Using AI-based speech in business – Callan Schebella, Inference Solutions | Productive AI Podcast with Troy Angrignon

Using AI-based speech in business – Callan Schebella, Inference Solutions | Productive AI Podcast with Troy Angrignon

It is now possible to use AI based speech in many business situations. We’re entering a new era where computers are so good at communicating with us via both spoken word and text conversations that they can perform tasks traditionally handled by call centers. In this conversation with the CEO of Inference Solutions, you’ll learn about the long arc of Natural Language Processing, Conversational AI, and the rise of the Intelligent Virtual Agent Market. We also discuss AI product management and positioning and pricing that will be helpful for anybody building a complex AI-based product or service. Finally we close out with some advice to buyers who are trying to make sense of a noisy marketplace.

NOTE: Since the recording of this podcast, Inference was acquired by Five9 (

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00:00 Introduction
01:03 Callan’s career background
02:44 How Inference is leading their segment (and being recognized for it)
03:45 Intelligent Virtual agents vs. business process outsourcing (BPO)
05:16 The importance of channel partners to access the market
06:22 How does the platform work?
07:50 Where did the Conversational AI industry come from?
12:11 What is the current state of the technology?
14:38 Interesting uses for your technology
18:10 The development of technology and maturity curves in NLP, text to speech, speech recognition, etc.
19:06 NLP engines got commoditized
20:34 AI Product Management 101 –  don’t get lost in the AI tech, focus on the overall business problem and solve for that
22:39 Summary of the business model and offerings
23:14 The Intelligent Virtual Agent market category has become a real market segment
24:51 How many channels can your system communicate on? (Voice, text, web-chat, message services, WhatsApp, etc.)
27:36 How are you different from other players in this market segment?
31:18 Pricing innovation is still innovation – pricing simplicity helps drive business
35:34 Where can you best apply this kind of technology – to achieve what objectives and to do what jobs?
36:58 What will the next few years bring?
39:30 This market is noisy – there are 2000+ “chatbot companies” – but if you need something multi-channel (voice + text), it drops to 20
42:46 Callan’s advice to buyers in the market
44:53 Connecting with Callan and the team at Inference
46:07 Wrap-up!