Zoom Acquires Kites, A Language Translation Software Company

July 09, 2021

By Ofer Tirosh

In the latest AI news, Zoom has acquired Kites this June 29, 2021. Let’s find out more about Zoom and Kites, what we can expect from Zoom’s new acquisition, and the need for multilingual support.

Kites is among Zoom’s first acquisitions. 

Zoom has previously said they’d use their capital from the company’s 1.75 billion+ shares for mergers and acquisitions. 

In May 2020, Zoom acquired the company Keybase, a security startup to increase the security of Zoom. Now, they’ve moved on to Kites, a language translation tech company. 

Let’s find out more.

What is Zoom?

As you may know, Zoom is a video conferencing that made its mark on the general populace during the pandemic era. 

Post-pandemic, many businesses and individuals who have figured out the functionality of Zoom, have continued to use the platform. 

Now it boasts of 300 million daily meeting participants, used by the UK cabinet, educational institutions, businesses, and individuals alike. 

It saw an increase of 2900% in users from December 2019 - March 2021. 

Zoom’s features allow users to video conference virtually via the Internet through cloud computing services. 

It allows users to host 2 concurrent sessions at the same time, as well as hold live language simultaneous interpretation during meetings.

As a multilingual platform, Zoom is paving the way for multilingual webinars. They host third-party tools such as Ligmo, which can translate in 80 languages and 100 language pairs in real time. 

What is Kites?

Meanwhile, Kites, an acronym for Karlsruhe Information Technology Solutions, is an AI language translation software company, with a focus in machine translation. 

They claim to have state-of-the-art technology such as predictive AI with high translation accuracy, all built in-house and running on the cloud.

Kites specializes in real-time machine-learning-based translation, to improve meeting productivity and efficiency in multi language capabilities. 

Kites began by developing classroom translation tools for students who had limited grasp of English or German (Kites is a German company). 

The Kites app made transcripts for multilingual conversations fast, accurate, and quality translations with sequence to sequence translation and predictive AI. 

It might be the reason why Zoom zoomed in on Kites, to productively better their multilingual efforts.

What Can We Expect From the New Acquisition?

Zoom and Kites can better the experience of multilingual video conferences. 

As it stands now, there are options for simultaneous interpretation on Zoom for interpreters to interpret conversations. Zoom also introduced earlier this year the capability of real-time live transcription for all users this year. However, it received mixed reception because of the quality of the background noise, volume and clarity of the speaker’s voice, and the variety of the lexicons in the speaker’s region or culture.

Thus, Kites may be better suited for Zoom, which will integrate Kites with the live transcription feature, possibly. THe acquisition of Kites may also be the catalyst for future Zoom multilingual projects.

According to Zoom’s blog post on the subject, co-founders of Kites Dr. Waibel and Dr. Stüker said:

“Kites emerged with the mission of breaking down language barriers and making seamless cross-language interaction a reality of everyday life, and we have long admired Zoom for its ability to easily connect people across the world…”

“...We know Zoom is the best partner for Kites to help advance our mission and we are excited to see what comes next under Zoom’s incredible innovation engine.”

The Increasing Need for Multilingual Support

There is an increasing need for multilingual support in our global society today, and it is good to know that one of the world’s most popular platforms, Zoom, is going on to provide multilingual support for its users.

The need for multilingual support remotely is increasing as well, as we can see with the increase in demand for remote work, telehealth, and e-commerce. 

Internet users, which increased from 4.39 billion in 2019 to 73.91 billion in 2021, are on different mobile and desktop platforms now more than ever.

Not all of them speak major languages, in fact, 50% of home pages visited on the internet are multilingual, in languages such as Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Persian, French, German and Japanese  and may need. There is a clear increasing demand for multilingual support.

The ability to provide real-time translation and real-time transcription, as well as the ability to provide machine translation solutions is something we pride ourselves on at Tomedes. 

Our real-time translation is available on-demand, and is fast and accurate. We also have interpreters ready for all your multilingual needs, on Zoom and beyond.

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