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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

February 7, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Microsoft reaches agreement with 24/7 on speech-driven customer-service platform

Microsoft announced an agreement today with Campbell, Calif.-based customer-service software company 24/7 to merge some of its employees, clients and technologies involved with interactive self-service assets into 24/7.

The two companies will also form an R&D partnership and have a long term IP licensing agreement, with Microsoft taking an equity stake in 24/7, Inc., according to a Microsoft news release.

The two companies are combining their technologies spanning interactive self-service, Big Data analytics and speech in the hopes of creating a more predictive customer-service platform.

The employees and technologies moving over are part of approximately 400 TellMe employees and other assets, which Microsoft acquired as part of its purchase of TellMe in 2007, according to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet.

TellMe provided the voice-recognition technology for many customer-service phone systems.

According to Foley:

Tellme provided both a “speech cloud service” and an interactive speech self-service platform that provided interactive voice response (IVR). (An example of an IVR system is the system that provides an automated voice response when users check on their flight statuses.)

It’s the IVR assets that Microsoft is shifting to 24/7. It is keeping the cloud speech service part of the Tellme assets, which it is combining with other speech technologies the company has developed in house. The cloud service part of Tellme is what is used in Windows Phone, the Bing mobile app, automotive entertainment systems and Xbox Kinect sensors.

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