Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Natural Language Processing Will Grow Into New Applications

April 21, 2017

Today’s contact center solutions are smarter than ever. While analytics of data plays a large role in this advancement, natural language processing (NLP) has also pushed customer support technology forward. At its core, NLP technology processes the human voice, understands the text (and even sometimes the tone and other clues like long silences) and makes it accessible to computer applications. NLP is the technology behind speech-enabled interactive voice response (IVR), mobile apps that allow speech interaction and smart virtual “bots” like Siri and Alexa. It’s also a critical element of user interaction in call recording technology.

A recent report by Market Research Future entitled, “Natural Language Processing (NLP) Market Research Report- Global Forecast to 2022” found that the NLP market – overall, and not just in the contact center –  is set to grow in the next five years, and this growth will be fueled by a rising need for speech recognition and text conversation in the education, automotive and healthcare sector. Today’s NLP solutions, unlike the ones of a decade ago, are built to handle larger data sets, which is bringing it to applications it may not have been robust enough for in years past. A previous report on the NLP industry specifically predicted that NLP’s market will grow from $7.63 billion in 2016 to $16.07 billion by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.1 percent.

“The major growth driver of the natural language processing (NLP) market [is the] growing market of machine technologies and advanced devices such as computers, and smartphones, rise in adoption of big data technologies, high usage of speech technology in automotive service center, and growing focus on social media monitoring among others,” according to the authors of the Market Research Future report.

This is good news for U.S. technology solutions providers, who control the NLP market. These companies include Nuance, IBM, Google, Microsoft, 3M, SAS, Verint Systems and Oracle.

“North America is dominating the global natural language processing (NLP) market with the largest market share in the region, and therefore accounting for a substantial amount and is expected to grow immensely by 2022,” according to the report’s authors. “Natural language processing (NLP) market in Europe is expected to grow continually [until] 2022. The Asia-Pacific market [for NLP is also] expected to grow at a huge rate of CAGR during the forecasting period.”

The report noted that high installation cost is one of the factors hindering even greater growth in the NLP market. Going forward, this obstacle may lessen thanks to the availability of cloud-based NLP solutions that will bring the technology to smaller companies. 

Edited by Alicia Young