Interactions Acquires Digital Roots

In a world where artificial iIntelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming a valuable tool in customer care, refining the abilities of machine learning and AI across omnichannel interactions is a "need to have." Addressing this need, Interactions, a provider of intelligent virtual assistants for customer care, announced its push into social platforms this week with its acquisition of Digital Roots. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition builds on Interactions' modern omnichannel approach to customer care, enabling companies to engage with consumers via voice, web chat, SMS, and now, social media channels.

"We have this omnichannel platform that allows us to build apps that enable businesses to interact based on customer desire with persistence and continuity using high human-like intelligence that allow us to carry on detailed conversations that go beyond human capabilities," says Mike Iacobucci, Interactions' president and CEO. "Digital Roots is important because what they've done in the social media space is very consistent with us from a technology perspective. This acquisition will provide our customers with the opportunity to easily engage with consumers on social media in a meaningful way."

Interactions' cloud or on-premises Curo solution is known for its highly advanced speech recognition capabilities and includes automatic speech recognition, text-to-speech, natural language processing, and voice biometrics. The company has grown significantly in the past five years, recently raising more than $56 million in capital from investors. As part of this growth strategy, Interactions has made several acquisitions to extend its core offerings, including the acquisition of AT&T Labs' Watson speech technology in 2014 and, now, Digital Roots.

Digital Roots, which was founded in 2009, uses artificial intelligence to monitor social channels and determine relevant actionable posts. It rapidly assesses the massive volume of social media content and suggests well-crafted action-based responses to posts that are pertinent to customer service, marketing, and sales. Using advance AI versus simple keyword recognition, the solution leverages the most popular social media platforms, such as twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, as well as user-generated content channels like TripAdvisor and Reddit. Of particular value are the product forums and review sites that are tightly focused on a brand or service, according to Jay Wolcott, Digital Roots' founder and CEO.

Most importantly, the technology allows companies to stay competitive in a marketplace where every missed interaction potentially equals falling a step behind in quality customer care and the brand growth that is clearly associated with mastering it, Wolcott says.

Looking to the future, Iacobucci and Wolcott expect that their combined companies will offer not just a richer AI-based omnichannel customer care platform, but greater opportunities for customer insights as well.

"We've actually developed a product called Insights to aggregate customer-level data to a macro view to understand whether there is an interaction or event that our clients should drive information to," Wolcott says. "Social media can be a leading indicator of trends, product issues, or sales opportunities. It's also a good way to gather competitive information. Using AI to elevate information within Insights you can do benchmarks at industry levels and market segment levels."

While the Digital Roots product will continue to be offered as a standalone solution, plans are underway to incorporate it into Interactions enterprise offerings.