Home > PR > The pace of AI announcements in PR software slows [PR Tech Sum 52]

The pace of AI announcements in PR software slows [PR Tech Sum 52]

Propel rolls our new UX, AI plugins for email; Meltwater signs Microsoft for monitoring; Onclusive wrestles with a cyberattack and outage

The last 60 days have been pretty slow in terms of news from the PR software vendor community. I skipped this monthly column in February because there wasn’t anything to write about.

A similar quiet period occurred at the same time last year – between January and March. So, it may well be simply a slow time of year for these companies. Yet I do have two observations:

First, every month for the last 12 months there has been an announcement about generative AI and that’s slowed a lot. While there are some AI announcements below, these all known use cases and there isn’t anything new.

Second, with all the M&A announcements aside, things are pretty quiet in terms of real innovation. Some PR software vendors haven’t had an announcement for two or more years.

What do you think?

And now onward with this month’s PR Tech Sum.

1. Onclusive wrestles with a cyberattack and outage

PRWeek published several articles reporting Onclusive was hit by a cyberattack that caused an outage. In an article titled, Onclusive finds ‘possible data breach’ from cyber attack, reporter Evie Barrett, says:

“According to an Onclusive service update seen by PRWeek and sent to customers via email last night (19 February), the company has discovered that details including full names, email addresses, phone numbers and customer invoices may have been accessed when Onclusive encountered a cyber-security incident in early February.

Despite this, the company’s chief executive, Rob Stone, told customers in the email correspondence: ‘Please be assured that there is no evidence that any financial, banking, log-in credentials or sensitive information has been compromised.’”

She also quotes two anonymous Onclusive customers. One noted they were unable to provide media monitoring services for clients as a result of the outage. Another was more forceful:

“This is an absolute shambles. It’s been over two weeks of promises to get the system back up and running, and now Onclusive have confirmed that some customer private data may also have been accessed.”

A spokesperson for Onclusive characterized the attack to PRWeek as “vicious” and said, “teams are working 24/7 to resolve the issues.”

In 2022, Onclusive, formerly known as Air PR, was acquired by a private equity firm, which also acquired Kantar Reputation Intelligence, PRgloo and merged them under the Onclusive brand. A short while later, the combined organization also acquired Critical Mention.

Critical Mention was developing an all-in-one platform but was perhaps better known as the only real rival to broadcast monitoring company TVEyes.

Broadly, across the industry, cybersecurity has become increasingly important for customers. More specifically, many of the software vendors have moved to head off security fears stemming from artificial intelligence. Three of the bigger players publicly pledged to mitigate those concerns. Perhaps it’s time to do this across cybersecurity too.

2. Propel rolls our new UX, AI plugins for email

PR software startup Propel said it rolled out version “2.0” of its platform.  The new edition includes a new user interface (UX) and generative AI plugins that work with Outlook and Gmail email clients. The plugins can be used to help PR pros customize their pitches to a specific contact.

Here’s a screenshot. Click the image to see a version with higher resolution.

3. Meltwater signs Microsoft for monitoring

Meltwater announced it signed Microsoft as a customer for social media monitoring. In addition, Microsoft will list Meltwater in its Azure Marketplace, which makes it available for purchase and deployment for existing Microsoft customers.

The PR software company also noted it’s doing some integration work on the back of this deal. This will enable Microsoft 365 Copilot and Microsoft Teams customers “who are [also] Meltwater customers to engage conversationally” with data Meltwater has collected.

Outputs include basic metrics “such as brand mentions, sentiment analysis, key issues, and competitive benchmarking.”

4. PR tech briefs and mentions

  • Prezly announced a number of updates including an AI translator. The translator let’s customers translate content they publish, what Prezly calls “stories” into 30 different languages and vice versa. I took a close look at the company’s software a while back and wrote up this briefing.
  • Signal AI said it acquired Social 360, a “reputation intelligence monitoring company” with customers in the U.S., and APAC. “The acquisition will integrate traditional, social, regulatory, and alternative data sources into one unified platform,” according to a press release.

5. Content picks

Have an announcement from a PR tech vendor?

Here’s the updated list of PR technology companies I’m watching and here’s a clear description of the stuff I want to cover.

* * *

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