2 ergo Group plc
27 June 2005
Embargoed until 7am 27 June 2005
2ergo Group plc
('2ergo' or the 'Group')
Acquisition of Natural Response
2ergo, the AIM listed provider of convergent communication solutions, is pleased
to announce the acquisition of Natural Response, which will notably enhance its
Voice business. 2ergo has purchased, for a nominal cash value, the technology IP
as well as substantial assets relating to Natural Response from the
administrators of RSVP Dialogue Ltd, its inventors.
To date, the development and R&D for Natural Response was funded by venture
capital and the grant of a Smart Award at a cost of approximately £900,000. The
deal brings no debt liabilities to 2ergo.
Natural Response is a highly advanced speech-based software application designed
to automate telephone calls using natural conversation. It was recently awarded
'Best Speech Recognition Application 2005' in the Contact Center World Annual
Members' Choice Award, ahead of a field of world-class competition. The system
is currently being used by The Parole Board of England and Wales, Fiat UK and a
number of other businesses, despite only being launched during September 2004.
Natural Response is designed to move the well-established IVR (Interactive Voice
Response) market forwards to support the growth in demand for more interactivity
and improved customer service. According to Datamonitor, there are around
500,000 people employed in call centres in the UK alone, representing around
1.7% of the entire working population. High staff-churn and employment costs
have driven many organisations to outsource or off-shore their customer service
activities, which is not always welcomed by their customers.
The 'How May I Help You' (HMIHY) conversational nature of Natural Response
provides a new level of customer experience, whilst retaining the
call-automation cost savings associated with IVR.
Natural Response's technology can be customised to handle most types of call,
but two off-the-shelf services will be made immediately available to customers
of 2ergo. These are Operator - a conversational auto-attendant, and Locator - an
advanced, location aware outlet finder.
As part of the deal, 2ergo will be joined by the three founders and inventors of
Natural Response, including David Burns, who will head up 2ergo's Voice
business, and Dr Vladimir Lovitskii MCBS. Vladimir was a professor of
linguistics and cybernetics for 35 years in the former USSR and is considered to
be a world-leading authority in language and database manipulation.
'We are delighted to have made this acquisition', commented Neale Graham, joint
MD of 2ergo. 'As we continue our strategy to deliver holistic communications
solutions, adding one of the world's most advanced speech applications to the
Multiserve Platform considerably extends the value we are able to deliver to our
partners and customers. We believe that speech based applications are set for
tremendous growth over the next five years and we plan to capitalise on this
growth whilst ensuring that our customers have access to 'best of breed'
solutions in all areas of communications.
'We are also very pleased to welcome three such talented people into the Group
and we look forward to quickly integrating the new team and technology into the
David Burns, MD of Natural Response said, '2ergo has the resource and size to
ensure this world leading technology is given the correct marketing focus. The
synergies between the two companies are significant and Natural Response's
technology will fit naturally into 2ergo's existing Voice service. The scale and
performance of the technology is second-to-none and we believe with 2ergo's
intimate knowledge of the market the application will start to contribute to the
Group's bottom line within 12 months.'
For further information, please contact:
2ergo group 01706 221 777
Neale Graham, Joint MD
Barry Sharples, Joint MD
Tavistock Communications 020 7920 3150
Notes to editors:
About 2ergo Group plc
2ergo facilitates communication and interaction between companies and their
customers or staff using Mobile Internet, SMS, MMS, Web and Voice applications.
Headquartered in Lancashire, the Group listed on AIM on 11 March 2004.
About Natural Response
Natural Response addresses two historical challenges faced by organisations who
wish to deploy speech applications; quality of experience and cost of
development. Because Natural Response is built around an intelligent dialogue
processor, rather than a menu and scripting language, users experience a very
intuitive and conversational exchange, rather than the rigid and frustrating
menus or endless instructions.
The intelligent dialogue processor also means that most behaviour and responses
are innate within the system and do not need long programming or testing. For
example, dialogue to book a ticket or connect a caller to the most qualified
agent is automatically handled where choices and alternatives exist. The system
can use inference to work out what a caller wants, shortening calls and avoiding
This information is provided by RNS
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