Cloud communications provider Vonage today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the technical team and intellectual property of Tel Aviv-based Over.ai (formerly Sensiya), a voice and conversational AI developer for enterprise applications that was snatched up by musician Will.i.am in July 2016 for an undisclosed amount. Over.ai’s product and research division of 23 engineers will join Vonage’s technology hub in Israel, expanding the latter’s regional team to over 100 people and total R&D team to almost 600.
Vonage says the purchase will enable it to gain “significant” talent and expertise in conversational-related AI. Specifically, it anticipates that Over.ai’s Voice over AI technology — including its proprietary speech to text and natural language understanding algorithms — will bolster product offerings like the Vonage Business Cloud (VBC) unified communications solution and NewVoiceMedia contact center solutions, in addition to Vonage’s API platform.
“As a communications market leader, we believe we are best positioned and set on a mission to lead the revolution from Voice over IP to Voice over AI. With the Over.ai talent and technology on board, we intend to make every conversation smarter,” said Vonage API platform group president Omar Javaid. “Leveraging these capabilities into our solutions will empower Vonage to drive exceptional customer experiences by providing a premiere service for every interaction, reducing wait times to zero and resolving customer issues quickly and effectively using natural language conversation.”
For the uninitiated, Over.ai’s toolset — which occupies an AI call center software market anticipated to be worth $2.8 billion by 2024 — delivers intelligent virtual assistant functionality via APIs, enabling businesses to enhance IVR systems and handle complex interactions with real-time human-like interactions over phone lines. Its operations dashboard lets customers schedule automated calls and respond to feedback options accordingly, while its campaign management tools seamlessly initiate calls from other apps, like customer relationship management systems.
While Over.ai’s suite is undoubtedly holistic, it competes against incumbent solutions like Google’s Contact Center AI, Avaamo, LogMeIn’s Bold360, and others. Still, Vonage is betting that potential clients abound, considering the $1.3 trillion that businesses collectively spend annually servicing 265 billion customer calls.
“At Over.ai, our technology was built on the belief that in order for organizations to meet the digital age with intelligence, humans and machines must learn to work together,” said Over.ai cofounder and CEO Noam Fine. “We are excited to join Vonage at such an exciting time, as they are disrupting the massive cloud communications market. Combining our AI technology with the award-winning OneVonage platform presents a tremendous opportunity to create new, amazing customer experiences.”