The University of Sheffield partners with VoiceBase to launch the Centre for Speech & Language Technology

logoThe new Centre for Speech & Language Technology will bring together expertise from researchers in the Department of Computer Science and Silicon Valley based company, VoiceBase, the leading provider of AI-powered speech analytics, to pioneer the future of speech recognition and speech analytics.

Kroto Innovation Centre

Research carried out at this new centre will look at developing the next generation of speech and language technology. The centre will be at the forefront of developing machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies within automated speech recognition and other spoken language processing applications. It will be co-located in the University’s Innovation Centre, which provides a physical space for companies looking to access expertise, facilities and support to further collaborative research opportunities.

Professor Thomas Hain, from the Department of Computer Science, will lead the Centre with colleagues from VoiceBase and commented: “We are bringing together exceptional University expertise in Speech and Language Technologies with VoiceBase’s ‘big voice’ vision for enterprise business intelligence. This not only allows centre researchers to have access to complex real world problems and outstanding resources, but also gives them a unique opportunity to see the impact of their work in practise with the largest enterprises around the world.”

Walter Bachtiger, CEO of VoiceBase, added: “Professor Thomas Hain is notably one of the leading experts in the highly competitive field of speech technology. VoiceBase is honored to have found tremendous synergy around our speech technology vision, in order to jointly advance the science of automated speech recognition.”

Professor Guy Brown, Head of The Department of Computer Science, said: “This is another significant step in the long history of speech technology research at the University of Sheffield, which started with the creation of our Speech and Hearing Research Group back in 1986. In the last decade, the group has gained an international reputation for research in automatic speech recognition and its applications, with significant academic and industrial impact.

“The collaboration with VoiceBase is the consequence of exceptional research and is mutually beneficial - VoiceBase will benefit from our research expertise, but it will also be a tremendous benefit for our undergraduate and postgraduate students to have this leading speech analytics company embedded in the Department. I’m also excited to see another Silicon Valley company establishing a base in Sheffield, further adding to the rapid expansion of digital businesses in the Sheffield City Region.”

Through the work in the Centre, VoiceBase and its customers will have access to world leading research and the latest advances in speech and language technology. Researchers will benefit from access to real world problems and exceptional resources, allowing them to test and verify on a large scale, and a clear route to see the impact of their work.

Additional information

The University of Sheffield
With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.
A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.
Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.
Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The Department of Computer Science
The Department of Computer Science was founded in 1982 and is housed in the Regent Court building on Portobello Street. The Department has an international reputation for the quality of its research and teaching. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 92% of research work was rated world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) in terms of its originality, significance and rigour. The Department has 49 academic staff including 7 emeritus and honorary academics, 49 research staff, 28 support and technical staff plus around 800 undergraduate, postgraduate and research students, and holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of its commitment to inclusivity and equality.

The Department offer 4 UG courses (all as bachelors, integrated masters or with a year in industry) and 5 MSc courses. The Department has 10 research groups which influence the teaching in both the taught and research degrees.

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About VoiceBase
VoiceBase is defining the future of deep learning and communications by providing unparalleled access to spoken information for businesses to make better decisions. With flexible APIs developers and enterprises build scalable solutions with VoiceBase by embedding speech-to-text, conversational analytics, and predictive analytics capabilities into any big voice application. VoiceBase’s customers include Amazon Web Services, Home Depot, Twilio, Nasdaq, HireVue and Veritone. The company is privately held and is based in San Francisco, California.

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