Bharti Airtel, an Indian telecommunications giant, recently showed interest in a start-up called Voicezen that dedicatedly works on conversational AI (artificial intelligence) and has acquired 10% of its stake. However, the deal amount has not been disclosed yet.

What must have been interesting?

Based out of Gurugram, Voicezen is involved in selling GPU-accelerated speech-to-text and voice technologies. Its primary focus is on immediate customer service inquiries and for tracking more in-depth trends with focus and determination toward supporting Indian languages.

On a broader note, Voicezen has tirelessly been involved in developing a range of promising products that are highly suitable for the Indian market. Airtel looks forward to bank upon these elements by partnering and focusing on scaling these innovations that are for ‘Made in India, and for India’ applications.

Expert opinion

As per Adarsh Nair, Chief Product Officer, Airtel, “AI is a big focus area for Airtel, given the deep positive impact the technology can have in transforming [the] customer experience.”

More about Voicezen

Founded by Apurba Nath, he boldly admits the fact that AI models built in the lab often find it tough to find a place in the real world due to unending complexities. He mentions the primary problem to be either with insufficient training data or little business relevance. He also states that the partnership between Airtel and Voicezen will provide a workaround to find solutions to these challenges.

Similar competition

In the telecom market, Airtel faces stiff competition from telco brands that have developed AI conversational platforms— predominantly from Reliance Jio’s parent company, which has an investment history in several AI-based chatbot start-ups such as Haptik and Reverie.

In the month of April, Vodafone Ideal introduced its very own AI-driven digital customer service and support virtual assistant, VIC.

Built on tech expertise by Ori Serve, a start-up, the new AI development currently supports two languages, English and Hindi, to offload some burden on customer service in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.