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SmartSpoken - Startup Summer

To unite people with data; that’s the passion of Dirk Stevens, co-founder of SmartSpoken. Today, analyzing data demands the knowledge of experts. It takes a lot of effort to make the monthly management reports filled with statistics. What if you could gather data just by asking simple questions? A smart language algorithm that interprets your questions, also know as the SmartSpoken solution, SmartSearch, does that. This innovative language technology lets you talk to your computer the same way you talk to a person and provides you with the right information.

The possibilities are infinite! You can ask questions to make up your management reports, but you can also search in a more natural way on e-commerce sites. What if you can type in the search bar: “I want €100 Nikes “? SmartSpoken recognizes that you are looking for Nike shoes and gives you results around €100. “That’s Google, silly”, you might think. “Google compares the words you enter in a statistic way with the words it recognizes in the description of the product online. Google doesn’t take the meaning of the words you enter in account,” Stevens explains. In other words: Google doesn't interpret the words, SmartSpoken does.

“We are used to look things up by using keywords because otherwise we know that we don’t get the right results. In a way when you would use SmartSpoken, you have to think different”, Stevens says. “The technology should adapt to its users and not the other way around. It should be possible to enter: ‘During the Easter holidays I want to go somewhere warm’ and the technology should know that you mean a vacation in Southern countries during a specific period. That’s SmartSearch!” Bringing people and data closer together, first through data visualization but now also through language.

Making technology understandable for the common man: it’s an hot item. SmartSpoken unlocks data for their customers. They improve the communication with machines and you don’t have to be a data expert to do so. Technology is pushing buttons and turning switches to get results, by using your natural language SmartSpoken creates a way to communicate with these systems that everybody understands. In the eyes of Stevens we beat the Americans in this area because as Europeans we are used to deal with a lot of different languages.

When you grow a startup idea into a sustainable product you come across several challenges. Finding customers, convincing them, building your own credibility, … that’s why Stevens believes in solid partnerships to help you grow. “When an established company supports your startup, it also brings along its customers and that will help you reach your target milestones faster. You don’t need to do it all on your own. You can learn a lot from your partners. They understand their customers and they will help you understand them. Unbearable for your growth."

Stevens would like to give away a tip for starters: “Present your proof of concept to your target group. You need their feedback to develop.” Verifying your idea in the real market is key. Too often we see that starters keep their idea secret for fear of someone else running off with it. The wrong reaction, Stevens claims. “Listen to your customers, they are usually right and they determine your success. To keep insisting that you are right when the market gives you different feedback is just foolish."