Uniphore buys Red Box to Extend Its Conversational AI Platform

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala, Author at eWEEK.

The combination of Uniphore and Red Box provides full-stack conversational AI for contact centers and more.

This week, Uniphore, a startup backed by former executive chairman and CEO of Cisco John Chambers, announced it has acquired U.K.-based voice, screen, and metadata capturing company Red Box. The acquisition enabled Uniphore to add Red Box’s capturing capabilities to its conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform.

These capabilities are most often used in compliance-centric industries, such as financial services and healthcare. And since Red Box can be used both in real-time and post-call audio and metadata streams, companies are now enabled to capture and monitor conversations for things that might violate organizational or industry rules or policies.

For example, in financial services, a broker talking to a customer can’t guarantee the performance of a stock but may choose to say that to land a new customer. Monitoring this requires a compliance officer spot-checking recordings of calls or periodically joining a conversation.

The reality is, no matter how big the team, humans can’t listen to and analyze every call — but machines with AI can. Even still, many companies who have advanced conversational AI tools to sort and flag potential issues on calls such as these often face uphill battles with their contact center vendors to have full and open access to their data.

Hybrid Work Creates New Compliance Challenges

Hybrid work coupled with an explosion in the use of cloud-based collaboration tools has exacerbated the challenges of compliance. Office workers sit behind corporate-grade security infrastructure that captures all conversations coming in and out of offices. This allows compliance teams to inspect the data to ensure regulatory requirements are being met.

Move workers, contact center agents, and executives to their homes and that increases the risk of violations occurring. As an example, a customer service representative could say something that wasn’t true to placate a customer, or a salesperson could become hostile with a prospect.

Traditional on-site tools have no way of monitoring these conversations occurring over the cloud. Like all enterprise applications, spend is shifting to those solutions that support both on-premises and cloud applications, which Uniphore and Red Box claim to do.

In reality, the problem that has become visible with hybrid work was already rapidly developing into one with in-office workers. When all conversations were done over the phone, compliance teams had one channel to monitor. Today, the number of channels has exploded and now includes screen sharing, file transfers, video, and more.

However, Red Box can securely capture the information across every conversation and all channels. When combined with Uniphore’s artificial intelligence and automation capabilities, businesses can keep eyes and ears on every interaction. This visibility allows companies to not just monitor for quality assurance (QA) but to use the data for unique applications, such as optimizing knowledge libraries, developing new products, and delivering unique customer experiences.

Conversational AI and Screen Capture Has Value Beyond Compliance

While compliance is the low hanging fruit, Red Box can be used for more. Conversations contain rich data that often goes untapped. Forward thinking companies know that conversations are a valuable asset, and the insights gained from understanding them can transform every aspect of a business including customer loyalty.

The combination of Red Box and Uniphore offers customers the following benefits:

  • Complete data sovereignty and centralized data access: The control over data is particularly important in industries such as financial services and healthcare, but it is growing in importance in other verticals such as retail, telecom, entertainment, and others.
  • AI-delivered insights: The ability to find key insights in the massive amounts of data in real time using AI and automation is growing.
  • Faster time to value from self-service tools, agent assistance, and analytics: Businesses have experimented with bots and virtual agents in the past, but without AI, the customer experience can be frustrating.

Red Box Adds to Uniphore’s Platform

This latest purchase adds nicely to Uniphore’s approach to conversational AI, where it is creating one platform that can deliver rich capabilities across voice, video, and data. At a pre-briefing, I had a chance to talk to both companies.

Uniphore’s CEO, Umesh Sachdev, explained how the companies fit together.

“We can deliver all our AI and RPA (robotic process automation) pieces from a single architecture, but we had no control over where the customer’s voice and video data reside,” said Sachdev. “We would go to a customer and ask them to give us the data only to find out they had no access to their own data, as the legacy vendor had it locked up in their platform and were almost holding customers hostage. Now with Red Box, we are a full-stack data-to-AI provider for contact centers and beyond.”

It’s important to note that while Uniphore will integrate Red Box into its own X platform, it was designed to be used in any environment.

“We architected our solution to be a non-invasive overlay solution,” said Richard Stevenson, CEO of Red Box. “This allows us to work around that lockout problem mentioned earlier.”

For Uniphore, this will be its fourth acquisition, with the other three having gone well. I expect to see Uniphore continue to add to its capabilities via buying complementary companies to augment its in-house research and development teams to give them an advantage in the conversational AI platform wars.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.