Ubona – voice recognition for the masses

Ubona is a Bangalore based startup that is attempting to create a new medium that will understand consumer’s voice and trigger appropriate action based on that.

Ubona – what and how.

If you are in Bangalore and looking for a place to wine and dine (and don’t remember the restaurant’s phone number), call 080 – 40700000 (foodie’s hotline number) and say the name of the restaurant you want to get connected to. Ubona’s voice recognition technology will identify the name of the restaurant and will connect you to the same.

UbinaBefore writing this review, I tried Ubona’s service (Domina Pizza home delivery) and the service worked pretty fine for me (just that it took couple of options to get to the right domino’s outlet).

You will be grossly mistaken if you thought Ubona is a foodies hotline service. Ubona is building a voice recognition platform that will connect the consumers to service providers (and more).

And foodies hotline service is just the beginning. Opportunities lies in any product/service info service – so for e.g. if you are looking for say a maruti dealer, you should just call up Ubona’s hotline number, say “Maruti” and Ubona will connect you to the appropriate service in your city.

Will they rely on lead generation model (as was quite obvious to me?) or CPA (i.e. cost per action)? JC (ex-SVP, July systems), one of the founders shares his insights:

we will not really look for lead generation revenue model. Because of my background and earlier work I believe that phone or mobile search will be really to discover task oriented services, rather that the information…voice will always win as a preferred option.

Ubona’s killer service would be the ability to understand call context – so for e.g. if you say “saawaria”, Ubona should be able to understand that you might be looking for Saawaria movie tickets, music CD or a ringtone etc.

Couple of feedback:

  • It would be great if Ubona adds the “context” recognition service as well (for e.g. “saawaria” and “ringtone” should constitute two separate beeps, just like “dominos” and “MG Road” are)
  • How about moving to a toll free number?
  • Usability feedback: how about an alphabetical listing of options? For e.g. I searched for “Dominos” in Bannerghatta road and it took me three “for more area details, press 6” options. All I am talking about is capturing the “context” information in the call itself, instead of Ubona guessing the context (and inflating my phone bill).

I am a big fan of platform products and to me, Ubona is a lot more than a foodie hotline service; and is one of the interesting Indian startups to watch out for.

What’s your take?
tags: ubona

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