Invoca Taps Into IBM Watson

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Invoca Taps Into IBM Watson
Invoca Taps Into IBM Watson

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are phrases which have dominated much of the marketing technology conversation in 2016. With its announcement today that it will embed IBM Watson cognitive computing technology into its Voice Marketing Cloud, Santa Barbara-based Invoca put AI at the center of its roadmap.

Indeed, Invoca is one of the first marketing tech solutions to tap into Watson's natural language processing and machine learning capabilities, according to Kyle Christensen, Invoca's SVP of Marketing. Christensen told me: "The reason we're excited about this is, first, we view Watson as best-in-class, and second, transcription is able to happen in real time."

Invoca's mission is to integrate voice-based call data with data from other marketing channels, incorporating phone conversations—the content, not just the fact the conversation occurred—into the customer journey. Watson's starting point in the Invoca eco-system is providing NLP-based call transcription. A transcription service may sound mundane, but Christensen cites Watson's ability to cope with language differences and accents, and also emphasizes speed. "The element of speed is really important to marketers," he said, because it allows them to take the next best action immediately after the phone conversation. No more waiting for reports.

"It's really interesting to think about how much you learn from digital interactions," he said. Tracking page visits, clicks and downloads is "really rudimentary when you think about it. But contrast that with a phone conversation, and the dynamic back-and-forth between two human beings." It's an untapped source of data, Christensen told me, "because to this point it's not been scalable."

That's the data Invoca is setting out to capture through the Watson deployment. It will apply its own technology to interpreting and cleaning the transcripts, identifying insights of value to marketers, as well as, for example, redacting private data credit card numbers.

But Christensen sees the speech-to-text as only the beginning. "Watson is known for its cognitive intelligence," he said. "This sets us up really nicely to tap into its other capabilities."


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