What You Should Know:
– Today Sanas.ai – which has been operating under stealth for a couple of years – is launching and announcing seed funding. Their AI platform for audio matches the accent of the person you’re speaking with to yours with no perceptible lag time. Top venture funds investing in the company’s $5.5 million seed round include Human Capital, General Catalyst, Quiet Capital, and DN Capital. Speech industry veterans joining Sanas’ Board of Advisors include Wendell Brown (Co-founder, Liveops, Teleo, eVoice) and Steven G. Chambers (former President of Nuance).
– Sanas was created by a team of Stanford student engineers and top speech machine learning experts. The first application for the technology is in customer care centers, an industry where accent issues can be particularly problematic. The idea for Sanas was inspired by the experience of three international friends from Russia, China, and Venezuela, all of whom have very different accents. They witnessed firsthand the communication struggle due to accents, and saw a mutual friend quit his job because of this challenge. They realized that there had to be a better way to communicate.
– The funds will be used to expand the engineering team and to introduce the software in more global markets.
The tech will be rolled out initially in seven BPOs (business process outsourcers) around the globe. It works with Zoom, Hangouts, and numerous other apps. Applications include telemedicine, customer and tech support, speech recognition technology (Siri, Alexa), and more.
Real-Time Accent Translation Technology to Help the World Understand and Be Understood
A major challenge and frustration in global communications, even when people are speaking in the same language, is understanding an unfamiliar accent. This accent mismatch situation can become a major inefficiency in business and risks serious misunderstandings. To foster seamless communication in all areas of business, education, telemedicine, entertainment and more, Sanas will officially roll out the world’s first real-time speech accent translation technology. Their solution will be used by seven BPOs (Business Process Outsourcers) globally starting in the fall of this year.
With no noticeable lag and edge deployment, the patent-pending Sanas software intercepts audio and converts accents through a speech-to-speech approach, building a virtual bridge between the audio device and the computer, and then sending the new signal to whichever communication app (Zoom, Hangouts, etc.) is in use. Almost instantly, the accent of a customer care representative, for example, will be matched to the accent of an incoming caller.
Research by external sources revealed that by eliminating this accent barrier, companies enjoy increased customer satisfaction, sales, communication efficiency. Further, internal studies from Sanas showed increased foreign language learner fluency, as well as decreased word error rate (15% on industry-leading automatic speech recognition devices or ASRs).
“The world has shrunk, and people are doing business globally, while at the same time they have real difficulty understanding each other. Even getting Google Home or Alexa to understand accents accurately is extremely important,” said Sanas’ CEO, Maxim Serebryakov. “Digital communication is critical for our daily lives. Sanas is striving to make communication easy and free from friction, so people can speak confidently and understand each other, wherever they are and whoever they are trying to communicate with.”