Xabier Uribe-Etxebarria
2011, Spain
Intelligent communication between people and machines
Computer Science

Intelligent man-machine communication.

Xabier Uribe-Etxebarria, industrial organisation and electronics engineer graduated at the University of Deusto (Bilbao) went one step further with the avatar used until now from users in their online activities. His company, Anboto, a start-up based in Erandio (Basque Country), offers interactive inter-relation solutions between consumers and machines. This virtual assistant analyses users' phrases semantically and ontologically, and understands the enquiries that they express, generating a dialogue which is similar to that between human beings. It includes an orthographic corrector, able to detect automatically the user's language to reply with the same one.

To develop this system, Uribe-Etxebarria, who has also a PhD in Processing Languages, has made use of what is called natural language that allows machines to understand concepts which are beyond the simple correspondence between words and databases. The key is in that the system does not work with words only: it employs a written language composed of 600,000 concepts, which interpret the intention of the user when he communicates with the machine, avoiding errors in semantic interpretation.

Anybody with a pc connected to internet can use Anboto, as it is machines which learn the human language to make it easy for the human user to handle online interactions. This reduces considerably the need to employ human agents in repetitive customer service tasks, with an increase in the user's satisfaction rate.

As pointed out by Diego Lafuente, founder of MoveInBlue and former Director of Technology Transfer and Internationalisation at the Spanish Federation of Technology Centres, as well as member of the Jury of the TR35 Spain competition, “the main benefit of Anboto is that it represents an outstanding improvement with respect to similar services, which results in a benefit for the customer, and a greater loyalty to the company employing it.”

Anboto has already been regarded as best start-up worldwide in 2010, according to “Ranking Innovate! 100”, a global competition that selects the 100 best technology companies in the world. A good starting point which has encouraged them to claim the title of world leader within two years. So far their proposal has already convinced several large corporations : Vueling, BBVA or PriceWaterhouseCoopers are already part of their clients' portfolio.