Today, Microsoft and 24/7 Inc. announced a partnership aimed at the delivery of customer service for businesses, by putting together natural user interfaces (NUIs) and data analytics at cloud scale (Big Data).As part of this agreement, Microsoft is merging its interactive self-service assets (clients, people and technologies) into 24/7 Inc.’s PX solutions.
Moreover, an R&D partnership and long-term IP licensing have been included in the agreement. Also, Microsoft is taking an equity stake in 24/7 Inc.
24/7 Inc. will use Microsoft Tellme speech and natural language technologies for the delivery of natural user experiences in customer service. The company will also work on integrating its products in Windows Phone, Bing and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
The two companies also agreed to a shared technology road map and announced a long-term IP licensing agreement that covers speech-related technologies under Microsoft’s patent portfolio.
NUIs and their broad adoption have changed the way people interact with technology, as well as with companies and with one another.
Microsoft pioneered the use of NUIs, while 24/7 Inc. is a leader in harnessing the power of Big Data for customer service, and the agreement will enable them combining technologies across mobile, Web and voice channels, Big Data analytics, and speech and conversational interfaces.
The duo will work on a combined Predictive Experience (PX) platform, expected to manage over 2.5 billion speech and online self-service interactions annually.
“Microsoft is an industry leader in NUI and established natural, intuitive consumer experiences on mobile and entertainment devices,” said Zig Serafin, general manager, Online Services Division at Microsoft.
“From speech to touch to gestures, consumers expect and demand more natural and intuitive ways to interact with technology. This same demand will change how consumers interact with businesses, and it creates an inflection point for how people will expect businesses to provide customer service. ”
The new agreement is expected to meet customers’ expectations of receiving services in more natural and intuitive manners, as well as of interacting with them over a wider range of channels, such as mobile devices, social medial, web, and more.
“The ability to exceed customer service expectations through Big Data analytics across all service channels offers unique value for businesses,” said PV Kannan, CEO of 24/7 Inc.
“By bringing Microsoft’s interactive self-service technology together with 24/7 Inc.’s predictive consumer experience technology into one unified cloud platform, we will deliver solutions and services that truly enable businesses to differentiate through customer service.”