Intelligent Solutions

ITW and a demo of the Potato on Tour

Simon Woodhead

Simon Woodhead

21st May 2024

By Simon Woodhead

We’re all safely back from Washington DC where we enjoyed a great ITW 2024.

It was fantastic to see so many customers and friends in one place and even nicer to see Simwood being recognised and understood in such global circles. Amusingly, numerous fans of this blog came up to say hi and welcome the honesty! It was a refreshing break from some of the tiresome hot air and gossip in UK forums, and gave me a clear perspective on where the future lies.

We did some serious business with meetings of a far higher standard than previous years and even having the honour of being invited up from the main floor to meet national and international operators in their private suites. You’ll see the results of some of those play out over the next year but suffice to say we’re excited at some of the doors that have been opened.

The Potato was a thing of curiosity as we expected. Amongst pretenders talking about what they were planning to do next year and various flavours of ‘me too’, we were there giving demos of what we’d already done. With all the hype around AI and some truly mind-blowing demos in the public domain, things like summarisation and transcription don’t, on the face of it, seem that impressive. However, anything we provide is Carrier Grade and designed for deployment at scale. That’s where the potato impresses people. You can go to a CPaaS provider and pay through the nose for features on a single number. But explaining it is available simultaneously on the 10m+ numbers on the Simwood network, including those hosted for other operators, sounds better. Speaking with a global mobile operator and discussing how with a single BYOC interop they can deliver call recording and all the AI features to their leading Enterprise customers (or retail if they choose) with a feature flag in their OSS/BSS really gets the juices flowing though.

One other theme I noticed builds on this – marketplaces. I hate the term and I generally loathe the execution but marketplaces are coming to international carrier services as many are seeking to own the relationship and pane of glass customers use, whilst adding value to a frankly boring and declining service portfolio. We had conversations about potato features being exposed to global carriers’ customer bases, directly or through marketplaces, and we also had the reverse – using the Simwood APIs and potato to expose global carrier offerings (such as numbering) to Simwood customers in a transparent and compliance-appropriate manner. Picking up the latter one, we don’t want to pretend to be global like others and we’ve already said the Potato can enable you to get proper numbering from a proper operator in overseas markets and enjoy the same Simwood interface; there’s some beautiful opportunities in the middle which we’ll be pondering a lot.

Turning to what we were able to demo, this was a live demo running in our lab, building on the live network. Thus, real calls on the live network and on any suitably configured number, but hanging off technology partly in the lab where not already live. This wasn’t an isolated scripted or pre-recorded demo! A call to my DDI would be delivered to my mobile over Teams (demonstrating the any-to-any element), which was also handy as I was roaming. The resulting call recording was processed for a summary and transcription with turn-by-turn sentiment analysis. For the demo this was processed after the call but we’re actively working on real-time. One of the challenges with doing so is architecting it at this stage to be future proof to other features we plan or wish to facilitate which don’t simply listen to an audio stream but can participate in it (e.g. voice bot) or edit it (e.g. translation or accent suppression).

For those who missed a live demo, Charles and Amy have had a chat. For the purposes of the demo we had customer and agent roles to simulate a call-centre environment and in this case Amy was the agent. Applying names isn’t hard but wasn’t part of this demo.

This is the recording of their call. As you’ll hear, Amy has a fairly thick Irish accent and Charles’ mobile operator originates a narrowband call, both of which test the transcription algorithms but are real-world factors.

The resulting summary was:

The customer was unable to log into the CRM system to access a list from a recent event. The agent reset the customer’s account, which allowed the customer to successfully log in. The customer thanked the agent and mentioned looking forward to opportunities from the event for future events.

You can see in the above transcription segment by segment sentiment analysis. This can be really powerful when graphed over the duration of a call, e.g. does a disgruntled customer leave happy, or does a happy agent show stress signs. We also capture the overall sentiment as well as adapt the summary into detected issues, actions and outcomes. 

There’s also a lot more capability built into this than shown on the demo interface and of this analysis results in a JSON file which accompanies the call recording, pushed immediately to your S3 or compatible storage.

Unimpressed? Remember, this is on every number on the Simwood network and, via BYOC which is coming soon, any number on any other network appropriately configured.

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