INTERVIEW: SoundHound AI, a leader in voice AI revolution

INTERVIEW: SoundHound AI, a leader in voice AI revolution
Pedram Faghfouri, Senior Director Of Product, Automotive & Iot at SoundHound AI

While McDonald’s recent experiment with AI drive-thrus may not have lived up to expectations, the future of voice AI in fast food and beyond remains bright. One company at the forefront of this revolution is SoundHound AI, a leader in voice recognition and conversational intelligence. The Media Leader sat down with Pedram Faghfouri, Senior Director Of Product, Automotive & Iot at SoundHound AI. 

Building a niche in voice AI

Founded in 2005, SoundHound AI is a company that specializes in voice artificial intelligence (AI) and speech recognition technology. The company has carved out a unique space in the voice AI landscape, developing throughout the years a technology that allows machines to understand human speech and respond in natural ways, explained Faghfouri. Boasting over 220 patents encompassing speech recognition, natural language processing, and even specific use case integrations, their robust portfolio safeguards their core technology and its applications. Their technology is being used by a wide range of companies, including restaurant, automotive, smart devices and hospitality. 



Addressing drive-thru challenges

SoundHound is currently a market leader in restaurant voice AI solutions, serving over 10,000 restaurant locations in the U.S. Their technology facilitates voice-enabled ordering via multiple channels, including phone, kiosk, mobile app and drive-thrus. Faghfouri explained that one of the biggest hurdles for voice AI in drive-thrus is background noise. SoundHound’s technology is specifically designed to handle such environments, ensuring accurate order capture regardless of noise levels or varying accents. It is also designed to integrate with point-of-sale systems, and enhance customer interactions with upselling and promotions. Last month, the company bought Allset, a prominent online food ordering platform, further strengthening their capabilities in voice commerce. It granted SoundHound access to Allset’s established restaurant network and marketplace expertise, enriching their voice AI offerings in the restaurant sector.


Beyond restaurants: a voice commerce ecosystem

SoundHound’s vision goes beyond supercharging drive-thrus. They aim to seamlessly connect their voice AI solutions across various industries, fostering a unified user experience. Faghfouri emphasized the potential for voice AI in the automotive sector, mentioning partnerships with 20 major car brands, including Stellantis, Kia, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz. “Imagine a future where you use the same intuitive voice commands to order food at a restaurant kiosk and control features in your car, pulling real-time data like weather, sports, stocks or flight status“, said Faghfouri. SoundHound envisions their voice AI as the unifying force behind these experiences


Positioned for a booming market

SoundHound is a leader in a rapidly growing market. According to Fortune Business Insight, the global speech and voice recognition market is expected to reach a staggering USD 84.97 billion by 2032, reflecting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 23.7%. The AI voice and speech recognition market itself is estimated to reach around USD 26.79 billion by 2028, with a CAGR of 17.2%, reports Speechify. Several factors are fueling this growth, including advancements in machine learning algorithms, improved speech recognition accuracy, and the rising popularity of voice assistants across various devices. Additionally, the increasing use of smartphones and the growing demand for AI technology in general are contributing significantly. The AI voice cloning market, a subsector of voice AI, is expected to witness even faster growth, with a projected CAGR of 26.1% from 2023 to 2030, according to Grand View Research. This highlights the potential for more sophisticated AI models that can mimic human speech patterns and behaviors.


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