Sanjay Patel, chief executive of technology firm KPT, says his Adaptxt software will revolutionise the way we send our messages in the future
It's somewhat fitting that an interview with Sanjay Patel, one of the new pioneers in mobile phone technology, would be marred by a symphony of ringing telephones.
The 'quiet room' within Hillington Park Innovation Centre in Glasgow could hardly be described as a lounge of tranquillity.
Patel, founder and chief executive of KeyPoint Technologies (KPT), would appear to be a man who is very much in demand.
After switching his mobile phone off and diverting calls away from his makeshift telecommunications hub in a downstairs office suite the eight phones in the room just never stopped ringing. When the phones were finally taken off the hook his second mobile suddenly burst into life.
If an hour in his company was anything to go by the sheer volume of calls would suggest the business world has at last taken notice of Patel's efforts to convince them of the viability of his Adaptxt intelligent texting software.
Although KPT revenues are for the moment "not worth mentioning", according to Patel, he expects revenues for the coming year to be in the millions. But it was not simply a case of creating predictive texting software and then selling it to the ravenous technology market.
Patel admits he was surprised at the snail-like pace of adoption for his idea.
It has taken a monumental effort by him and his team to ensure the right people in industry knew the product even existed. He said: "I thought the idea would sell itself, because the present texting system is very much old school.
"But it's been really difficult convincing the mobile phone manufacturers that our software is something that they should have.
"We were demonstrating a better solution to help users utilise the devices they are manufacturing, and essentially making the texting facility in those devices far easier to use.
"Our system is capable of learning, and it can hold as many dictionaries as you like, so if you're multilingual it doesn't care if you switch from one dictionary to the other. It does all of these things far better than the current systems plus there is potential to make money from it from ease of use and the number of add-ons we can offer.
"We have been here now for two years on the mobile side and we're getting new investment and commercialisation into handsets.
"The view from the industry now is that 'these guys are solid'. There is also the trust element, and we're not a one product house."
Adaptxt software understands the nuances of language and accurately types ahead of the user by suggesting words learning from writing traits.
The software has also been adapted for smartphone and pocket PC platforms, and is currently available for Windows Mobile and Symbian smartphones in 27 languages.
Currently KPT has 50 development staff at offices in Glasgow and Hyderabad, India, which includes more than 20 full-time linguists.
The company has been shipping to suppliers since the beginning of the year, and expects to see the first phones with the software built-in by the end of October.
Kpt is set to capitalise on a growing demand for pocket sized computers - Blackberry's, tablet computers and PDAs - in an effort to solve the problem of text creation in a technology market obsessed with the miniaturisation of its products.
Patel said: "If you look at some of the features on mobile phones at the moment, a lot of it is just overkill, and having a system with maybe 20 or 30 features when you'll use may be one or two is just awaste of resources.
"We have always said the system should be simple, and provide users with the basics to allow them to input text. If they want the additional features then they can buy them if they need them rather than paying for an elaborate system that they will rarely use.
"There are so many other things that we can do with language other than predict, but it is a medium that we use to communicate and it's everywhere."
Patel is happy to have KPT's base in Scotland, but it could all have been so different had he not accepted the invite from Scottish Enterprise.
"I really ended up in Scotland because Scottish Enterprise asked me to come up here and get the company up and running," Patel said.
"Their enthusiasm was incredible, and the support they were promising was more that I could expect in Surrey, where I had originally set up the company in 1997.
"I was finding it difficult getting the knowledge base and the business side of things co-ordinated in Croydon, but Scottish Enterprise convinced me to come to Scotland, set me up here in the Innovation Centre and offered all the support I would need to take the company forward.
"The Innovation centre is really first class, and has been a key factor in helping us to keep ahead of the competition.
"The expectation here is not a finance short game, but a real drive for success, and Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International have come together to offer as much support as we needed. That drive and that kind of mentality has afforded us the opportunity to get as far as we have."
Patel moved to Hillington Business Park, one of two Innovation Centres run by Innovation Centres Scotland (IPS) Limited, a private-public joint venture offering incubation centres for entrepreneurs and companies who are engaged in the next generation of Scottish high-technology businesses and new jobs.
Ics operates incubator centres providing business service and advice support to technology start-ups at two centres in Hillington Park and Alba, Livingston.
Prior to launching KPT, Patel enjoyed a successful career designing software for the communications and finance industries.
But it was a family tragedy that inspired Patel's drive to create a new form of language software.
He said: "My brother was involved in a serious traffic accident and had to have his arm amputated, so his professional career as a portrait painter was severely hampered.
"So I started to look at what was out there in terms of getting his skills into a transferable medium using computers, but there wasn't really alot of stuff out there at the time.
"I looked at things like ergonomic keyboards but there was nothing out there to specifically help someone with one hand, so I had that in mind and I started to build on something.
"I became a one armed user myself, because it seemed the best way to learn and devise a new system to reduce the number of keystrokes that you would need to use and managed to get the average number of keystrokes reduced by something like 33 per cent, but that wasn't really enough for me, and I started to look at how I could reduce that further."
Patel then began researching language, and how the keyboard used language to communicate with a computer.
"Fundamentally the PC keyboard has basic keyboard driver software, which is in effect a simple version of what we have today," says Patel.
"We actually derived language intelligence for all languages because the principles are inherently the same, so that allowed us to build the application side.
"It doesn't matter what's coming in from the keyboard, but what we have done is apply a language intelligence engine called Adaptxt to see every language being used as a pattern.
"It can do all of the things that input systems do currently, but it allows us to do a lot more with language than just predict.
"The computer can store any number of languages in a series of ones and zeros, and that got me thinking about pattern recognition.
"On the mobile phone, when you want to type something, the easiest way to do that is through predictive texting. I realised that no matter what language I used they were all patterns.
"These patterns have the same principles in terms of concept, semantics and the ability to portray an understanding or a reality, no matter whether its alphabets, Latin or even graphics, they have the same purpose.
"But what we are doing that is different to our competitors is they still require you to type something in order to map meaning and context, whereas our system learns how an individual writes using their own unique style of language use to then predict phrases and sentences."
And Patel believes text intelligence is only the beginning. He said: "If you can imagine text as a language pattern, well sound is just another pattern, so we could look towards a paradigm shift in our architecture to develop that."
The company secured another £4m in funding from private investors in August, which will help develop an international sales team and fund additional fine tuning as Adaptxt gears up to be rolled out globally.
"It's not about how much of the company you own. It's the people I come to work with each day who make the company. So ideology wise, and philosophically, the people I have here are the people I will want to reward," said Patel.
'We have been here now for two years on the mobile side and we're getting new investment into handsets'