Connect Makes ICR Acquisition.
Connect announced today that it has acquired ICR Speech Solutions & Services Limited (ICR), a highly specialised speech application development company in interactive voice response (IVR) and next generation speech bot technology.
The acquisition serves as a key development in Connect’s M&A strategy by adding important skills and intellectual property in IVR, critical to delivering the ultimate customer experience.
IVR is a critical technology in contact centres, providing the initial response to a customer caller before they reach an agent. Dramatic advances in technology and the introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning have driven IVR from basic ‘call steering’ towards a more context-aware, personalised customer experience.
Connect had been looking for a partner to complement its skillset and offer a fully automated caller experience where complex queries can be quickly identified and routed to a live agent. Conn3ct identified ICR as the perfect partner.
“Connect’s vision for contact centre IVR is quite simple: we want to move away from rigid, linear applications to something that is more human and satisfying to the customer’s experience. We want to distance ourselves from individual channel bots to a single conversation AI engine, that supports voice and chat channels. After careful consideration of the market players, we determined that ICR is not only a great strategic fit for Connect’s future vision but can ensure that we are at the cutting-edge of IVR technology and, ultimately, the customer experience.”
Alex Tupman, CEO at Conn3ct
ICR adds important IP and capability to Conn3ct’s proposition. These include the ‘Decision Engine’, which adds historical and real-time context to the caller’s intent, captured using Natural Language, to correctly route calls to automated services or live agents and the ‘Data Services Layer’, which applies business-specific logic to drive intelligent user interactions.
Technology in development includes a tool to read in Nuance natural language (NLCS) content and export a Google DialogFlow or Lex app for a combined chat/IVR experience and the ability to blend on-premise IVR with cloud-based Speech AI – seamlessly.
Like Connect, ICR is vendor agnostic. Its middleware allows differing technologies to integrate and work together seamlessly, offering Conn3ct the ability to integrate and provide solutions whether they are based on technology from Genesys, Avaya, Amazon, Google, or any other.
Connect sees the acquisition of ICR as creating value in the business over the longer term. The combination of ICR’s highly capable developers, the processes that they’ve created around developing bespoke IVR applications, and the credibility of proven solutions to existing customers, such as Lloyds Bank, Vodafone and Capita, are unique in the marketplace.
Connect’s customers have already expressed demand for conversation, AI-based IVR that is engaging and accurate, and that delivers automation. Such customers need help to transition their legacy installed bases and remove costs from the service transaction whilst significantly improving the customer experience.
Connect is a vendor-agnostic communications partner that helps multi-site organisations across the world to solve their communications challenges by delivering simple solutions to complex problems. With over 30 years of knowledge and experience, Conn3ct offers a range of unified communications, contact centre and global network service solutions.
Connect is backed by Apiary Capital, a leading UK mid-market private equity firm with extensive experience investing across the business and technology services sectors. Following the successful merger of Connect Managed Services and G3 Comms in 2019, ICR represents a compelling strategic acquisition in line with the ongoing acquisitive strategy supported by Apiary.
ICR is a leading supplier of IVR and Speech Recognition solutions with over 15 years trading experience. They develop business-critical IVR applications for all industries and this experience, coupled with their pragmatic approach, helps to ensure IVR project success.