Sharpen, a vendor of a cloud-based contact center platform, offers an automated transcription service as part of its software package. It’s free, which its customers like, but a few years ago, Sharpen was getting complaints from customers that its transcriptions weren’t accurate.

“The transcription wasn’t great,” said Adam Settle, Sharpen’s vice president of product, who declined to name the automated transcription software vendor that the company used.

The customer wanted to use the service for keyword spotting, he said. But, he added, “searching for a keyword is kind of pointless” if the transcription is wrong.

The complaint sparked Sharpen to search for a new automated transcription vendor. That search eventually led them to Deepgram, an automated speech recognition startup founded in 2015.

A new vendor

Sharpen first became acquainted with Deepgram a few years ago, after seeing it demonstrate its automated speech recognition platform at a conference.

The platform, built on deep learning models, can come pre-trained on Deepgram’s library of calls. Users can upload pre-labeled speech files or label speech as they go, to further train and customize the platform.

Users can run the platform in the cloud or on premises and can access the speech recognition models through APIs.

Sharpen tested the products of numerous startups and big-name tech vendors before choosing Deepgram. Each had its problems, however. Some platforms, like the one from their first vendor, didn’t provide accurate transcriptions. Others, including systems from Google and Amazon, were too expensive, Settle said.

Some platforms “were eight times the cost without being eight times the quality,” he said.

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