Beyond Verbal gets inside your customers' heads

New technology can read a person's mood, attitude, and personality by listening to their person's voice.

Think of the situations when knowing customers' moods, attitudes, and personalities could improve your ability to serve them. Beyond Verbal, an Israeli startup, has developed a cloud platform that uses efficiency, cooperation, and composure engines to extract more than 400 variants of moods by listening to a person's voice.

Imagine if cars could listen to a driver's voice and know if he was prone to road rage or too tired to drive safely. Or if Siri could listen to an iPhone user talk and offer to play songs based on the person's mood. These things are possible, says Beyond Verbal vice president of marketing Dan Emodi, who thinks the technology will usher in a multi-billion dollar market of emotionally-enhanced applications installed in voice-enabled devices.

"We think this is such a disruptive thing [because] today machines do a lot of things, they understand [a person] typing inputs into his machine but they also understand what we click, what we touch, and where we are... but none of these help machines know how we feel and what we mean," Emodi says. "Our goal is to introduce that emotional understanding to machines because we believe that this is the most important non-existing interface out there. And understanding the dimension of emotions has a lot of applications."

Since the Tel Aviv-based company opened up its API earlier this year, Emodi says manufacturers and developers are using the Beyond Verbal computing engines for all sorts of applications that he expects to see coming to light in the first half of 2014. He says several automotive manufacturers are experimenting with the technology as are developers who are working on everything from apps that coach people who are socially awkward or want to become better public speakers to those that can help you know which people in your life are most emotionally draining.

Other vertical markets for Beyond Verbal include call centers where the technology can be used to gauge how likely a customer is to cooperate; in marketing research to understand the sentiment of consumers toward brands, campaigns, candidates, products and promotions; and in HR, where it could help people understand if they're a good fit for a position.

Emodi says the Beyond Verbal technology is the result of 18 years of research by physicists and neuropsychologists who studied more than 70,000 voices in 30 languages.

Developers can demo Beyond Verbal's moodies app for free or pay $6,000 for full access to the API.

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