26 billion. That’s the number of intelligent, connected devices that, by 2020, are anticipated to be available with conversational virtual assistants. With virtual assistant usage on an upswing, it’s now time for these human-machine interactions to become simpler and richer. Now’s the time for that same virtual assistant in your home that you can ask questions of – such as “What’s today’s weather going to be?” or “What’s the latest news?” – to be able to help you with other time-consuming and oftentimes frustrating tasks. Now’s the time for the virtual assistant in your home to be able to communicate with the enterprise virtual assistants we’re all coming to value, such as those being used by airlines, banks, and other brands. And now’s the time for us to apply the old adage, “Two heads are better than one,” to our virtual assistant counterparts – where two or more virtual assistants working together have a better chance of solving a problem than one virtual assistant working alone.
Enabling brands to intelligently engage customers through domain-specific virtual assistants without losing control
It is in this same vein that we recently unveiled Nina for Google Home and last summer announced Nina for Amazon Alexa. Both of these new solutions enable brands to integrate intelligent, enterprise-grade virtual assistants to offer customers a human-like service experience through their Google or Amazon smart home devices. With Nina for Google Home, organizations can leverage customer service investments through Nuance to extend the reach of their domain-specific virtual assistants – the same one they use on the web and through their social channels – to ensure a unified omni-channel experience no matter which platform customers choose to connect.
Both Nina for Google Home and Nina for Amazon Alexa leverage our new Cognitive Arbitrator – an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technology that gives consumers the ability to access their preferred services from various assistants and third-party content providers without having to remember which assistant handles which task and how to interact with it. This ultimately solves one of the biggest consumer challenges in today’s connected world: the ability for virtual assistants to effortlessly communicate with each other. And, it does so by seamlessly connecting and integrating disparate virtual assistants, third-party services, and content via a single interface that spans the smart home, automotive, and Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem to complete complex tasks and enhance the user experience.
This seamless communication between virtual assistants is the future of how we, as consumers, are going to get stuff done. And we’re going to be able to do it with little effort given the sheer level of intelligence that is built into these modern virtual assistants. By leveraging conversational, cognitive and human-assisted AI capabilities, this new wave of enterprise-grade virtual assistants is capable of delivering the highest levels of automated customer service across an array of channels, and long gone will be the days of needing to dial a phone number to connect with our bank, airlines, telco, retail brands and other companies with whom we do business. Instead we’ll be able to simply ask our smart-home companion to connect us with a brand’s intelligent virtual agent, which will take it all from there.
“Ok, Google – when does my flight leave?”
With Nina for Google Home, enterprises can bring their customer service to the smart home speaker, allowing consumers to do everything from checking their bank balance to paying their phone bill. If they need to upgrade a flight, their Google Home assistant will be able to easily connect to their airline’s Nina-powered intelligent assistant, which will be able to confirm flight details and check on upgrade capabilities. And should they decide to move forward with the upgrade, it will securely bill the card on file, and deliver the new flight confirmation details to their mobile device.
By bridging the gap between enterprise intelligent assistants and smart home devices, we are making it simple for banks, retailers, airlines and telcos to engage with customers across these channels in a streamlined, efficient way by enabling a design-once, deploy-many approach.
Creating an environment where intelligent assistants can seamlessly connect and conquer tasks at hand is ultimately a win-win for all involved. We’ll be able to accomplish so much more in our daily lives – leaving us all satisfied with the overall experience and enabling brands to efficiently and cost-effectively deliver on our needs.