Home Hot TopicsArtificial Intelligence IBM Watson Unveils New AI and Automation Features

IBM Watson Unveils New AI and Automation Features

by Tanu Sri

Designed to help businesses more quickly set up a voice agent with IntelePeer and enable more seamless hand-offs to live agents

IBM Watson Assistant now includes additional AI and automation features that make it easier for organisations to provide better customer care experiences across any channel, including phone, web, SMS, and any messaging platform.

This includes a new partnership with IntelePeer, a leading Communications Platform-as-a-Service provider, to set up and test a voice agent, as well as a new agent app that allows for a seamless hand-off to a live agent while keeping the conversation’s context.

Virtual assistants are gaining popularity due to ongoing improvements in natural language processing (NLP) and automation. According to IBM’s 2021 Global AI Adoption Index Morning Consult on behalf of IBM: “Global AI Adoption Index 2021” , 52 percent of global IT professionals surveyed report that their company is using or considering NLP solutions to improve customer experiences.

“As per the latest “Global AI Adoption Index 2021,” by Morning Consult and IBM, over half (54%) of Indian IT professionals cite that needing a better way to interact with customers influenced their decision to use automation software or tools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The need for chat and voice assistants has grown in the last year with the accelerated digital push. Today’s announcement reiterates IBM’s commitment to helping clients with the new capabilities as part of the virtual agent, Watson Assistant. The voice functionality and seamless hand-offs will elevate the virtual agent experience for end-users. Forex: The new Agent app will empower the agent to respond to the customer faster, get full visibility to the history of a conversation and respond with accurate information. Similarly, Watson Assistant search skill will enable the virtual agent to respond with precise answers and with a context —in a few words from longer sentences or passages. We believe industries in India such as BFSI, Retail, Telecom, e-commerce etc. will benefit from these features to seamlessly automate tasks by providing a superior customer and agent experience,” said Viswanath Ramaswamy, Vice President, Technology, IBM Technology Sales, IBM India / South Asia.

IBM is expanding Watson Assistant, the company’s intelligent virtual agent, with new capabilities to enable organisations use AI and natural language processing to resolve customer concerns on the first interaction. Watson Assistant is designed to give consumers with appropriate answers more quickly over the phone, SMS, online, or any messaging channel, and to seamlessly pass off to a live agent when more assistance is required. The following are some of the new features:

  • Add voice capabilities to Watson Assistant: The IntelePeer Atmosphere Communications Platform-as-a-Service is now available as an add-on in Watson Assistant so that users with a Plus and Enterprise plan can set up voice capabilities and a new phone number for a virtual agent quickly. If businesses already have an existing contact center phone system, IntelePeer can also provide the connection between Watson Assistant and the existing phone system using industry standards. Using IntelePeer, Watson Assistant is now designed to connect to nearly every major contact center platform that uses the SIP protocol in as little as half an hour with no coding.
  • Help customers resolve issues on first contact with Watson Assistant Search Skill: Watson Assistant’s Search Skill feature now includes short-answer retrieval, which is based on an innovative question-answering (QA) system from IBM Research. This enables the virtual agent to return an answer — in a few words — from longer sentences or passages and provide the context on where the answer came from. FAQ extraction is also now generally available in Search Skill. FAQ extraction is designed to help administrators keep the virtual agent up to date with broader sources of information, without having to constantly make manual updates.
  • Facilitate a seamless hand-off with the new agent app: Watson Assistant’s new agent app feature is designed to help customer service agents pick up with a customer right where the virtual agent left off. When a customer calls in, IBM’s speech detection models, which are designed to provide more accurate transcriptions out-of-the-box, deliver a near real-time transcription of the conversation. When the hand-off occurs, the new agent app provides the customer service agent with the latest transcript right on their screen. This means customers don’t have to repeat their questions and agents are empowered to resolve issues even more quickly.

“One critical challenge facing nearly every business today is the need to better communicate with their customers and employees across all channels,” said Daniel Hernandez, General Manager of Data and AI, IBM. “We’re continuously delivering new innovations in natural language processing, automation and advancing responsible AI, and building a strong, open ecosystem with partners like IntelePeer to help businesses transform customer care with Watson Assistant.”

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