation, ensures the verification of the identity of the parties on both ends. This helps minimize the risks of identity theft and fraud, as well as create a sense of security for customers. Spitch strictly observes all the highest requirements of Tier 1 Swiss banks, uses only local data centers, avoids cross-border transfer of data, and is always ready to go an extra mile in line with specific customer needs on cybersecurity. Spitch also co-operates with partners to provide end-to-end fully secure communication. Some of our partners work in the area of specific access devices, blockchain, multi-factor authentication methods to mention some.
In your opinion, where can we expect to see AI-powered solutions be used more often in the near future?
The simple answer is – everywhere. AI helps to unlock human creative potential by taking care of the monotonous and repetitive routine work, where machines are much faster and more precise than people. AI is unlikely to replace humans precisely thanks to this creative ability and unique qualities of human intelligence. Virtually in any industry, there is room for more creative work and ingenious improvement, and that is clearly our task to enable such a transition by helping companies to automate more and more business processes.
What do you think the future of identity verification methods is going to be like? Do you think the use of biometrics is going to catch on?
First, voice biometrics is the only remote biometric authentication method that requires no complicated and costly equipment like scanners, for example, but just a simple telephone. In the future, biometrics will become the main authentication method because it is so much easier and more flexible to use. It can be text-independent and transparent to the customer, or hybrid – with one-off randomly generated passwords, such as a set of digits to repeat. Besides, using voice biometrics removes the emotional barriers associated with cumbersome security questions. No more passwords to remember is such a relief for many. At the same time, it is the social engineering attacks where people inadvertently reveal personal data and passwords, which present the highest risk today. With a voice biometrics system, such risks are almost absent. To ensure data security, Spitch uses on-premises installation, secure cloud delivery, and additional methods to ensure adherence to legal requirements, following recognized standards, internal policies, and protocols.
Would you like to share what’s next for Spitch?
Spitch is a global one-stop vendor for conversational AI platforms with operations in over 100 countries. We are quickly growing with revenue increasing from two to four times year-on-year.
We are continuously adding products and solutions to address customer needs and our customers rely on our expertise in their innovation journey, toward this new exciting AI-driven era.
We are determined to further expand our operations and build new solutions in many industries based on our high-precision Swiss-quality products. The US and German markets are the largest and are the key areas of focus for us in the coming years.