Automation Tech Company UiPath Acquires AI Startup Re:infer

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The deal comes as demand increases for software automation, which can take up the slack caused by hiring freezes or spending cuts

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“Once you analyze communications data, you want to automate around it,” said Ted Kummert, UiPath’s executive vice president of products and engineering. That can include creating apps that can respond to customers’ email queries, route them to the right corporate division, troubleshoot issues with accounts, or fine-tune orders, billing and deliveries—all without a customer-service worker stepping in. “Businesses still don’t have visibility into what people are communicating about, and how to understand that and act on it fast,” Mr. Kummert said.

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Beyond call centers and customer-service departments, he said, Re:infer’s natural language processing tools can also be applied to day-to-day communications between internal business units, automating the task of tracking, cataloging and organizing information in real time. Re:infer, founded in 2015, said it has more than $7.5 million in investor funding.

Mr. Kummert said he sees broad applications of the technology in sectors like banking and financial services, healthcare, insurance, retail, manufacturing, and transportation. These are industries, he said, that have “massive amounts of data that is not optimized due to bandwidth constraints.”

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Chief information officers and other corporate technology leaders expanded their use of AI-enabled software automation—also referred to as robotic process automation, or RPA—during Covid-19 workplace lockdowns and the rise of remote work strategies. Software automation is designed to handle routine administrative tasks that often require manual data entry and other time-consuming work.

Today, the tools are poised to get another lift as companies seek out ways to boost operating efficiency amid concerns the US economy could enter a recession, industry analysts say.

“The inflationary market coupled with the recession threat is going to induce significant cost optimization and productivity measures from CIOs,” said Saikat Ray, a vice president and analyst at information-technology research and consulting firm Gartner Inc.

Mr. Ray said software automation is a rapidly growing segment of enterprise information technology—outpacing growth in overall software sales last year alone.

Gartner expects spending in the global RPA market to reach $2.9 billion this year, a 19.5% increase from 2021, despite the likelihood of tighter operating budgets across the board.

Many CIOs say tougher economic conditions can increase the need for capabilities like software automation, which can take up the slack caused by hiring freezes or spending cuts.

UiPath earlier this year launched a corporate automation advisory group, composed of IT leaders from large companies, including Xerox Holdings Corp.

and Intuit Inc.

The group, which didn’t advise on the Re:infer acquisition, was formed to identify gaps in business automation applications, the company said.

New York-based UiPath last year had an estimated 34.1% share of the global software automation market, with more than $800 million in annual revenue, Gartner said in a report Monday. Blue Prism Group PLC, its closest competitor, has a market share of less than 10%, Gartner said.

Write to Angus Loten at [email protected]

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Credit: www.Businesshala.com /

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