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This startup grabs huge biz in auto sector with AI tech

AVA and VIA, the niche products of the Kolakata-based company Mihup have been adopted by automotive companies including Tata Motors

This startup grabs huge biz in auto sector with AI tech
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New Delhi: TAPPING on the potential and demand for Artificial Intelligence in the customer service segment, Indian startups are identifying the need of voice assistance technology across the industries in the country.

Bizz Buzz spoke to Tapan Barman, CEO of Mihup, an indigenous conversational AI platform, to know the potential of the technology in the auto industry and other emerging segments.

Barman explained that before the pandemic, the demand for artificial intelligence or AI based products such as Voice Bots was affected by apprehension of its usage by the consumer. Thus, the technological advancements built in AI before pandemic, have become a must-choice amongst customers in the current times. Barman's startup Mihup has tapped on to the segment of voice recognition and voice commands and has become a popular choice in the auto industry with Tata Motors being one of its largest customers.

Apart from its widely popular AI product - Automated Virtual Agent (AVA), the startup has also built in a new technology called Virtual Interaction Analyst (VIA) which would assist call centres on quality of the customer calls as well as reduce the waiting time to address a call by the centre executive.

"After the pandemic, there was no option with the industries, across the segments, but to adopt AI in a bigger way. AI led technologies, in the current times have become a must-have products for every user," Barman explained.

Barman, who co-founded the company in 2016 with Sandipan Chattopadhyay, and Biplab Chakraborty, believes that AI potential to cater to multifaceted requirements, which makes it ideal for auto industries and FaaS (Function-as-a-Service). He says that the AI technology is here to stay in India because companies are able to measure the benefits by witnessing increase in sales, customer queries resolutions and retaining clients, and so on. Mihup's AVA product is being utilised in 50,000 cars and will be entering into the Commercial Vehicle segments and two-wheelers in the coming months. The entrepreneur explained that its latest venture, VIA, would help companies get an insight into client servicing and measure multiple matrix of the same. The auto industry, irrespective of the fuel based or EVs, is reliant on virtual agent experience for high end vehicles. Barman says that assistant technology for vehicles is not just limited to controlling the motions but also involves building seamless navigation with low internet connectivity.

"For the first three to four years, our focus was to build the platform. We are a horizontal platform wherein we have built two products - AVA and VIA. Whatever components we are building are propriety patented. Our company and researchers have spent a lot of time and effort in building these products. Through AVA and VIA, we have demonstrated how different applications can be built on it," Barman explained. According to the CEO, the company's value has grown 60 times since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. The startup is looking forward to launching its Series B funding in 2022, as the company scored $4 million in 2016 during its first round of seed funding.

He also explained that the technologies have been built in such a way that in the future, the two products can be used across multiple applications, and the platform will be open to developers to create their own Voice Experience for any kind of needs. The creators had previously participated in a government competition wherein they built in a software for citizens to leave feedback or query to the Prime Minister.

"Government has interest in using AI platform but that will happen sometime in the near future," Barman added. The startup is also targeting to enter Northern American market in the next financial year.

Archana Rao
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