Texting system has ‘huge business potential’

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  • Communication tool: the Pypestream system is to be tested in Bermuda as a means of improving communication between businesses and the deaf and speech-impaired

    Communication tool: the Pypestream system is to be tested in Bermuda as a means of improving communication between businesses and the deaf and speech-impaired

  • Chatbot potential: Tim Calveley, an early investor in Pypestream

    Chatbot potential: Tim Calveley, an early investor in Pypestream

A new smart messaging system to be pioneered on the island as a way to help the deaf and speech-impaired has wider applications, an early investor in company said yesterday.

Tim Calveley, who recently retired as Deputy CEO of hedge fund administrator Butterfield Fulcrum, backed US start-up Pypestream and was a main mover in bringing the company to the island to run a pilot scheme involving several local companies.

Mr Calveley said: “I introduced some of the local businesses and some of the early contacts.

“I’ve been an investor in Pypestream for a couple of years — they’re getting tremendous traction in the States and signing up some big customers.”

Pypestream has teamed up with the Bermuda Islands Association of the Deaf to run the free pilot scheme, which provide non-verbal customer care through the use of an app and a highly automated chatbot system, which can handle most routine inquiries without human intervention.

Mr Calveley said: “It’s the ability to text customer services in the way people use social media — it has huge potential.

“What’s interesting for Pypestream is it’s a great way to get an introduction to Bermuda through the deaf community.

“That allows a business here a low-risk way of trying it out.

“There will be a trial run through Biad and then hopefully it will be rolled out to other businesses as well.”

Mr Calveley said the Pypestream-designed services could also help those who are not disabled to get faster responses without hanging on a telephone or waiting for e-mail answers.

He added: “It’s a huge thing for customer care and it gives the customer a much better service.

“The main market for Pypestream is the general population. It allows people in the same way the majority of us are texting or using WhatsApp for personal things to connect to customer support.

“And through automation, you can have a lot of things dealt with as an automated response.”

The trial was authorised by the Regulatory Authority, which added the power industry to telecoms after it took over regulation of the sector last October.

Among the 12 firms potentially taking part in the first trial, registration for which ends on Tuesday, March 7, are Belco, Digicel, One Communications, BF&M, Bank of Butterfield and HSBC.

Mr Calveley said: “If you have one or two major industries using Pypestream in Bermuda, for the consumer it’s just one app on their phones.

“And if you get a large utility on it, it will be a competitive advantage — or a disadvantage not to be on it.”

A second phase of the pilot will be run from the start of May, open to all businesses and customers.

The Regulatory Authority said that it expected the market to come up with a viable solution to the problems faced by people with hearing and speech problems.

And it warned that “a failure to do so will be viewed by the authority with great concern and may lead to regulatory intervention in this particular area.”

Mr Calveley said: “Pypestream is a great solution for the deaf and speech-impaired because they can’t use the phone and e-mail correspondence can be very slow. The Regulatory Authority is being very supportive.”

For more information on the first trial phase, e-mail bermuda@pypestream.com.

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Published Mar 3, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 2, 2017 at 8:24 pm)

Texting system has ‘huge business potential’

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