Interview with the CEO of Alan, Ramu Sunkara

With voice technology reaching the mainstream in the consumer world, there’s a new fast-rising startup, Alan, that gives developers and enterprises the ability to add conversational voice interfaces to their existing applications. CEO Ramu Sunkara recently sat down with VoiceFirst.TV at this year’s VoiceSummit event to discuss how voice is entering the enterprise and how Alan is making an impact. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How is Alan different from Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant?

Alan is a complete platform that lets anyone add voice to their application — with Siri, Alexa, and Google, you have to add features in your application to their platform that only works within their apps and devices. With Alan, the application users open the existing application and talk to it. Developers and enterprises have the freedom to add voice to their own applications and leverage all the capabilities. We’re focused on bringing voice to everyday work in enterprise applications and are making headway in field maintenance, retail, finance, public safety, agriculture, and education.

How is voice impacting enterprise today?

Good question. Voice is in its infancy stage in the enterprise, where the use cases are completely from what we’ve seen consumer world. Enterprises just want to do their daily work using voice, and within their existing set of products that are packed with information and workflows that they use to get tasks done. Alan provides a conversational voice experience to these apps that let personnel get the info they need, enter data, and complete workflows — all within the application. 

What’s an example of an enterprise using voice with Alan now?

Now we’re partnered with SAP, one of the largest enterprise software vendors, to deploy solutions in several industries. The first of those is for field maintenance in chemical plants. Employees open the field maintenance application, and have a voice conversation to complete their work commands like “Something’s wrong with this piping”, “What should I do here?”, “What are the open tickets?” as if they were talking to an expert. Alan responds back to diagnose the problem and direct them to the necessary workflow, saying things like “You need to file a ticket”, “Make this work order”. With voice, they get all of this done without having to touch their device. Not only does voice allow them to operate hands-free, but it also gives them an expert with access to their complete enterprise knowledge base and improves the safety for daily operations.

How does this all work?

Alan provides a complete platform that makes it easy for any developer to quickly add voice to their application in a matter of days. We’ve pioneered AI technology that, upon integrating your app with Alan, automatically builds a machine learning model for the application given it’s set of unique terms and product names. 

What’s the grand vision of Alan?

Our vision is to unlock the power of applications with voice & AI. The Alan Platform provides the cloud and machine learning for developers, making it easy to build and deploy voice. Alan’s goal is to democratize voice as the interface for all applications.

Learn more about Alan here.

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