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Microsoft Signs Data Mining Deal with 24/7 Inc.

Microsoft has struck an agreement relating to consumer experience technologies with Campbell, Calif.-based 24/7 Inc.

Formerly known as "24/7 Customer," 24/7 is a privately held company that uses data-mining techniques to build better customer experiences across online, mobile and voice interfaces. According to the agreement announced Tuesday, 24/7 will license some Microsoft technologies. The announcement specifies "speech-related technologies," likely meaning Microsoft's Tellme technologies.

Microsoft bought Tellme Network in March 2007 and has integrated its voice services platform into various Microsoft products over the years, including Bing, Windows Phone and Xbox Kinect. Tellme is a cloud-enabled speech platform combined with a self-service platform that's used with interactive voice response systems, according to Microsoft's background info.

For its part under the deal, 24/7 will get an equity investment from Microsoft, with the amount of the investment being undisclosed. The deal is described as an "R&D partnership" based on the use of Tellme and Microsoft natural user interface (NUI) technologies associated with harvesting big data. By "big data," Microsoft means large-scale analytics. The companies are collaborating on using 24/7's Predictive Experience (PX) platform to tap "more than 2.5 billion speech and online self-service interactions annually" for business intelligence purposes. The aim is to help companies improve self-service customer experiences across voice, Web and mobile applications.

The PX platform, which is cloud enabled, supports type, touch and speech user interactions, according to 24/7's description. It is capable of "learning" about the user's preferences with each interaction. The data can then be integrated with a customer contact center. It's unclear what back end infrastructure is being used with 24/7's PX platform.

Microsoft is bringing some of its self-service technologies to the R&D partnership with 24/7, although the specifics were unclear in Microsoft's announcement. However, the announcement did indicate that 24/7's solutions would integrate with Bing, Windows Phone and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Microsoft recently announced expanded mobile platform support to come with the next update of Dynamics CRM, which is expected to arrive sometime in the second quarter of this year.

This agreement appears to be wholly associated with the NUI aspects of improving customer experiences, as described in this Microsoft blog. There also will be some efforts aimed at generating predictive analytics through data mining, according to this 24/7 blog.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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