Idan Schmorak joins Alan Kohler to discuss the future of Digital Humans and the disruptive potential of UNITH’s platform
UNITH CEO, Idan Schmorak was featured on Eureka Report in an interview with Alan Kohler, one of Australia’s most experienced business commentators and regular finance presenter on the ABC News.
The interview covers the growth of UNITH as a rising player in the generative AI space and how any business – small or large – will be able to utilise digital humans to perform various business tasks such as sales, marketing or just frequently asked questions on their website.
“I envision a self service platform which we are building and we are going to release by the end of this calendar year on a freemium model. It’s not going to be freemium right at the beginning but this is what we are aiming to and my vision is every small business, every business, could go and log in, choose their face or upload their own, choose a voice or clone their own voice which is an ability that we have and we can do it within around 30 minutes to 2 hours,” said Schmorak.
“They [then] have a digital human that helps their business that is their digital colleague or digital customer facing colleague that could help them in various tasks whether it’s onboarding, sales, marketing or just frequently asked questions on the website.
“The advantage that we have in terms of technology is that this is able to work on a very low price point on any website on any device, you won’t need a fancy computer with strong graphics in order to run this, it would work also on your $100 mobile phone if you have one.”
Listen to the full interview here.
Below is a snippet of the interview:
Alan Kohler here and I’m talking to Idan Schmorak, who is the CEO of a company called UNITH, ASX code UNT. It used to be a business called Crowd Media, which is an Australian online digital media business, but now it’s entirely overseas. The headquarters are in Amsterdam, the technology base is in Barcelona, and I spoke to Idan Schmorak in Tel Aviv where he lives.
The business they’re building is an Artificial Intelligence avatar business and the idea is that companies could have a face that appears on their customers’ screens, and would talk to the customer, answer questions and perform functions such as signing up customers and asking all required questions needed to sign them up.
Basically, this thing would replace call centres. In its early days, the Company is close to breaking even but only because they have a profitable side business which is creating apps and they seem to have a bunch of subscribers who are subscribing to these apps which are doing different things that people subscribe to for not very much money. Anyway, they’re making some cash from that which they’re ploughing into the development of the avatar business and their market cap is $21m. A very tiny micro-cap business, this is obviously foreign company, European, but it’s ASX-listed because it started out as a company, as I said, called Crowd Media.
AK: Your start-up business, the business that you’re building I guess for the future, is avatars, artificial intelligence avatars, right?
IS: Yes, correct. We call them digital humans.
AK: They’re on a screen, right, at this point, you’re not building silicon human beings, they’re just on a screen, right?
IS: Yes, correct, they’re on a screen but it could be on any screen, whether it’s a kiosk, a computer or a mobile phone.
AK: Right, and I think I read that you’ve got Chat GPT coming into it in some way, how does that work?
IS: That’s actually very interesting. Until today we had a Q&A system which is some pre-set smart chat with lots of information that we would load to our digital humans. Now with the advancement and the technology in Chat GPT in particular, we are able to upload a large set or any set of information and the digital human would just be able to answer human-like answers, and sentences, based on that specific information.
IS: It’s not that our digital humans would answer anything they search on GPT, this is not what we aim for our product to be from information security, not how our clients want to deliver perspectives. We wanted our clients to upload their own information. I think one of the critical points of the entire ChatGPT revolution is that it scrapes the internet at a certain point in time and it gives you very specific information. However, it could make mistakes, so we want to narrow the mistake range to almost zero.
IS: With that, we take knowledge-based data, whether it’s in marketing, sales, HR onboarding, even finance, and we just upload it to the digital human in a few minutes.
AK: Okay, so tell us about the business model, how do you envisage making money from your avatars?
IS: Today we went directly to companies. One of them is one of the Big Five tech companies that use our service on a small scale in Europe for internal onboarding usage. In the future, I envision a self-service platform which we are building, which is going to be released by the end of this calendar year on a freemium model. It’s not going to be freemium right at the beginning but this is what we are aiming to, and my vision is every business big or small could go and log in and choose their face or upload their own, choose a voice or clone their own voice. This is an ability that we can do within around 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the voice and the quality of the recording. They can upload their database and have a digital human as a digital colleague that could help with various tasks whether it’s onboarding, sales, marketing or just frequently asked questions on the website.
IS: We are advantaged in terms of technology as this can work on a very low price point on any website on any device, You won’t need a fancy computer with strong graphics in order to run it. This would work also on your $100 mobile phone if you have one.
AK: What sort of price point?
IS: We couldn’t disclose this yet but we wanted to get as low as tens of dollars per month per user, we don’t want to cross that. The most basic premium package will cost tens of Australian dollars per month.
AK: Are you saying that a business would be able to use the – a person who owns a business will be able to use their own face and their own voice as the avatar?
IS: That’s correct. This is something that we have worked a lot on improving and creating a core technology that allows one single picture of your face and a few minutes of recording with a designated app of your voice to create your digital clone. Though it is a digital clone, in the near future this will give a unique experience and functionalities that we believe would give a lot of advantage to businesses.
AK: Would you imagine your avatars would perform functions for customers? Could the avatar actually change your flight or is it just questions?
IS: Specifically about changing flights this is something that we just had a look on, so the companies are more cautious because you basically need the chatbot or avatar, digital human in our case, to actually call the server and have an active change. Some companies still prefer to do it with a human but yes, technically this is something that it is already possible. I think that in the future once these systems and natural language processing and understanding would be more developed these actions would be made solely by competitors, by digital humans, and hopefully ours.
AK: Do you think that avatars in fact would tend to replace call centres?
IS: Definitely. I can give you an example, we had just a discussion with an insurance company. Once someone signs up to an insurance company and becomes a new customer, the insurance company needs to collect some information from the person. This makes the perfect use case for what we are doing. Getting an e-mail or an SMS, opening, seeing a representative immediately gives them the impression that they are actually talking to a human, but it’s not exactly a human. It is very futuristic, and it will ask all the required questions, such as where do you live, how many children do you have, and asks very specific medical questions that will be recorded and connected to the insurance system. It could replace a full call centre. Of course there will always be populations that would need more patience or accessibilities and so there will always be someone to speak with, but we can help companies to replace a lot of these customer service agents with a digital human.
AK: Have you signed any deals yet?
IS: Yes, we have signed the most important one, which is our flagship experience, and the client is one of the Big Five tech companies. We can’t mention any name due to confidentiality reasons, but in short we help them to onboard employees in one of their flagship divisions in Europe. We use this as a major validation of our system and we collect a lot of information on how the system is used.
IS: As more people use this machine learning, the algorithms learn how to improve and how to give more proficient answers. We also collect a lot of information and data on what the system is used for and we optimise the use cases of our self-service platform based on the experience. We also worked with a company in South Africa in the past, helping them access patient information without having to rely on nurses, specifically on knee surgeries.
This is just a small snippet of the wide-ranging interview with Alan Kohler. To view the interview in full, please visit Eureka Report here.