Wednesday, 19 April 2017 12:15

Pegasystems launches Intelligent Virtual Assistant

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Pegasystems launches Intelligent Virtual Assistant Image courtesy of COOLDESIGN at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Global software company Pegasystems has launched an Intelligent Virtual Assistant – an artificial intelligence-powered bot designed to turn applications into smart assistants on any channel.

According to Pega, its intelligent virtual assistant can be used on channels from SMS and email to Facebook, Alexa and Slack, and it claims that despite the hype, today’s chatbots and virtual assistants don’t provide the human-like experiences they’ve been promised to deliver.

“Early bot adopters who bought in on the hype are finding that instead of getting closer to their customers on Facebook or Alexa, these disconnected experiences are actually driving them further apart,” said Don Schuerman, chief technology officer and vice-president, product marketing, Pegasystems.

“Today Pega makes bots smarter and more intuitive to use while enabling a continuous experience from channel to channel. We believe this model serves as a new roadmap for the future of bots and how organisations will interact with customers and employees.”

“Meanwhile, developers struggle to build and manage even more bots for the latest channels and establish a connected experience between them all,” Pega says.

The company says a new global AI survey it conducted found that only 20% of consumers prefer chat-based customer service, and 80% still want a live human at the other end.

But, Pega maintains these shortfalls are overcome with its new Intelligent Virtual Assistant — part of the Pega platform — by extending any Pega enterprise application to any conversational interface.

“It turns these channels into intelligent assistants that make personalised customer service and real work possible using natural language in voice or text.”

According to Pega, this makes bots “more intelligent, useful, and gratifying for customers and employees” to use in a variety of scenarios, such as:

  • A banking bot alerts a customer checking her balance on Alexa to a suspicious charge, opens a charge dispute, and orders her a new card – all in the same session, using natural language.
  • A mobile service provider bot helps a subscriber on Facebook Messenger understand why he went over his data limit, suggests a plan better suited for his lifestyle, and immediately activates it so he can continue to stream the big game.
  • A company’s internal IT helpdesk bot helps an employee diagnose a laptop problem with a series of questions, opens a ticket with the IT staff, and seamlessly connects her to a helpdesk staff member if the issue becomes overly complex.

Pega Intelligent Virtual Assistant is preconfigured to extend to Facebook Messenger, Alexa, and Google Home and the vendor says business users can easily build their own extenders to other popular messaging apps such as WeChat and Skype, as well as business collaboration apps like Slack and Yammer.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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