“Simplifying Watson Studio, Watson ML and AutoAI in a single tool makes it easier to understand and explain their functions,” said Mark Wyllie, CEO of Flagship Solutions Group, an IBM partner based in Boca Raton, Florida.
IBM said new artificial intelligence and automation features in its Watson Assistant tool would improve corporate customer service experiences across multiple channels.
The news comes as the company makes AI investments down to the silicon level in Case of the technology giants from Armonk, NY, new Telum processors and in servers in the case of the Power E1080 server, the first in a series of servers built around its 7 nm IBM Power10 processor.
Thursday’s announcements include an add-on for the IntelePeer Atmosphere Communications Platform-as-a-Service. Users on Watson Assistant Plus and Enterprise plans can set up voice capabilities and a new phone number for a virtual agent. IntelePeer can also connect Watson Assistant to users’ existing telephone systems. With IntelePeer, Watson Assistant can connect to “almost every major contact center platform that uses the SIP protocol” in at least 30 minutes without coding.
“A critical challenge facing almost every company today is the need to better communicate with its customers and employees across all channels,” said Daniel Hernandez, IBM’s general manager of data and AI, in a statement .
Mark Wyllie, CEO of Flagship Solutions Group, an IBM partner based in Boca Raton, Florida, told CRN that he sees the new features as a contribution to the introduction of Watson Assistant. His company is investing in expanding its Watson offering and is hoping for further integrations from IBM that will further network its Watson tools.
“Simplifying Watson Studio, Watson ML and AutoAI into a single tool makes it easier to understand and explain what they do,” said Wyllie. “More integration of Assistant into customer service software would make sense.”
IntelePeer from San Mateo, California, recently presented at XChange 2021 in San Antonio. XChange 2021 is hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company. Among other things, the company announces that voice and e-mail communication are out in terms of customer attention, SMS are the “new hot button” and the potential of automation through social media and chatbots could lead to more sales and higher customer satisfaction .
Another new feature of Watson Assistant is the ability to retrieve short answers based on a question-and-answer system from IBM Research. The new function enables the virtual agent to shorten longer sentences or passages and to provide context where the answers come from. Administrators now have a general function for “FAQ extraction” to keep the virtual agent up to date with broader sources of information without manual updates.
And the third feature announced on Thursday is a new agent app feature that provides human customer service reps with a transcript created using IBM’s speech recognition models. The transcript will be shown on people’s screens when they take over the virtual agent so that people can solve customer problems faster.
At an event in March, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna estimated that the current rate of delivery of AI to enterprises is only in the single digits with more than 40,000 customers using IBM to deliver AI on a large scale.
The AI platform from IBM runs locally as well as in private and public clouds – and has use cases that range from automating IT operations to a partnership between ServiceNow on Watson AIOps, to creating multilingual chatbots via Watson Assistant, natural language processing and AI search functions for companies are enough. “We have focused on modernizing customers’ applications and reshaping their workflows with AI,” said Krishna.
During the company’s quarterly conference call in July, Krishna said that an AI-powered assistant, CVS Health, said to help roll out COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, handled more than 10 million calls in three months. He said IBM has also made Watson Assistant available to York University, PayPal, and other customers.