This speech recognition tech knows when you're angry

AI firm Speechmatics has had one of the best years in its history, says "accidental" CEO Katy Wigdahl.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander

Your experience of speaking to an “automated customer service representative” when your broadband conks out probably belies the recent progress that has been made in speech recognition technology. 

Cambridge-based Speechmatics’s AI is widely used by contact centres and media companies to create transcripts of their calls and content, and is notable for its ability to analyse sentiment: it can differentiate between satisfied and frustrated, and between a question and a statement.

When asked how she thought the business would fare in the wake of the first national UK lockdown, announced in March 2020, Katy Wigdahl, Speechmatics's chief executive, pauses. “We had opened our new office in Cambridge two weeks before,” she recalls. “And we had new operations in Chennai and the Czech Republic so it came as a shock.”

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