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Bay Area - Silicon Valley Chapter

The goal of local AVIOS chapters is to provide opportunity for people with interest in speech technology to meet, network, and stay abreast of new developments in the area, by holding quarterly or semi-annual meetings.


Our local chapter plan is to get together at different sites, to meet, mingle, and network with other speech technology professionals in our area. Admission to chapter meetings is free.




19 January 2023 | at Oracle Corporate Headquarters

200 Oracle Parkway (building 200)

5:00 - 8:00 PM

There is no admission fee, but you must RSVP to confirm that you will be attending. There is restricted building access so this is required.


Please email Anna Wichansky ( to confirm by

Friday, January 13, 2023


There will be 3 speakers, along with light snacks, and time for networking



Rana Gujral, CEO, BehavioralSignals

Talk title: AI and the Human Experience: Balancing Scale and Empathy

While AI is starting to become ubiquitous, how close is it to making essential decisions that  typically require human judgment? Humans don’t make decisions based only on logic. Humans use and behavioral signals (from face, body, and voice) to gather insights and make decisions. So how do we build algorithms that are closer to the human experience? Although most humans are pretty good at understanding when someone is angry at them, despite what they say about how they feel. It’s that incredible human ability to capture the subtle nuances in voice, words, facial expressions, or body language, that allow us to understand what the person we are engaging with is feeling at that moment. Emotions and behavioral signals are an essential part of our decision-making process as humans. Rana Gujral will be talking about how we can teach machines and AI to do the same!

About Rana:

Rana Gujral is an entrepreneur, speaker, investor, and CEO at BehavioralSignals,

an enterprise software company that excels at distinguishing behavioral signals in speech data with its proprietary deep-learning technology.


Samrat Baul, Director, Oracle Conversational Design

Talk title: The Year ‘Conversational’ married ‘Graphical’

Graphical richness of Conversational UX is here and almost expected. Text based information exchange between a user and the Conversational Assistant are a thing of the past. Graphical information exchange can take many shapes and opens up the opportunity of multimodality. In this presentation, we will see some examples of holistic conversational experiences enriched by the use of graphical presentation of information both from the user and the Conversational assistant.

About Samrat: Samrat is our host at Oracle, and has been co-organizing Bay Area Chapter meetings since 2019.

David Colleen, CEO, SapientX

Talk title: Bringing Life Sized Conversational Characters to Life

5 years ago, Alex Hessler left Pixar and joined the SapientX team to begin building the first life sized conversational characters. In the summer of 2022, these characters began to appear in public settings as conference show guides, to give directions at airports and to help inform and sell in retail settings... and they are doing this in 40 languages! SapientX Co-founder, David Colleen, will talk about the trials, tribulations and ultimately break-thrus that his team has made.

About David:

David Colleen, SapientX's CEO & Co-founder, is a serial AI and VR entrepreneur.


2020 Events


16 January 2020 | at Oracle Corporate Headquarters, Redwood Shores

Data and the stories it tells: How to improve complex conversational experiences


Ben Reaves, our first speaker will talk about the complex world of mental health and how machine learning was to help diagnosis. His talk will be titled, 'Detection of Clinical Depression by Machine Learning - Lessons Learned'.
Joseph Tyler, our second speaker of the day leads the conversational design team at and will present on the topic of personalization of experiences in the health care industry.
Richard Miller, our third speaker of the day will present on what techniques of analysis are used by a team that delivers enterprise grade conversational experiences at Oracle. His talk is titled, Analytics and the kitchen sink - Comparing and contrasting various analysis techniques for care and feeding of conversational assistants

2018 Events

5 April 2018 | at IBM Research - Almaden


Cathy Pearl, author of the O’Reilly book Designing Voice User Interfaces

Talk Title: If I'm talking to my computer, does that mean it's not a "natural" conversation?" 

Bob Moore, Research Scientist, IBM Research-Almaden​

Talk Title: Understanding Natural Conversation

Chen Levkovich, Founder & CEO @

Talk Title: Building Conversational Solutions that Don’t Drive Us(ers) Crazy…"

18 January 2018 | at Orange, San Francisco


Dennis Yang, Chief product Officer, Dashbot

Dennis Yang is co-founder and CPO of Dashbot, an analytics platform for bots. Prior to Dashbot, he co-founded Bureau of Trade, a vintage marketplace (acquired by eBay), co-founded Techdirt, the popular technology blog, and was the ninth employee of both Infochimps (acquired by CSC) and mySimon (acquired by CNET). He earned his engineering degree from Cornell University and lives in San Francisco with his wife Tricia, son Jax, and dog Bear, who introduced them. You can follow him on Twitter at @sinned. 


Karthik Raghunathan is a Senior Technical Leader in the Cognitive Collaboration Group at Cisco. Karthik used to be the Director of Research at MindMeld, a leading AI company that powered conversational interfaces for some of the world’s largest retailers, media companies, government agencies and automotive manufacturers. MindMeld was acquired by Cisco in May 2017. Karthik has more than 10 years of combined experience working at reputed academic and industrial research labs on the problems of speech, natural language processing, and information retrieval. Prior to joining MindMeld, he was a Senior Scientist in the Microsoft AI & Research Group, where he worked on conversational user interfaces for the Cortana digital assistant and the Xbox One.


Seamus McAteer, General Manager, Revenue & Partnerships, heads up commercial activity at AISense which is building technology to transform recorded voice conversations into usable data. Seamus was co-founder and CEO at which was acquired by Neustar, where Seamus was VP New Ventures. Metaresolver a mobile ad platform that Seamus founded and led as CEO was acquired by Millennial Media, where Seamus was SVP of Analytics and Insight. MMetrics, a company Seamus co-founded and led was acquired by Comscore.  As an independent board member he helped with the sale of Motally to Nokia, Zokem to Arbitron, and he was a member of the executive team at Majestic Research when it was acquired by ITG.


David Wiener runs Product at Voicera. Previously, he was Vice President at Oracle, overseeing global product for the Oracle Data Cloud. At Oracle he was responsible for pulling together the acquisitions of BlueKai, Datalogix, AddThis, and Crosswise. Prior to Oracle, David oversaw Product at BlueKai. David makes sure business is in check, that products ship, and the engineering keeps their house in order

2017 Events


30 May 2017 | at Oracle, Redwood Shores


Richard Miller, UX Architect, Oracle

Taking a Vertical Approach to YAVA (Yet another Virtual Assistant): Introducing Oracle Virtual Assistant

Oren Ariel, ​CTO & Co-Founder, Capriza​

​Workbots - The Next Productivity Step Function?

Tao Liang, Director of Machine Learning, Digital Cockpit, NIO 

Voice in Cars: Challenges, Opportunities, & Convergence

About Richard Miller:

Richard has over 20 years of software design, development, usability, and systems engineering experience. He has lectured on usability, design practices, and Internet security; developed and led software training courses; and taught workshops on user interface design, multimedia, and usability. He currently leads the user experience team for Oracle’s Engagement Cloud, focused on service, support, chat, telephony integration, and real-time channel management for businesses with service, support and call-center needs. He has a Masters and PhD in Engineering from Virginia Tech, a MBA from the Pamplin School of Business, and is spending his cycles on creating a virtual assistant ecosystem which can be managed by businesses without the support of linguists or consultants

About Oren Ariel:

Before founding Capriza, Oren served as VP of Innovation & Design at HP Software, as General Manager of HP Labs Israel and has enjoyed a decade long career as CTO at Mercury Interactive. He has extensive startup experience: NARUS (acquired by Boeing), VDOnet (Citrix), Ubique (AOL) and Optibase (VITEC). Oren is a co-author of several Internet and software application related patents. He received his Engineering degree from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

About Tao Liang:

Tao has over 20 years of hands-on experience building products, teams, and companies from the ground up. Tao has served in the roles of scientist, engineer, architect, and senior management in early start-ups as well as large enterprises such as Microsoft, Cisco, Roche, and Xerox.  As a technology generalist, Tao has hands-on experience and a keen interest in artificial intelligence.  Tao received his Masters in and PhD Engineering from Stanford University.

2016 Events

13 September 2016 | at GE Digital, San Ramon


Sundar Murugappan, Lead Scientist at GE Global Research

Bett Bollhoefer, Product Manager Predix

JOsH Lindsay, Lead Design Technologist in Research @ GE Digital

Talk title: Intersection of Art and Technology

Sue Reager, President, Translate your World

Talk title: Web Real-Time Communication and Language Technologies - Changes to the Mobile Community

About Sundar Murugappan:

Dr. Sundar Murugappan is currently a Lead Scientist in the Intelligent Industrial Experiences Labs at GE Global Research, California, USA. Prior to joining GE, he received his doctorate (PhD) in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, Indiana. His primary areas of interest include Natural User Interfaces, Human Computer Interaction and Augmented Reality.


About Bett Bollhoefer:

Bett has worked in the IT and development space since 1999. She is a Distinguished Toastmaster, former President of Distinguished Division Governor in Toastmasters, and winner of the Division Governor of the Year award. Before joining GE, she first worked as a developer, then as a Solutions Architect at Verizon. Today, Bett is an Architect at GE Digital focused on Predix Platform Architecture. To round out her technical expertise, Bett speaks and writes on software design and is the author of several books including Zen of Software Development, You Can Be a Software Architect and the sci-fi novel Engineer Your Perfect Child. Bett cohosted the popular Software Architecture Concepts podcast for two years. And for fun, Bett is a professional Improv actor, enjoys swing dancing, painting and playing the cello.


About Josh Lindsay:

I have worked with and for many notable technology & creative firms as both an Artist & Technologist, such as Lucas Film, Electronic Arts, Capcom, General Electric Global Research, Yahoo @ Yammer. Projects include, "The Godfather" for the xbox, for Lucas Animation, along with CG work for ILM Industrial Light & Magic, Residential Evil 4 for Capcom, and a whole lot of Big data & Video projects for Google, Yahoo, & Videoegg.  I also run my own video platform


About Sue Reager:

Sue Reager is an industry expert in speech translation for multimedia and technology, columnist for Speech Technology Magazine and, and an industry expert on code localization for audio products, software, and telecom. Her inventions are licensed by Cisco Systems and Intel, and used in telecom applications for Cox Communications, Telecom Italia, Vodaphone, Qatar Tel, Turner Broadcasting, Orange Mobile, Telia Sonera, and others.  Her latest venture is

Presentation Abstract:

The combination of WebRTC (Real-Time Communication) with the advances in language technologies enables companies to sell worldwide at 95% reduction in marketing cost.  Developers will find themselves flooded with submissions from around the world.  Mobile phone applications will swell from 2 people per session to 2,000.  Entrepreneurs and SMEs will serve customers and offer tech support in dozens of languages.  And an explosion in video streaming will reach 3 billion viewers with automatic video translation.  The new opportunities that these two technologies will offer developers have been widely under-reported.


21 June 2016 | at Ford Research and Innovation Center, Palo Alto


Gerald Friedland, Ph.D. – Director of Audio and Multimedia Research, ICSI; Co-Founder/CTO, Audeme

Title of talk: Embedding Speech Dialog without the Cloud


Ian Lane, Ph.D. – Co-Founder & CEO, Capio; Research Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University

Title of talk: Speech and Vision Processing for Immersive Human Computer Interaction in Vehicles


AIDAS, is an Intelligent Driver Assistive System developed at Carnegie Mellon University that enables Immersive Interaction within vehicles. The AIDAS platform enables rich, speech-centric interaction with the driver incorporating speech and gesture recognition, gaze tracking, dialog modeling and situated spoken language understanding. Interactions are both context-aware, and are natural, akin to interacting with a human assistant. In this talk Ian will introduce the core speech and vision technologies used within AIDAS and describe the work at Capio, the CMU spinout that is bringing this technology to market to realize real-time interaction on embedded platforms.

Ian Lane is an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He leads the speech and language-processing group at CMU Silicon Valley and performs research in the areas of speech recognition, spoken language understanding and situated dialogue. Ian is also a co-founder of Capio, a CMU spinout that is focused on bringing this technology to market.

15 March 2016 | at Google, Mountain View


Roberto Pieraccini, Ph.D. – Head of Advanced Conversational Technologies, Jibo 

Korbinian Riedhammer, Ph.D. – Co-founder, Remeeting


Roberto Pieraccini: The Challenges of a Conversational Robot
Jibo ( is the first consumer social robot. Jibo can talk, understand speech, recognize and track faces, and behave like an animated character. In this talk I will discuss some of the challenges faced in the design and realization of a sophisticated device like Jibo.


Korbinian Riedhammer: Engineering searchable conversations
At Remeeting, we’re working on making conversations searchable: Record on your smartphone (or teleconference software), store it in the cloud, and get a visual index that shows who spoke, what they said, and a high level summary in form of keywords. Search the audio, add notes, or share with others to centralize your follow-up work. I’ll try to keep the talk hands-on and entertaining, to set the stage for some fruitful discussion!

Contact the Bay Area - Silicon Valley Chapter

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