Startup uses searches to cut call centre costs

InQuira has launched a search engine geared towards the needs of enterprises that combines natural language processing with...

InQuira has launched a search engine geared towards the needs of enterprises that combines natural language processing with advanced information retrieval technology.

The company, based in California, USA, was formed earlier this year from a merger between two former search competitors, Answerfriend and Electric Knowledge. It produces InQuira 5, a set of applications designed for customer self-service, corporate Web site search, and call centre information retrieval.

The applications are based on the company's Natural Interaction Engine that relies on natural language processing technology used in customer self-service applications in combination with more traditional information retrieval processes typical of enterprise search systems.

Natural interaction technology can understand the form of a question and how to get the desired results out of Web sites, documents, and databases, according to Michael Murphy, chief executive of InQuira.

The company is looking to capitalise on the convergence of enterprise search and customer self-search. A comprehensive and accurate search solution can translate directly to a corporation's bottom line, cutting costs from the call centre and leading to increased sales, according to Murphy.

"The challenge is how to deliver the user experience that will deflect a call from the call centre or propel someone through the experience of doing business with the enterprise," Murphy said.

"The technology combines information from the question input, contextual information, and information about who is asking," he said.

The underlying technology is based on the Cooper-Yuret Language Model, which relies on a deep knowledge of language, relationships between phrases, ontology, and grammatical patterns, according to company officials.

In addition, InQuira's search engine exploits a semantic index that analyses content and data sources in terms of concepts rather than keywords, which results in richer comparisons down to the sentence-level in each document, Murphy said.

InQuira 5 for Self-Service, Search, and Call Centres is available now, prices starting at $100,000 (£67,910).

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