By Edward Miller, LumenVox Founder & CEO
On the occasion of our 20th anniversary, our founder and CEO, Edward Miller, reflects on the origins of the company, how we’ve stayed on top of technology and where we’re headed.
What inspired you to create LumenVox?
I was running an interactive voice response (IVR) business with millions of customers, and the volume of calls in our call center became impossible to handle. Speech recognition was the only way to automate our simple low-value questions. After receiving some extremely expensive quotes, we decided to do it ourselves.
We curated the best and brightest to usher us through the process. Within just a few years, we had built a sophisticated speech recognition engine, and LumenVox was born. The name comes from the Latin words lumen, to illuminate or bring light to, and vox, which is voice.
How have your employees contributed to your success?
Starting with our very first hire, we’ve built our workforce with people who embody our core values of positivity, curiosity and passion, and that approach is how we’ve managed to thrive for 20 years.
Looking back over the last 20 years, how has the technology changed?
From the beginning, we didn’t want to host a large technical support department or offer professional services. So, we focused on highly automated installation, configuration, monitoring and maintenance of the program.
For example, an error or warning brings up the name of the error instead of some obscure code — along with a convenient link to the documentation that explains how to fix it. We even provided dashboards to assist in the program and diagnose problems in advance.
Many of these powerful tools are still part of LumenVox today. What’s changed over time are the engines. Our speech recognition engine has advanced over the years, with additions of voice activity detection and noise reduction. Artificial intelligence (AI) has always been part of our product; however, in the last few years, deep neural networks and machine learning have advanced the entire LumenVox product stack.
Can you tell us about your strategic vision for the company?
Our strategic vision has been constant since the day we started because we’ve always focused on being a core technology/voice engine company with software that gives you the tools and capabilities to create solutions to enable a marketplace. An example of this is when we provide grammars or snippets of code, so one can bootstrap their speech-enabled applications. We backstop and teach best practices.
How do your relationships with your partners play into this vision?
We’ve always believed in the value of partnerships acting collaboratively rather than competitively to stay in harmony with our many partners, including Avaya, Genesys and Cisco, to empower their success. Preparing and educating our partners from all perspectives, whether it’s sales, sales engineering, technology or solutions architecture, we make it easy for them to utilize and sell our software.
Our approach to partnerships has matured over time with co-marketing, facilitating the value propositions and benefits of using our full stack voice software.
How have your customers changed over the years? How does your company stay agile to meet their changing needs?
A huge change across the whole industry has been the move from on-premises software to the cloud. Gone are the days of selling a solution that sits in a backroom somewhere, plugged into a telephone system and a network. This migration to the cloud has drastically changed the way our product is consumed — and we’ve changed everything we do and deliver in response.
Now more than ever, our customers demand a high level of both quality and complexity. Thanks in part to our partners, who create more complex applications, we’ve been able to keep up with the evolving demands of our customers over the last two decades.
Ultimately, it’s our laser-sharp focus that keeps us nimble. We do one thing, voice, and we do it extremely well.
What does the future hold for LumenVox?
Right now, we’re focused on getting each and every one of our programs into a single API, that is multicloud-enabled. Unlike so many companies out there, we don’t require you to be in a specific cloud. You can be on-prem, in a private cloud, or in many disparate clouds. We’re striving for maximum flexibility, and we’re going to continue our push into different markets and verticals, with new languages and capabilities. Although it’s taken us 20 years to get here, it feels like we’re just getting started.