Last week Aspect announced a partnership with Nexidia to provide the speech analytics component of Aspect’s Unified IP workforce optimization (WFO) solution. I didn’t think much of it until I dug a little deeper into what this new partnership can potentially bring to the table for Aspect, and for the contact center industry as a whole.
Speech analytics comes in a couple of flavors. One of the most popular flavors requires the recorded speech to be transcribed into text before the speech analytics engine searches the text for any critical phrases as defined by the user. The other flavor translates a bit faster in that the actual voice recording is searched using phonetic indexing, which looks for key words and phrases using phonemes, the smallest discreet units of human speech. Both flavors have their strengths and weaknesses, but Nexidia has taken speech analytics and bumped it up to the next level. This is bound to capture the attention of the contact center industry.
Although there hasn’t been any flag waving or chest pounding on the part of Nexidia, they have developed technology that allows the analysis of a voice conversation in real time. What this means for the contact center is that all conversations, not just select or random conversations, can be monitored as they are occurring. It will be possible to conduct root cause analysis and trigger alerts as the call is in progress. This is pretty heady stuff.
Consider, for example, the integration of real time speech analytics with agent screen pops. In this case, anytime a word related to a particular topic is spoken it triggers an agent screen pop reminding the agent of the procedure for these types of calls. Or, perhaps the call is from an important customer and a keyword is spoken that automatically triggers a real time alert and bridges the call to an account manager, or it notifies the supervisor that this important customer call is in progress and offers an option to silent monitor the call. Given a little imagination, the possibilities for real time speech analytics in the contact center are endless.
The problem for Nexidia has been that although they have the real-time speech analytics engine, it’s not much of an application by itself. That’s where the Aspect partnership comes in. Aspect has the applications and the experience to take real-time speech analytics, make it an integral part of their workforce optimization suite and potentially shake up the industry. Aspect will be tasked with taking this new technology from Nexidia and creating applications with a practical use in the contact center. It will be a complex undertaking but if history is any indicator, Aspect is up to the challenge.