Baseball may be “the national past-time,” but ordering pizza (and related beverages and side dishes) has to be a very close second. For decades the national chains, like Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Little Caesars, have engaged in very aggressive advertising and marketing competition to capture share of the approximately $10 billion that U.S. households spend on pizza delivery each year. For decades, the major chains and franchises have invested millions in Web- and phone-based technologies to make order entry simple, speedy and conducive to delivering a piping hot pie in minutes.
Enter Dom, the natural language intelligent assistant integrated with Domino’s mobile app and available for iOS and Android-based smartphones. It is part of the latest release of the Domino’s Pizza app, which is officially called Domino’s Pizza USA version 2.1.0 in the App Store and Google Play. The Domino’s app is a highly-efficient order-capture engine, enabling each smartphone user to designate whether they want delivery or pick up and then presenting them with simple ways to view offers (behind a button called “Coupons”) or to view a full menu that includes pastas, sandwiches, drinks, sides and desserts, in addition to pizzas.
The home screen now includes red icon in the lower left corner. It looks like a microphone with a hat on and carries the “BETA” imprimatur. Tapping the icon wakes up Dom, though he doesn’t identify himself. He simply says “What’ll you have?” or “What can I get you?” in a cheery baritone. He’s pretty open to options. The smartphone’s screen illustrates the menu of options and shoppers can use their own words to “build a pizza.”
It’s very much a “mixed initiative” experience, meaning that saying “I want a large pizza with pepperoni and onion” is very much like touching the radio buttons on the “menu” page to make selections. In other instances, like when a user wants to see the Coupons, Dom will say, “For now, you need to make your selection by tapping it. We can talk more later.”
Dom is the product of work that Domino’s has been doing with Nuance Communications, and is a branded version of Nina Mobile, which made its debut roughly two years ago. Nuance, along with a cadre of companies that include Amazon, Next IT, IBM, IntelliResponse, Interactions, Oracle, Linguasys and a handful of others around the globe are making inroads into banking, insurance, retailing, medicine, higher education, travel and hospitality, and general retailing. Executives from many of these companies will be sharing their ideas and showcasing their solutions at Opus Research’s Intelligent Assistants Conference, in San Francisco in September. Dom’s appearance on the scene signals an acceleration in the introduction of new use cases and implementations. Come to San Francisco in September to learn more and meet the people that are making intelligent assistance more ubiquitous.