Voysis, the complete voice AI platform company, has announced that it will open a new modelling centre of excellence in Edinburgh as their first UK base.

The UK team will join a growing team of Ph.D.s and engineers to help build a more sophisticated alternative commercial voice solution for brands and retailers who want to maintain ownership of the relationship with their customers rather than the likes of Amazon. Voysis was founded by CEO Peter Cahill, a Ph.D. who has spent 15 years researching speech technology and neural network research.

Cahill was quick to point out: “Amazon’s dominance in commerce and its lack of focus may be its downfall. While some retailers are happy to hand over their data to Amazon, others will be more wary of letting the wolf into the pen. That’s where Voysis comes in. We’re an advocate for retailers and certainly won’t be using their data to recommend competitors products.”

Voysis will be hiring 10 plus experts in the field on a team that will be led in Edinburgh by Ian Hodson who joined Voysis earlier this year. Hodson was head of Google’s text to speech program and was key in their efforts on Google Maps, Google Assistant and Android voice efforts.

The company, which enables any business to quickly stand up intelligent voice systems, is scaling its team, having closed an $8 million financing round led by US venture capitalists Polaris earlier this year. The company has an office in Boston, with headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. Hodson was one of a number of engineers and voice experts that have joined the rapidly expanding company from leading universities and the likes of Google in the last number of months.

The opening of the new office comes amid the growing ubiquity of voice-powered technology as major companies like Amazon through Echo, Apple through its newly-announced Homepod and Google through Google Home attempt to gain supremacy in the market. Voysis differentiates itself with a degree of sophistication and intuitiveness of Voice AI experiences, which Alexa and others simply can’t match. Through a more focused solution that gives context for queries the Voysis platform allows more accurate natural language queries than all other players.

While it’s easy to see how voice-powered search, particularly on mobile will revolutionise e-commerce, this is just the first step into many verticals for Voysis whose priorities include:

  • Revolutionize the eCommerce shopping experience on mobile with natural language search and transact capabilities to drive mobile conversion.

  • Make content across music, video, and social more interactive by enabling voice-based discovery of preferred content.

  • Deliver more effective customer engagement for sales, service, and support by streamlining and automating the most common drivers of inbound customer interactions.

On why the company chose Edinburgh as a base, Peter Cahill CEO and founder of Voysis said, “Edinburgh’s universities have a long history in speech, language processing, and AI technologies. Having an office there works for us on many levels, attracting key talent is just a part of it. We have already started to build out the team there, and we are excited at the opportunity to grow a great team in this prime location over the coming months.”

“Many of the state-of-the-art technologies and approaches that are used by leading companies in the speech industry have ties to Edinburgh’s universities. It is a major hub for talent and we have already kicked off a project with Heriot-Watt and have close ties to the University of Edinburgh,” said Ian Hodson, Distinguished Architect at Voysis. “Europe is a real hotbed of talent and it is more cost effective and perhaps even more productive than Silicon Valley.”

Professor Oliver Lemon of Heriot-Watt University, an expert in speech and AI said, “We’re thrilled to have Voysis join the growing list of innovative companies putting down roots here in Edinburgh. Peter and Ian are highly respected experts in the area of speech interfaces, and Voysis’ mission is one that is generating great interest and excitement amongst voice experts in the university community.”