The LT-Innovate 2014 Conference has just been held in Brussels. LT-Innovate is a forum and association of European companies in the sector of language technologies. To get an idea of the meaning and the importance of this market, suffice it to say that in Europe some 450 companies (mainly innovative SMEs) are part of it, and are responsible for 0.12% of European GDP. Daedalus is one of the fifteen European companies (and the only one from Spain) formally members of LT-Innovate Ltd. since its formation as an association, with headquarters in the United Kingdom, in 2012.
In this 2014 edition, the document “LT-Innovate Innovation Manifesto:” Unleashing the Promise of the Language Technology Industry for a Language-Neutral Digital Single Market” has been published. I had the honor of being part of the round table which opened the conference. The main subject of my speech was the qualitative change experienced in recent times by the role of our technologies in the markets in which we operate. For years we have been incorporating our systems to solve in very limited areas the specific problems of our more or less visionary or innovative customers. This situation has already changed completely: language technologies now play a central role in a growing number of businesses.
Language Technologies in the Media Sector
In a recent post, I referred to this same issue with regard to the media sector. If before we would incorporate a solution to automate the annotation of file contents, now we deploy solutions that affect most aspects of the publishing business: we tag semantically pieces of news to improve the search experience on any channel (web, mobile, tablets), to recommend related content or additional one according to the interest profile of a specific reader, to facilitate findability and indexing by search engines (SEO, Search Engine Optimization), to place advertising related to the news context or the reader’s intention, to help monetize content in new forms, etc.
Analysis of the Customer Experience
In my presentation I mentioned also the situation of many companies in the services sector, where differentiation among competitors is increasingly difficult. Consider what is happening in telecommunications, where the telecoms are becoming mere suppliers of connectivity, in a weak position with respect to terminal manufacturers (Apple, Samsung…) and application vendors (Google, Apple…). Something similar happens in banking and insurance, energy, tourism, etc. Services in these sectors can differentiate themselves only in two aspects. First of all, the price (with more or less limits, depending on profitability and the need for investment to ensure future business). The second factor of differentiation is the most important: the customer experience.
The customer experience has become one of the main centers of attention for service companies. These have understood that ensuring the best user experience, beyond the mere provision of the service, is the best way to foster customer loyalty: to prevent their escape to the competition and to induce them to intervene actively as promoters.
All areas of our customers come to action when we explain how it is possible to use our systems, based on language technology, to analyze the “voice of the customer”, i.e.:
- To better know our customer base (actual or potential), detect buying signals, measure customer loyalty and the impact of their recommendations.
- To know the strengths and weaknesses or deficiencies of our products or services.
- To measure the corporate reputation and detect on time any kind of reputational crisis.
This can be done by analyzing multiple channels simultaneously: direct surveys, spontaneous interactions, whether in open channels (social networks) or closed ones (customer care telephones, e-mail or contact/complaint forms). For more information, see our presentation “Voice of the Customer in the Financial Services Industry”.
In the second part of this article, I will point out another essential element in the evolution of the market of language technology: the opening of our tools for integration by end customers or third parties.
Jose C. Gonzalez
[Translation from Spanish by Luca de Filippis]