Founded in 2002 in Spokane, Washington, Next IT is a privately held software firm that was founded on the principle that technology should adapt to people. Rather than forcing users to learn a new interface for the growing number of devices, programs and websites they interact with, we envision a world that’s more like Star Trek, where a person can say, “Computer: have my monthly grocery-shopping order shipped, but add an extra wheel of Brie if it’s on sale. And, while you’re at it, destroy that pesky Klingon starship.”
We enable computers to engage in conversations with users. And it’s our belief that this will help usher in an age where technology becomes less and less obtrusive and more of an extension of a person’s will.
Our proprietary technology recognizes the true intent of a user’s request or statement—no matter how that statement is phrased (we even work hard to accommodate misspellings). That’s the front half: the processing of language to turn it into useful data. And that’s pretty neat in and of itself. But it really gets useful when we integrate the knowledge of experts, so that machines can take a user’s intent and match it with a result: the exact answer to a question, or the service that will fulfill the user’s needs.
It’s that human touch that makes all the difference. People who are experts in an organization’s goods and services have vast experience solving the issues and meeting the needs of customers. So they, and hence the systems they educate, can often recognize what a user is looking for even when the user themselves might not know. And when the systems we design are faced with input that they haven’t been equipped to deal with, it’s the human element that allows them to be trained: increasing their capabilities and growing their knowledge.
Most people’s first reaction is, “Hey, that sounds like a highly advanced search.” And while what we create can certainly do search (albeit a search that doesn’t force users to wade through thousands of possible answers), it has many more capabilities: guiding users through processes, booking travel tickets, and suggesting additional information that may be of interest, to name a few.
Putting our technology to work for customers including the U.S. Army, Merrill Lynch and United Airlines, has been extremely satisfying. We’re proud to be engaged in the creation of technology that empowers people, and we’re eager to see what exciting possibilities the future holds.