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Amazon, Zoom Add To Their AI Portfolios
Amazon executive Dilip Kumar used his keynote appearance at Enterprise Connect 2023 to unveil Amazon Chime SDK call analytics, which lets app builders add call analytics to real-time voice, video and messaging data, all powered by machine learning.
“Speaker search, voice tone analysis, call recording… what used to take months to build now can be handled with a few lines of code,” said Kumar, VP of AWS applications for Amazon Web Services.
He had just finished extolling the virtues of Amazon Connect, Amazon’s own call center, one of many company services the retail giant used initially just for internal purposes but then scaled up for external business and consumer use (Exhibit B: AWS). Connect, he added, “abstracted away a global, managed telephony network and added machine learning at every step to make agents more productive.” Chime SDK is now poised to do something similar with AI/ML-powered applications for call centers and other vertical sectors.
The service provider said it wants to make it easier for developers to add analytics to existing apps without requiring expertise in telephony, cloud infrastructure or AI.
The goal is to “use the power of the cloud and couple it with sophisticated machine learning to serve customers,” Kumar said Wednesday. “We’ve built these services for Amazon, so we know about scale and rigor for our customers’ own applications.”
In related news, Kumar told the Enterprise Connect audience that AWS is also working more closely with Zoom to bring real-time analytics anywhere that Zoom is used.
“Unified experiences doesn't always meet the bar we desire,” Kumar said. The sources of those challenges relate to how companies typically organize themselves around functions, which leads to data getting stored in different silos. “Bringing that data together is challenging,” he added, with some understatement. “We think there’s a better way than rip-and-replace: Mix contact center, your CRM and other data sources.”
He closed by noting AWS boasts more than 170 partners of every facet of the tech stack to bring whatever portions needed to create that call-center holy grail: The unified experience.
Zoom Increases Its IQ
Joseph Chong, head of platform and industry marketing for Zoom, also keynoted on Wednesday, reminding Enterprise Connect attendees about the many new features the conferencing platform has added in recent weeks.
In recent weeks, Zoom IQ added chat and email compose features as well as AI-generated meeting summaries. Zoom IQ for Sales works with conversational intelligence, talk-listen ration, and sentiment analysis to boost sales performance. Agenda creation, whiteboarding and summaries for those joining meetings in progress are also recent additions.
But in his comments at Enterprise Connect, Chong said blowback from the pandemic and an uncertain economy threaten to destabilize today’s workforce. The imperative to adapt can be very overwhelming for people,” he said, noting recent survey findings that 70% of hybrid workers feel disconnected.
“This is our time to change the future of work in ways that really work,” Chong said. A focus on intelligence, teamwork and the customer can help, and AI is critical for the collaboration and productivity of the individual and their teams, he added. “The office is no longer a physical place but a destination for collaboration. When we work has also evolved to what’s flexible.”
Like other AI-based communications platforms, Zoom is working on an intelligent translator, which will translate in real-time from multiple languages. Chong said the company starts beta-testing in April its intelligent director function to overcome what he called the “bowling alley effect” of most video conference rooms, in which people get obscured. Using AI, multiple cameras in the room pick up people in quadrants who may be otherwise hidden. “This is a total game changer for hybrid meetings,” he said.
Chong also noted that collaboration and connection need to happen beyond scheduled meetings – the proverbial water-cooler talk. “With hybrid work, how do we create those spontaneous, serendipitous conversations that happen outside meetings?” he asked, then offered Zoom’s AI-powered huddles feature. “People benefit from the impromptu.”