California-based RingCentral has announced the acquisition of conversational artificial Intelligence (AI) startup DeepAffects, in a deal that is expected to allow it to offer smarter video meeting capabilities to its customers.
RingCentral creates cloud-based communication and collaboration tools for the enterprise, with a portfolio that includes contact center software, business phone and messaging systems, video conferencing solutions, and more.
The deal — the terms of which were not disclosed — seems to conclude what has been a strong year for the company, which saw its subscription revenue grow by a third and its share price more than double to an all-time high of $387. This growth can be at least partially attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rise in remote work and online transactions that has resulted from it.
Market research and analytics firm Gartner had previously predicted that by the year 2021, 15 percent of all customer service interactions would go through some form of AI solution, which would mark a 400 percent increase from 2017.
As VentureBeat reports, RingCentral will be hoping to tap into this growing market through the purchase of DeepAffects, which, since it was founded in 2017, has been working at creating “the new standard for voice intelligence”, and uses voiceprints to identify individuals from a few seconds of audio.
DeepAffects is also capable of multi-speaker recognition, speech-to-text output, emotion recognition, intent detection, as well as the tracking and measuring of conversational metrics, including something called “talk-to-listen” ratios, which can reveal who talked or listened most during a meeting, or track who asked the most questions.