Telkom launches Izwe.ai – A new revolutionary AI technology platform to overcome language barriers in South Africa
A new artificial intelligence platform has been unveiled by Telkom, in collaboration with Enlabeler, which could have a far-reaching impact on the education, health and business sectors. The new AI platform translates speech into text from English and local languages. It has a unique ability to interpret South African accents.
The platform, izwe.ai, has been officially launched at the AI Expo Africa 2021, the largest business- focused Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation and 4IR trade event in Africa, running from September 7-9.
Izwe.ai offers transcription and translation across a range of languages, as well as a number of text classification and entity extraction services. Applications include academic and legal transcription; contact centre transcription and analysis; and media production services, such as providing subtitles and captions to existing audio.
Izwe.ai is a collaboration between Telkom and data labelling organisation Enlabeler, who joined forces in the past year to create a new platform around language and speech services. Both companies saw a growing demand in this space, realising many of the international players are not set-up to service the African market.
“This technology can be a game changer in business, as well as education, government and healthcare delivery” she says. “For businesses in a work-from-home environment – retail, customer service and internal communication are increasingly digital,” said Dr Jantjies. “So there is a growing need for AI-driven services, such as those provided by izwe.ai.”
The technology could also help to close the inequality gaps in South Africa’s education system.
“izwe.ai could transform the lives of learners from disadvantaged communities by making education in science, technology, English and maths (STEM) fields easier to grasp – for both students, and teachers” says Sarah Mthintso, CEO of the Telkom Foundation, which supports education across the country.
“STEM subjects are the foundation for the careers of the future, but to truly drive digital transformation in South Africa, we need learners to be able to learn in their home language,” says Mthintso. “That’s where AI-driven speech services are so important.”
Telkom Executive of Data Science Stefan Steffen says izwe.ai is an ideal platform to deliver value within the Telkom group, and to lead the external market through innovative products and services.
“With Enlabeler, we have built a solution that can offer a seamless transcription experience with highly localised and reliable outputs, which help us deliver as a strategic partner for our clients. Working with an agile start-up like Enlabeler has helped us accelerate our long-term plans to unlock this market segment. ”
AI technology is also a core part of the commitment to technological advancement by Telkom subsidiary BCX, which offers complete enterprise ICT support to client businesses so they can focus on customers, productivity, and digital transformation.
Over and above the release of izwe.ai, the company is showcasing many of its data-science innovations at the conference, including image-search and object detection processes; telecommunications network forecasting and data-driven cyber security.
Telkom is a diamond sponsor and corporate social responsibility partner of the event, now entering its fourth year. It is also sponsoring the AI Expo Africa “Innovation Wall”, an academic poster session showcasing the best applied research from South African universities. Last year, 34 posters were published – 42% from women authors.
Telkom SA SOC Ltd is a leading information and communications technology services provider in South Africa. Our mission is to seamlessly connect people to a better life. We carry this through in all our brands, whether at the consumer, business or wholesale level.
Telkom consists of the following business units: BCX, an end-to-end digital solutions provider; connectivity and wholesale division Openserve; Telkom Consumer; Telkom Small & Medium Business and property company Gyro.
Enlabeler Pty Ltd is Africa’s leading data labelling and annotation solutions provider. It’s services range from video and image annotation for computer vision and object detection models (through Enlabeler Annotate), document classification and entity extraction for text based datasets – complemented with translation and transcription services. It works for international and domestic clients and fulfils its services by a completely remote workforce of young Africans that are contracted to the wide range of projects in different domains.
Contact: +27 82 959 5767