To create voice assistants on industrial floors, Datch obtains $10 million
Jul 27, 2022
Last Updated: July 26, 2022
A $10 million Series A funding round headed by Blackhorn Ventures has been announced for Datch, a business that builds AI-powered voice assistants for industrial customers. Additionally, new software, tools and capabilities will be developed as a result of the funds raised. The idea for Datch came to Fosdike after he met two ex-Siemens engineers, Aric Thorn and Ben Purcell. When it comes to building speech solutions for businesses, they realised that jargon, acronyms and syntax unique to each consumer must be taken into account. “The way we extract information from systems changes every year, but the way we input information — especially in the industrial world — hasn’t changed since the invention of the keyboard and database,” Fosdike said. “The industrial world had been left in the dark for years, and we knew that developing a technology with voice-visual AI would help light the way for these factories.”
Using artificial intelligence, Datch’s voice assistants parse orders like “Report an issue with the Line 1 Spot Welder” to gather and organise data from users in the plant or out in the field. Fixing it will take around an hour and a half. In order to publish or read data, they use existing systems, such as enterprise resource and asset management platforms, which are linked to the smartphone they are running on. A timeline of occurrences is provided by Datch’s aides, who can record data even if there is no Internet connection. With their help, employees may use voice commands to do activities including filling out corporate forms, creating and updating work orders, assigning assignments, and searching company information. Aside from daily backups and encryption of data in transit and storage, Fosdike didn’t go into much detail regarding how Datch handles voice data. In order to train the speech and language data, “we have to apply a lot of tight, automatic feedback loops,” Fosdike said. “And so everyone’s encounter with Datch is slightly different, depending on the organisation and team.” It’s very uncommon for customers to experiment with a variety of applications for the language data they collect, including predictive maintenance, automated cause code categorization, and even predicting worker weariness before it becomes a serious safety issue. I’m a little sceptical about that last prediction of worker tiredness. Even though it’s not a new theory, some experts feel that AI can’t identify symptoms like weariness with 100% accuracy. Moreover, people show fatigue in a variety of ways, depending on their gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, as well as their employment environment. Fosdike claims that Datch’s technology is helping industrial clients stay ahead of economic instability by “vastly enhancing” their operations’ efficiency, leaving aside the tiredness-detecting situation. There are a lot of reporting systems that aren’t simple for front-line workers, he points out. Voice is an easier and faster alternative in many circumstances. Fosdike explains that by reducing the time it takes to complete a report, his company helps front-line workers become more productive. A global epidemic will not be able to stop industrial businesses from scaling up their operations with more than simply human resources. Using our AI, these organisations can get an effective solution in a fraction of the time and with a lot less overhead.”
Aiqudo, Rain, and Onvego are all developing speech solutions for industrial clients, and Datch competes with them all. Fosdike views Deloitte’s Maxwell, Genba, and Athena as competitors as well. ConEd, Singapore Airlines and ABB Robotics are just a few of the clients that Datch has. However, business is still stable. This new round of financing was completed quicker than anticipated because of the increased market demand.” In the post-COVID digital transformation boom, as well as the $1 trillion infrastructure plan, “the timing is ripe to take advantage of both of these opportunities,” Fosdike said, referring to the $1 trillion package enacted by US Congress in November. As of now, we have a staff of 20, but we hope to increase that to 55-60 by the end of the year, with a final headcount of 40 or so.