In September 2013 WebRTC specialist Thrupoint successfully spun out a software company called CaféX to bring a suite of real-time, multi-channel customer care resources to market. Today, the stand-alone company has made impressive strides in that direction. Its OEM relationship with Cisco has insured that the CaféX Fusion Live Assist has been incorporated in trials or live customer care offerings by 6 of the top 10 global financial institutions (branded as Cisco’s Mobile Advisor offering). CaféX Live Assist is also going to have high visibility at the Enterprise Connect Conference in Orlando where it is one of 6 finalists for the “Best of Enterprise Connect” Award.
Yet, from Opus Research’s point of view, the most noteworthy aspect of the company is that its products make it simple for a company to add real-time video to its customer care offering (delivering on WebRTC’s promise of initiating a live stream of audio or video from a Web browser without requiring a customer to download and install a client or plug in). The other is to make it possible to initiate such a stream while a customer is in the middle of using a mobile app.
The first capability is made possible by the aforementioned Live Assist platform. It enables two-way video communications between an agent and customer as well as co-browsing, screensharing and “annotation” (which means that the agent can write instructions or draw pointers on a customer’s screen. This video demo illustrates how the platform is designed to work for a financial services company targeting high net-worth investors.
Supporting a secure link from inside a mobile app to a company’s customer care resources is the role of CaféX In-App Communications. CaféX supplies enterprise or 3rd party developers with an SDK that includes a tool-kit that helps extend the Live Assist capabilities to an iOS- or Android-based tablet using just two lines of HTML, Javescript or Objective-C code. It is believed that CaféX In-App and Live Assist is the basis for the “Direct Connect to personalized servicing for Platinum and Centurion Consumer Card Members” mentioned in the app description in the iTunes store.
The third “pillar” of the CaféX offering is called Fusion Palettes. This is a set of middleware that serves as the connective tissue between many elements of existing customer care resources – such as existing IVR scripts – and figures out how to represent them as buttons in a mobile app. It also acts as an analytical engine that performs what CaféX calls “dynamic translation of contextual data” – which means it takes user generated data and metadata and uses it to support intelligent routing or generation of screen pops on agent desktops.
CaféX is plowing ahead to add a number of practical capabilities on top of clientless and plugin-less two-way streams. It has incorporated electronic signatures, as depicted in the video demo mentioned above. This is a capability that is relevant for other verticals such as healthcare, insurance and government applications. The company has been aggressively marketing to these verticals and has a relatively low cost (approximately $50,000) 90 day trial that enables companies to get acquainted with the platform and its capabilities.
By popular demand (though without confirmation from Microsoft), the fictional artificially intelligent being that first appeared in the xBox videogame “HALO: Combat Evolved” and its sequels, is being recruited to be the “Siri-equivalent” for Windows-based phones and tablets. As indicated by this post from June of 2013 in Microsoft’s Windows Phone Community page, the idea of having Cortana as an Intelligent Virtual Assistant has been a hot topic among Microsoft’s fan base for a while. Today, coverage by Tom Warren in The Verge, based on a “leaked” SDK, shows that the Bing search box which has graced past versions of Windows Phone 8, will be replaced by the ever-conversational Cortana, who will have a personality “like Siri” but bring some of the predictive assistance functions that are popularizing Google Now. (Warren’s article sparked coverage of the imminent launch by Eric Limer in Gizmodo and by Darrell Etherington in TechCrunch.)
Perhaps most import is that Microsoft sees Cortana on a smartphone as the natural language-based controller for apps and media that run or play on a Notebook. According to Warren, Microsoft will position this approach as a form of privacy protection. Over time, Cortana will learn a lot about her users’ activities, likes, dislikes, preferences and other personal data. It will also be set up to react to the content of emails and alerts automatically, including the management of “Do Not Disturb” functionality that will let an inner circle of friends and family get their messages through during quiet hours.
Microsoft has been totally mum on the topic, so it is unclear whether it will be using its own speech recognition and text-to-speech software. Ford Sync, for instance, which is “powered by Microsoft” is an amalgam of speech processing resources, including Microsoft’s home-grown speech recognition and Nuance’s text-to-speech. As The Verge’s Warren notes, the xBox voice command is highly accurate, but appears to have a relatively small vocabulary (mostly commands). To be “Siri-like” Cortana will have to be accurate, human-sounding and possessed of a relatively large vocabulary, or at least one that can speak to individual users in their own terms.
Opus Research is pleased to announce José Ignacio Zorrilla, with Banco Santander Mexico, will present key findings from a new contact center strategy for customer authentication in a keynote presentation for Voice Biometrics Conference San Francisco (May 14-15, 2014).
With more than 3 million calls into contact centers monthly, Banco Santander Mexico is using voice biometrics as a means to identify and authenticate banking customers rather than relying on passwords and knowledge-based questions. The new strategy helps improve contact center efficiency, says Ignacio, in reducing the time it takes for agents to identify customers and helps streamline the customer experience.
As Executive Director of Channels at Banco Santander Mexico, Ignacio is in charge of the operation of state-of-the-art contact centers, Internet banking, mobile and ATM networks for a commercial bank serving 6.5 million customers. Ignacio will highlight the organizational strategy for Banco Santander Mexico in assessing new technologies for customer authentication and outline the opportunities and challenges in implementing the voice biometrics solution.
Santander México is the country’s third largest financial group by business volume, with market shares of 14.8% in deposits and 13% in loans, and the first Santander country to implement voiceprint technology.
Dan Miller, Senior Analyst with Opus Research, presents results from the latest Opus Research “Intelliview” report. He will describe criteria that should be taken into account when marketing, sales and contact center professionals evaluate vendors of Enterprise Virtual Assistants (EVAs) – especially those providing human-like interactions on the Web and with mobile devices.
Miller will be joined by Brett Beranek, Solutions Marketing Manager at Nuance Communications, who will provide insights into customer acceptance of EVAs based on implementations of Nuance’s Nina Web and Nina Mobile services.
February 20, 2014 — 1:00 p.m. EST / 10:00 a.m. PST
Sign up below to join the webcast
On February 4th, speech-processing specialist Sestek completed an investment in Botego, acquiring 30% of the company. It signaled the beginning of stepped up efforts to develop and market solutions that combine Sestek’s automated speech processing assets with Botego’s natural language processing products and expertise.
According to company-supplied literature, Botego means “Bot with an Ego.” In its seven years of operations, it has distinguished itself as the only company, based in Turkey, offering a commercial product using NLP created for the Turkish language. Its main products include virtual agents, an automated email reply agent and tools that support document indexing and search as well as natural language search.
Botego can brag an impressive set of customers for these core products and services. They include Johnson & Johnson which employed Botego as the basis of “Ask Asli,” an artificial intelligence-base consumer chat line that fielded questions about O.B. tampons, a topic that J&J correctly believed its target customers might find to intimate or sensitive for live chat. Other customers include global brands like CocaCola, Fox and Lipton, as well as a number of domestic, Turkish firms like wireless provider Avea, TurkTelekom, DigiTurk and Finansbank. Together the two companies will expand their international footprint by adding languages and marketing efforts in the U.S. Botego has already opened an office in New York City. In addition to Turkish, Sestek’s platform supports English, German, Portuguese and a number of Arabic languages and dialects.
The opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics is taking place as I write this. My prediction: Avaya’s approach to supporting multiple high-speed digital networks to support communications and collaboration at the Olympic Games will have profound implications for supporting multiple, multichannel conversations between companies and their customers. While this may seem like a stretch goal today, by the end of The Games, it will make perfect sense. At a recent briefing, Avaya executives made it clear that this is an event that showcases many “firsts” when looking at the architecture, nature and functions of the underlying network fabric. First and foremost, the scope of the project and the speeds involved – both for carriage of voice, video, text, tweets; and for network provisioning, construction and operations – are industry “firsts.”
Observing that it has seen 55% growth in its core platform revenue over the past two years, Redwood City-based LiveOps is undergoing some fundamental, though predictable, changes. Flush with $30 million in debt funding from Comerica Bank, the company is formally separating its cloud-based contact center platform from its outsourced agent services business. The two businesses, called LiveOps Cloud Platform, LLC and LiveOps Agent Services LLC, will be run as wholly owned subsidiaries of LiveOps, Inc. and CEO Marty Beard will be Chairman of the Board.
Intelligent Virtual Assistants are the go-to resource for customer care, tech support and marketing – becoming the basis for $700 million in investment by 2016. In this report, Opus Research evaluates the offerings of eight firms who have taken leadership in defining Intelligent Virtual Assistant for enterprise, customer care and self-service.
Featured Research Reports are available to registered users only.
For more information on becoming an Opus Research client or purchasing the report, please contact Pete Headrick (firstname.lastname@example.org).
IBM is taking dramatic steps to insure that Watson, its cloud-based set of computing, communications and analytic resources, will be broadly ingrained into the conversational interface between companies and their customers, employees or other stakeholders. It has established Watson Group, a new business unit, which it is “funding forward” with plans to spend about $2 billion over the next couple of years. The new group will employ more than 2,000 professionals and have its headquarters building along Silicon Alley in lower Manhattan.