Nationwide invests in AI voice analysis startup

Written by Hannah McGrath

Nationwide has announced an investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) voice analysis firm Scaled Insights as part of its £50 million startup venture fund.

Scaled Insights uses behavioural AI to analyse the people’s speech to profile them on using demographic and social markers, before communicating in “the language that is most accessible for them”.

The system analyses over 130 different variables in an individual’s speech patterns, giving each a rating of between one and a hundred. It is then able to generate an impression of each persons’ personality traits and profile in the same way that an impression is formed of an individual when they meet a stranger for the first time.

Scaled Insights claims that an individual’s linguistic personality provides insight into what motivates them, enabling companies and organisations to offer a more tailored and personalised service. Nationwide hopes the technology could one day be implemented into their customer service strategy.

The investment in the Canada-based AI firm for an undisclosed amount comes after the building society announced plans to invest £4.1 billion in new technology over the next five years.

As part of the deal, Scaled Insights’ headquarters will move from Canada to the Nexus building in Leeds, a facility that supports startups owned by Leeds University.

Tony Prestedge, deputy chief executive at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Digital innovation is changing financial services and other industries at a rapid pace, but consumers still demand tailored service rather than a one size fits all mentality.

“In future, this technology could help us understand and better serve our members, which will allow us to talk to them in language that is appropriate to them all while maintaining the human service that our members expect from us for more complex discussions.”