Talking about voice, robots and surreal augmented worlds

NLP, Robots and Augmented Reality

Earlier this week we got to don a MagicLeap headset and step into an alternative, augmented dimension, having just been ushered into the meeting by a very polite and helpful robot.

The conversation we were there to have was primarily focused on natural language processing (NLP), and how artificial intelligence is helping to break down the barriers between humans and machines especially for large corporations wishing to create a more meaningful dialogue with their customers.

Growth of Voice Powered natural language Virtual Personal Assistants - IHS Markit
Growth of NLP voice powered assistants – via IHS Markit, click for more.

It is well documented by many industry analysts (e.g. here and here) how fast the voice platform is growing, especially with the likes of Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana and many other big-name platforms that are entering the house and incredibly rapid pace.

Opportunity through imperfection

In fact, I am actually sitting writing this particular blog article using Apple Siri to convert my spoken words into words on the page, and it is nicely demonstrating one of the key points that was discussed during our meeting.

Whilst there has been tremendous developments and improvement in the AI powers natural language processing, there is still much room for improvement and accuracy, and for a business looking to deliver an outstanding experience to their customers, instead of providing a frustrating experience, every percentage difference in terms of the accuracy and performance matters a great deal.

This company has developed what we believe to be a unique platform that allows businesses to continuously monitor the performance of the chatbots against the previously learnt scenarios, or conversational intents, whilst making it easy to add new conversation flows without having to relearn, or retrain everything, all the time.

Make the switch

Beyond that the system can also benchmark the performance of a company’s chatbot against all of the main NLP platforms such as IBM Watson, Microsoft LUIS, Google DialogFlow and Amazon Lex, to help understand whether Platform X will deliver a better or worse experience than Platform Y, giving the management information to make an informed decision about how to better improve customer experience.

We think there is a tremendous opportunity for this particular technology, because voice interaction is not going away, and we will be a technology we become more and more dependent upon. The application of voice as an interface will reach across a many aspects of our lives from controlling features of the home, selecting music and functions in your car, on factory floors, in boardrooms, booking appointments at the doctors, and when ordering food at a restaurant. Yet, as this blog article is being written the frequent misinterpretations are a constant reminder that accuracy still has a long way to go.

Not one, but many

So how do robots, virtual reality and mixed reality fit in an environment and discussion around voice platforms and NLP?

At we firmly believe that the true potential of technology is not in the isolation of anyone particular capability or technology, but indeed, in the combinatorial impact of multiple technologies working alongside and with each other to amplify their capability. This particular company, are embodying that exact principle, with active research and development, and importantly, active customer projects, that demonstrate the impact of conversational voice in virtual and augmented reality scenarios along with physical robots in the workplace.

Want to know more?

If this, or any of the other companies we’ve met sound like they could solve your problem, do get in touch.

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Scott Stonham

Scott is Chief Technology & Innovation Officer at He has been at the forefront of many technologies we take for granted today, including mobile internet and smartphone navigation. Today he helps clients navigate innovative emerging technologies and is available for speaking opportunities.

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