Threads transforms speech recognition from gimmick into useful business tool

While speech recognition appears to have gone mainstream with products like Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa, phone call transcription has hitherto been the preserve of corporate call centres. But things are about to change now that London-based Threads has teamed up with OrecX – who has the world’s largest installed base of open source call recording systems – to provide a low-cost practical business solution.

With a growing number of employees working from home, and a raft of new compliance regulations, call transcription can be phenomenally useful to every type of business saving time and money.

Most firms would die without an ability to search emails, why should phone calls be any different?

The answer of course, is return on investment. Transcribing a phone call is far more challenging than just dictating text into a cell phone. But having real time access to all your phone calls and their transcriptions means you can search them and relate them to other messages, such as emails, between the same contacts. Just ask Guy Hands, the Chairman and Founder of private equity fund Terra Firma. His ‘hazy memory’ regarding three telephone conversations eventually resulted in him abandoning his £1.5bn claim against banking giant Citigroup in 2016.

A London-based software startup called Threads, has been quietly developing their 14,000 word patent application while waiting for the enabling technology to catch up. Now that moment has arrived.

Threads MD, John Yardley, who spent his early career researching speech recognition at the National Physical Laboratory, realised that good speech recognition capability is simply not enough to make routine call transcription an economic proposition. He says:

“Generic speech recognition services started to appear in 2017. But noone is going to spend all day sending audio files to Google Speech (or whatever)! What you need is an intelligent way of handling telephone-quality speech; an incredibly simple user interface; and a way to automatically record calls from the network. With Threads, we had the first two ingredients, but not the third – and that is crucial if you don’t want a different product for every phone system on the market. Orecx changed all that. ”

OrecX has created the world’s largest installed base of open source call recording systems. Using OrecX, it is possible for organisations to collect VoIP calls directly from their network without the need to interface directly to their local or hosted private branch exchange (PBX) system. This allows them to choose the PBX supplier without becoming locked in.

Steve Kaiser, CEO of OrecX said, “Threads is a novel approach to effective collaboration across multiple platforms. Their low-cost and flexible cloud service simplifies implementation and demystifies ROI. We are excited to include Threads in OrecX’s partner ecosystem.”

Unlike many other user-based Cloud services, Threads is priced according to storage used. This is big incentive to organisations with more user accounts than employees.