Nationwide announces investment in behavioural analytics company

Nationwide has announced that it will invest in Scaled Insights, a company that uses behavioural AI to analyse people’s speech in order to communicate with them in language that is most accessible for them.

The system analyses over 130 different variables in an individual’s speech patterns, giving each a rating of between one and a hundred. The AI system is then able to generate an impression of each persons’ personality traits, much like when you listen to a new person speak and create an impression of what they’re like in your mind. The make-up of people’s linguistic personalities is unique as a fingerprint, so understanding what motivates them means organisations can use this insight to offer a more tailored and personalised service.

Nationwide said that through using traditional demographics, two 70-year-old married men, with grown up children, who were millionaires, would be treated exactly the same. However, one could be Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and the other Ozzy Osbourne, the Prince of Darkness; both very different personalities and likely to want a very different approach from a company. 

The system is already being used by the NHS to treat obesity as an approach that may work for one patient may not work for another. The AI can also learn from these successes to help guide physicians on the best treatment for patients by analysing a specific patient’s language and seeing what approach worked for previous patients with a similar language pattern.

Scaled Insights is currently based in Canada but following Nationwide’s investment the headquarters will move to the Nexus building in Leeds, a facility that supports start-ups owned by Leeds University.

The investment is the latest deal from Britain’s biggest building society’s as part of a £50 million Venturing Fund designed to create partnerships in which the Society and the start-ups share knowledge and expertise. As part of the fund, Nationwide is making strategic investments in and partnering with early stage start-ups exploring innovative products and services that could provide real benefits for the Society’s members in the future.

Tony Prestedge, deputy chief executive at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Digital innovation is changing financial services and other industries at a rapid pace, but consumers still demand tailored service rather than a one size fits all mentality. In future, this technology could help us understand and better serve our members, which will allow us to talk to them in language that is appropriate to them all while maintaining the human service that our members expect from us for more complex discussions.”

Stuart Sherman, CEO at Scaled Insights, said: “We’re very excited to have Nationwide join us as both an Investor and Partner. We believe that the next steps in ‘one to one’ communications will rely on computer systems understanding humans as individuals, and tailoring messaging and offers towards each person’s unique needs. As we apply our AI to new challenges we are proud to have a partner that is as concerned about the ethical use of our technology as we are; focused on improving peoples’ health and finances, while ensuring that the global trend towards larger organisational sizes doesn’t result in these larger organisations overlooking the humans they were created to serve.”

The Venturing Fund supports the Society’s recently announced multi-billion pound tech investment, which is designed to put the Society at the forefront of digital innovation. Technology is redefining how members want to be served and the Society is investing to stay ahead of expectations. The Society is investing a total of £4.1 billion in technology over the next five years.

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