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You cannot have missed the furious investment efforts into the different type of intelligent personal assistants that intend to simplify our lives, such as Cortana, Alexa or Siri. There have been many reports on how many jobs are currently unfilled with, among many others, Amazon and Apple in the field of speech tech, machine learning and the like.

The question arises: with 100+ jobs open, where should tech recruiters and sourcers look for talent?

At ipQuants, we love to mine large data sets to discover and quantify innovators. In this post, we will outline how mining patent data can help identifying innovative companies and individuals in the speech technology space.

Obviously, we will not go through the actual patents themselves to get the high-level overview we want, because that would not be very efficient. But by clustering e.g. patents in particular tech categories, we can efficiently identify relevant patents and their respective owners and inventors.

Let’s focus on patents clustered into the speech recognition category, more specifically any patent filed with respect to the following category:

The tech clustering we utilise is based on the so called Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC; we will spare you the details!). The CPC codes, such as G10L15/08, are maintained by the patent offices. At ipQuants we have re-structured these codes for our innovation insights purposes.

This enables us to look at much more detailed technology clusters. Instead of just reviewing “speech technology” clusters, we will focus on Speech recognition with respect to speech classification or search.

Based on such a cluster, we get the following patent publication trend for filings between year 2000 and 2016 at the top patent offices. Note that by law patents are published with a 18-month time lag, so that explains the highlighted part in the below chart.

Year 2000 to 2016 Patent Publication trend for the Tech Sector: Speech recognition; Speech classification or search

From above chart it is clear; there has been significant R&D activity in this technology domain in recent years. Obviously, we would like to know which organisations and individuals are behind these numbers.

Looking at the top patent filers in the last three years, we find the usual suspects among the top companies. Remember, we are just looking at a subset of filings of each of these companies. They could have many more speech tech related patents in other speech tech domains.

Year 2014 to 2017 top 10 patent applicants for CPC G10L15/08

Google, Amazon and Microsoft are all expected probably. But what about Securus Technologies? Never heard of them? You are probably not alone.

According to its website, Securus Technologies is the largest prison inmate communication provider. Still puzzled? Well, turns out that all those phone calls the inmates conduct are monitored for various reasons. One of its patents describes how it conducts automatic keyword searching during inmate phone calls… Thus, the Securus inventors seem to have very relevant know-how in the field of speech tech.

As a talent sourcer and recruiter for one of the top tech firms, would you have considered searching for speech technology talent at a prison security provider, such as Securus Technologies?

Above is just one of many examples on how focusing on quantifying innovators and looking at the statistics for a particular technology field, can lead to unexpected and highly valuable insights.

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