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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

McD's to Buy Voice AI Assistant

Another indication of the increasing use of voice interfaces and AI. In my recent experiments with voice in business, the need for accuracy in translation has become clear.

McDonald's Doubles Down on Tech With Voice AI Acquisition in Wired
The Golden Arches will acquire Apprente, a "sound-to-meaning" voice assistant, to speed up its drive-thru.

When McDonald's spent over $300 million on big data crunching startup Dynamic Yield earlier this year, the move came as something of a surprise. The follow-up should not. Today the Golden Arches are announcing the acquisition of Apprente, a voice AI system focused on fast food ordering. It's a niche, but it just paid off.

Specific terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed. But the synergies are at least more immediately understandable. Apprente's speech-based artificial intelligence deals within the relatively narrow confines of quick-service restaurants. As with Dynamic Yield's decision engine, which switches up menu items based on what it thinks consumers want at any given time and location, Apprente's ultimate goal is to increase the speed of any given transaction. Anyone who's had to repeat their order into a squawking speaker knows that pain.  .... " 

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