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2019: Year of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Assistants 

Leading communication technology business, TeleWare peers into its crystal ball to predict what’s coming up in the technology sector in 2019. 

Year of AI 

Microsoft is at the forefront of AI. In fact, Microsoft has put lots of effort and time producing services in Azure to harness AI power. For instance, in the lead up to Ignite, Microsoft announced earlier this year that oil and gas giant Shell is combining the Azure cloud with AI technologies in both its upstream and downstream business. 

The initiative forms part of Microsoft’s wider AI for Good campaign. Since its launch in July 2017, this work has already seen the software giant commit to spending $115m over five years on AI research projects designed to help address some of society’s biggest challenges, including accessibility and environmental sustainability. 

Microsoft is also planning on introducing AI to its Office 365 suite in 2019. Microsoft says it will leverage artificial intelligence in PowerPoint to break down barriers and help presenters better communicate their messages. The AI based tool will deliver real-time transcription or translation in PowerPoint slides as captions or subtitles. 

Artificial Intelligence and cognitive services 

Artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities are progressing at a rapid rate. What AI can do to enhance customer service and customer experience is amazing compared to just a few years ago. Currently, AI is used to offer customer support for lower-level requests and questions in the form of ChatBots.  

AI is also gaining popularity as a means to support the agent who is supporting the customer. ChatBots are now the first point of contact when a customer has a question or an issue. AI can help the agent by sharing information about the customer based on past issues, purchases and more. And, by comparing the customer to similar customers, it can provide insights to proactively address problems through keyword recognition, allowing it to select an answer. 

Virtual Assistants 

As consumers we’ve all become accustomed to Virtual Assistants (VA), whether it be Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home or Siri. Now more and more technology companies are starting to include VA’s into their own apps and websites. This is a trend that will grow bigger in 2019. Through cognitive services and conversational analytics, people will be able to have a voice conversation with their VA devices. The device will be able to detect their mood from sentiment and emotion analysis in through voice and facial expressions. Previously, Chatbots have been more reactive to requests from humans. But through AI, VA’s will be able to predict more in advance and proactively communicate with people. 

In the future… 

As we look ahead to 2019, AI will continue to mature. Shifting in a business environment from the niche to the mainstream. AI and cognitive services will also begin to appear in more applications and we’ll see further automation through bots. For instance, Microsoft is also planning on introducing AI to its Office 365 suite in 2019. Watch this space… 

Harriet King – Senior Client Executive

Milk & Honey PR – Winner of New Consultancy of the Year 2018, PRCA Dare Awards

Nurturing Reputations

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