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Post Walmart Investment, Flipkart Acquires A Speech Recognition Company

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A leading India-based e-commerce platform, Flipkart is all set to challenge Amazon in their own backyard of AI/machine learning technologies. Today, Flipkart has announced that they have acquired the AI-driven speech recognition company, Liv.ai. According to an Indian news agency, Flipkart has bought Liv.ai for close to $40 million.

The news comes barely hours after Walmart announced the completion of their investment into Flipkart. The investment makes Walmart the largest shareholder (77 percent) in the Flipkart Group, clearly signaling that the Amazon challenger has now become a formidable force to reckon with in the AI-focused e-commerce market.

With the latest acquisition into AI, Flipkart intends to deliver a seamless voice-assisted shopping experience to over 200 million online shoppers in India. According to the agreement, Liv.ai would transition their 20 member team to Flipkart’s ‘Voice Solution’ department, helping the company accelerate the delivery of 1:1 conversational marketing and chat communication experience to its users.

Binny Bansal, Flipkart’s co-founder and group CEO had recently said, “We are poised and ready to deliver the full value of this partnership for India. By combining Walmart’s omnichannel retail expertise, supply-chain knowledge and financial strength with Flipkart’s talent, technology, and local insights, we are confident that together we can drive the next wave of retail in India.”

Going by the global e-commerce trends, we are expecting Flipkart to develop AI-based chat and personalization shopping platform built around voice. Currently, Liv.ai uses Deep Learning to build products that ease daily chores with voice-driven automation.

Liv.ai’s claim to fame: It’s the only speech API provider for speech recognition powered by Neural Network Models that identifies nine major Indian languages, three (Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi) of which have a collective speaking base of over 2 billion! The Liv.ai API works even in the noisiest of environments and can easily identify and distinguish between accents.

Flipkart is focused at fully-deploying Liv.ai’s current suite of technologies, including:

  • Speech-to-Text Translation
  • Speech Synthesis
  • Language Understanding
  • Voice Keyboard
  • Customer Care Automation
  • Speech Analytics
  • Voice Assistant

Liv.ai’s founding team members, CEO Subodh Kumar, CTO Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, and Head of Engineering Kishore Mundra are all expected to be part of Flipkart’s Voice solutions team. They could be working on Flipkart’s future AI for E-commerce solutions and may deliver the first product within next 8-10 months.

We are speculating that Walmart could play a very potent role in onboarding more resources to drive the AI-revolution in Indian e-commerce space. In the announcement on 18 August, Walmart clearly said that the company is focused to partner with Flipkart and other companies in India to “create sustained economic growth in agriculture, food, and retail sectors.”

With Liv.ai becoming a part of Flipkart, we are keen to see how the companies work with Walmart and their tech partners to turn AI and automation technologies into tools of high-performance in e-commerce across departments and sectors.

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