Language learning software maker Rosetta Stone is making a major play for enterprise customers, with the launch of Catalyst. Announced Wednesday, Catalyst is Rosetta Stone's most comprehensive offering to date, with features including testing and placement, detailed mobile reporting, and the ability to deliver industry and job-specific language content from a single platform.
Founded in 1992, Rosetta Stone is known primarily for its conventional and pricey yellow-packaged language software sold in malls and airports. But for the past six years, the Arlington, Va.-based company has been building up a portfolio of cloud-based language software designed expressly for business users.
One of Rosetta Stone's key selling points for both consumers and businesses is its approach to language learning, which the company refers to as the immersion method. Central to that method is Rosetta Stone's patented speech-recognition technology, which was built in-house at the company's dedicated speech lab in Boulder, Co.
With Catalyst, Rosetta Stone's speech recognition technology maintains its starring role, allowing users to see a visualization of their pronunciation in order to refine their speaking abilities. The platform's progress tests and reporting suite, designed to help businesses get a reading on ROI, are also differentiators from other products.
"When we talk about language learning, yes it's possible to sit down and listen to tapes and absorb a little, but at the end of the day if you cant produce the language confidently, there is no point in the business investing in these licenses," said Michelle Alvarez, Rosetta Stone's global communications head.
Alvarez also highlighted the fact that Catalyst gives businesses the ability to implement company-wide learning programs for various skill levels from a single platform, something she says hasn't really been available in the market until now.
These days, Rosetta Stone's users are about half consumer and half business. Alvarez said the business side began and matured as a SaaS-based product, but its consumer offerings are still available in old-school disc form. She said the company is looking to shift its entire consumer business to SaaS-based products by the end of next year.