Successful Cases Sharing of Asian Startups: Hybrid Work Management and Voice AI

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1. Flydesk: Hybrid Work Management for The Future of Work

Combining team management with a coworking space marketplace, Flydesk helps companies adapt to the future of work.

The epidemic has had a significant impact on how we operate. Meetings are held over Zoom, kitchen tables have been transformed into workstations, and home offices have become the "new normal" that we have come to accept, albeit reluctantly.

But many companies are still struggling to adapt to hybrid work and have difficulties managing employees who work remotely, said Jean-Baptiste Pimenta de Miranda, founder of Flydesk.

Having worked in six cities on three continents and with over 15 years of experience in technology and telecommunications, Pimenta de Miranda has experimented with remote work throughout his career and is a firm advocate of hybrid work approaches.

In 2019, Pimenta de Miranda embarked on a new adventure and created Flydesk. Soon after that, the pandemic broke out. Now, nearly everyone works remotely to a certain extent, he said, but that sometimes leads to isolation or even trust issues.

“When you have the opportunity to give people the chance to switch between working in an office and remotely in the same week, that starts to be very powerful,” Pimenta de Miranda said.

Flydesk has devised an app that combines tools for team management and desk usage management, giving companies a way to better manage their employees and costs. The management tools, which include work scheduling and work habit analytics, inform staff about their teammates’ workflows and activities related to their tasks.

The workspace booking feature on Flydesk is comparable to that of a travel booking site, and it is designed to save costs associated with renting and real estate. Employees that operate in a physical workplace can book workstations and meeting spaces when they need to work offline using the app. As a result, businesses can hire a smaller area because they don't need a desk for each team member.

2. VoiceAI: Make Full Use of Voices for Businesses

Voice AI allows businesses to verify customers' identities by their voice.

Our voice conveys much more than just verbal information. For instance, tonality reveals feelings, an accent relays our identity, and the way we talk can show how we think. “Your voice is your DNA,” Li Yatong, the founder and CEO of startup VoiceAI, told KrASIA.

Companies may learn more about their customers and staff by using software to analyze their voices. Voiceprint technology, like fingerprint detection and facial recognition, is a "reliable and stable biometric" for verifying people's identities, according to Li.

Shenzhen-based VoiceAI, founded in 2016, provides AI-powered voice authentication systems and other intelligent voice solutions for businesses, including banks, insurance firms, and management firms. The company has also developed an AI-powered training program for customer service representatives, which teaches them how to use their voice tonality more effectively when speaking with customers who dial-in.

One of the main use cases of VoiceAI's tech is in the partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). In June 2020, ICBC rolled out a credit card fraud detection system powered by VoiceAI's voiceprint technology.

Li said the company spent over two years refining its product for this program. “When customers call in, the bank can automatically confirm their identities through voiceprint technology. Banks can therefore prevent potential losses by blocking scammers from transferring money or changing passwords.”

Adapting technology for diverse clients is a difficult task, according to Li, because the trial and error process might take months, if not years. Surrounding noises and echoes can readily disrupt the human voice, affecting voiceprint recognition. When persons use different communication devices, accuracy may suffer.

In September 2020, VoiceAI raised nearly RMB 100 million (USD 15.7 million) in a Series A funding round led by Forebright Capital. The fresh cash will be used for upgrading the company's algorithms and increasing market presence. Li added that the current challenges for VoiceAI are to control costs, scale up production, and generate higher sales.

The company has also been expanding its reach overseas, providing voiceprint solutions to banks and fund management firms in Indonesia and Mexico, according to Li. One example is TASPEN, a state institution that manages Indonesian civil servants' senior citizen insurance and pension programs.

VoiceAI was among the ten finalists of the Alibaba Cloud x KrASIA Global Startup Accelerator Hong Kong Demo Day that was held on December 14. “China is one of the most populated countries in the world, and there's a massive amount of voice data for the company to explore. We believe we can be one of the few industry leaders in the near future,” Li said.

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