The adoption and application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to accelerate at an exponential rate in modern businesses. As referenced in the 2017 Tech Trend Report, AI is nearing completion of the next layer in technological advancement, integrated into everything individuals and organizations do. This trajectory is predicted to drive cumulative worldwide spending of $40.6 billion on AI projects by 2024 – according to Raconteur. This is expected to create mass opportunity for the pioneering businesses currently investing in AI development. Moving beyond the hype in existing media coverage, this post will uncover the reality behind what AI means for businesses today, in the near future, and beyond 2017.
Just a few decades ago, interactions were slow. Customers sent their complaints through the mail, waiting months for a response that may never arrive. As technology advanced, businesses offered new ways to innovate and improve customer engagement -- at ever-increasing speeds. Snail mail became phone banks with advanced logical routing to subject matter experts. Then the conversation moved online, with inventions such as live chat and interactive voice response creating new channels for engaging with the customer.
At the THINK 2018 conference, IBM announced Watson Assistant, a new addition to its cognitive computing platform. This service enables developers to build digital assistants that can interact through conversational user experience. Watson Assistant is not entirely new to developers familiar with IBM Cloud. It's an enhancement to an existing service called Conversation. In its improved version, the API supports newer conversational flow combined with natural language understanding.
Virtual assistants are transforming the customer service industry and the deployment of these virtual staff at RBS, Natwest and SEB banks is testament to this. The web-based Luvo software will be able to engage humans in real time by answering simple banking queries. "Virtual assistants (VAs) are transforming how consumers interact with businesses – especially in customer services. Many forward-thinking banks are now incorporating VAs into their offering to respond to simpler customer queries quicker," said Sebastian Reeve, director product management, Nuance Communications. Virtual voice detection has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years and technology like Luvo and Siri can understand human diction at 90%.