Uniphore’s $400M Funding Round and the Race to Contact Center AI
On Wednesday, February 16, 2022, Uniphore announced its series E funding of $400M. Uniphore is a provider in Silicon Valley that focuses on conversational AI in the contact center. This blog talks about the funding and the race that’s on for contact center AI.
Why Did Uniphore Get $400M?
There are over 1,000 providers of conversational AI technology today. Of those, Aragon feels there are roughly 300 that have a product that is viable in this space. The hottest market right now for conversational AI is virtual agents in the contact center. This is the focus area for Uniphore, and we feel this is why they received such a large amount of funding at this time.
Who Is Uniphore?
Uniphore, led by CEO and founder Umesh Sachdev, is based in Palo Alto, CA. Uniphore provides a conversational AI platform for call centers that includes virtual agents, transcription of calls, agent identity verification, and post-call analytics. Uniphore is focusing on four key industries within this market: healthcare, telco, banking, and BPO.
What Is the Intelligent Contact Center and Why Does AI Matter?
Aragon identified the shift from legacy contact centers to what we refer to as intelligent contact centers (ICC) back in 2017. Today, Aragon remains one of the few research firms to focus on intelligent contact centers. While there is much more to ICC, the big emphasis to date has been on conversational AI and building various types of virtual agents, also referred to as chatbots. Over the last two years, conversational AI solutions in the ICC have seen rapid growth as the demand for support grew substantially faster than access to human support agents.
Contact Center AI: Google Versus Uniphore
Google helped pioneer conversational AI for the contact center, which in abbreviated terms is known as contact center AI (CCAI). Today, Google has more relationships with contact center vendors than any other conversational AI provider. While Uniphore received this large round of funding, it is still going up against Google and its relationships with the existing intelligent contact center (ICC) vendors.
Competing in a Very Crowded Market
Aragon published the Aragon Research Globe for Conversational AI in which 22 technology providers were assessed in detail from over 1,000 providers that are competing in this market. This market is rapidly evolving with ICC providers acquiring some of the leading Conversational AI companies to enhance their overall customer experience (CX). Some examples of this consolidation from last year were Genesys acquiring Bold360, and later Pointillist and Exceed.ai, and Vonage acquiring Jumper.ai. Aragon expects this consolidation to continue as ICC vendors seek to enrich their CX within their call center platforms.
Uniphore is one of many providers in the conversational AI market that is chasing the contact center. It faces tough competition from Google and many other providers. Often, agent assist is one of the best applications to focus on when starting out. Enterprises need to carefully evaluate their needs in the contact center and then select a technology provider that best meets those needs.