Science & Technology

Rain nabs $ 11M builds a branded voice experience

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Working from home during a pandemic has changed the technology habits of workers. This suggests data about voice assistants.For example, according to 2020 Report From and Cerence, more and more people are using voice assistants in the car rather than smart speakers.

As usage increases, brands are becoming more and more interested in engaging with their customers through their voice. Even before the pandemic, companies were optimistic about voice technology. 2018 pin drop vote Found that 84% of enterprises expect to use voice technology with their customers in 2019. In 2019, 76% of companies deploying voice and chat assistants reported “quantifiable benefits”. according to More than 58% told Capgemini that profits from activities such as voice e-commerce exceeded initial expectations.

More and more prominent vendors occupy the speech recognition market Be expected Worth $ 22 billion by 2026, but one of the unobtrusive startups in the field Rain techno logy, claim to be more successful than most. Based in New York, Rain has partnered with companies and brands such as Nike, Amazon, Starbucks, Dreamworks and Unilever to build “voice experiences” such as cars and smart speakers.

Building a branded voice experience

Rain, a technology and design agency, helps customers devise, build, and manage voice experiences that integrate with branded services and ecosystems. The experience can take the form of a bespoke voice assistant or third-party app for existing assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. Rain’s Assistant Experience is accessible on smart devices, PCs, products, and custom-designed hardware, giving enterprises “full control” of behavior and unlimited access to data and analytics.

“Rain was originally founded by Brian Edelman and Nick Godfrey. [I] He was appointed CEO when the company shifted its focus to voice and conversational AI in 2016, “CEO Nithya Thadani emailed VentureBeat. “When Rain started voice technology, there were many early signs that voice as an interface would become popular because smart speakers were being adopted faster and incredibly faster than smartphones.”

Rain states that it works with voice in more than 20 Fortune 500 companies, producing more than 70 experiences with 15 million monthly interactions. For Starbucks, for example, Rain has developed an Alexa app that allows Starbucks customers to place a pick-up order by saying a command such as “Alexa, tell Starbucks to start a regular order.” For headspace, Rain has released a guided meditation voice app with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana.

One of Rain’s voice experiences built for the Google Assistant.

In addition to consumer apps, Rain has partnered with businesses to build voice-enabled tools for workers in a variety of industries, including construction. Among other projects, the company claims that the construction company has created a voice assistant to track the details of the construction project and a voice-driven in-store experience for “global luxury retailers.”

“Through working with voice, we recognized the opportunity to build voice solutions for employees for the“ deskless workforce ”who are skilled workers in industries such as agriculture, medicine, construction and manufacturing. Despite being 80% of the world’s workforce, this audience is not significantly serviced by technology. This is a reality that has been emphasized during the pandemic, “says Tadani. “For workers, voice is a natural solution for features such as quick input and retrieval of data, and you can go around the menu bar and keyboard just by speaking a sentence.”

Thadani cites statistics showing that workers are more motivated to use, or at least try, voice technology in the workplace. In the 2019 report, Gartner predict Twenty-five percent of digital workers will use Virtual Employee Assistants daily by 2021. According to a recent Opus survey, 73% of executives rate “operational efficiency” aloud.

“Machine learning has powerful features that support the proper routing and processing of complex conversational AI queries,” says Thadani. “For example, car repair professionals use multiple data sources to communicate their work. Databases differ in structure on both the front-end user interface and the back-end. Surprisingly, these Sources can provide different answers to the same question, such as “What is the oil capacity of the vehicle?” Or “What is the torque of the wheel nut?” Choosing the database to reference and the specifications to use is not an easy and time-consuming task for the technician. We are exploring how to use machine learning to model an engineer’s decision-making process. This can save technicians time and improve the overall quality of repair work by providing the “best” answer to repair questions across multiple data sources. “

Next step

Voice market is preparing for growth — Edison Research in 2019 Estimated Only more than 53 million Americans owned smart speakers — competing agencies, including Skilled Creative, are competing for competitive slices. But Thadani has pointed out Rain’s traction so far, including today’s $ 11 million funding round led by the Multiply Group’s venture division. This brings Rain’s total funding to approximately $ 15 million today.

Rain, who has 25 employees, says he plans to use the funds from the latest funding rounds to “grow and expand”, primarily for employment and product development in the automotive industry. The company recently expanded its business on the West Coast and hired new executives, including the Managing Director of the Utah Office and the VP of Strategic Partnerships. Investors include Valor Capital, McLarty Diversified Holdings, and Burch Creative Capital.

“To fulfill the promise of voice-enabled tools for deskless employees, there are two comprehensive challenges: First, the underlying data is a complex semantic map of a particular domain called a classification or ontology. This allows you to quickly and accurately analyze natural language queries to capture relevant data points and present them to your users. Voice technology allows for ambient noise and user feedback in your work environment. It needs to be built and tuned to ensure that it works in a real environment, such as changes in the domain, “added Thadani. “Our goal is to build a voice user experience that can interpret industry-specific jargon in the same way. This is what professionals really want to interact with.”

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Rain nabs $ 11M builds a branded voice experience Rain nabs $ 11M builds a branded voice experience

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