Local Motor’s Self-Driving Vehicle Taps the Power of IBM Watson

There’s been a lot of talk around self-driving cars and Local Motors, a leading vehicle technology integrator and creator of the world’s first 3D-printed cars, introduced the first self-driving vehicle to integrate the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson. Local Motors is a technology company that designs, builds and sells vehicles. The Local Motors platform is a combination of a global co-creation with local micro-manufacturing to bring hardware innovations quickly to market. Local Motors in National Harbor, Maryland is a public place where co-creation is the focus for advancement of vehicle technologies.

What can you see if you visit the Maryland facility? On display are 3D-printed cars and a large-scale 3D printer. There visitors can have an interactive co-creative experience that showcases what the future of 3D printing, sustainability, autonomous technology will be. Visitors can get involved with Local Motors engineers and the company’s co-creation community.

The automobile has a name and it’s called “Olli.” At its debut it was carrying the CEO of Local Motors and co-founder John B. Rogers, Jr. and vehicle designer Edgar Sarmiento. The vehicle took them from the Local Motors co-creation community into the new facility. While there are already self-driving action in Washington, DC, soon there will be vehicles on the road in Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas. The cars can carry up to 12 people. More details can be seen in this video:

Source: IBM Watson

What’s the Big Innovation? The electric vehicle is equipped with some of the world’s most advanced vehicle technology, including IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive. Passengers can interact conversationally with Olli and ask about:

  • Destinations, for example, “Olli, can you take me downtown?”
  • Specific vehicle functions  like: “How does this feature work?”
  • Time related questions like, “Are we there yet?”

In addition, Olli can make recommendations on local restaurants or historical sites. Olli is essentially designed to deliver interesting, entertaining, intuitive and interactive experiences for riders. How is IBM Watson is being used to improve the passenger experience? It is enabling the natural interaction with the vehicle via the cloud-based cognitive computing capability of IBM Watson IoT to analyze and learn from high volumes of transportation data produced by more than 30 sensors embedded throughout the vehicle. As the vehicle gets used, Local Motors plans to install more sensors and adjust them continuously as passenger needs and local preferences are identified.

The platform leverages four Watson developer APIs:

  • Speech to Text
  • Natural Language Classifier
  • Entity Extraction and
  • Text to Speech.

Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson Internet of Things, Commerce & Education commented that, “Cognitive computing provides incredible opportunities to create unparalleled, customized experiences for customers, taking advantage of the massive amounts of streaming data from all devices connected to the Internet of Things, including an automobile’s myriad sensors and systems. IBM is excited to work with Local Motors to infuse IBM Watson IoT cognitive computing capabilities into Olli, exploring the art of what’s possible in a world of self-driving vehicles and providing a unique, personalized experience for every passenger while helping to revolutionize the future of transportation for years to come.”

Having worked in the automotive industry in Detroit, it’s exciting to see new develops like this. It’s also exciting to see the application of cognitive computing in a real world situation. Using it for something like empowering self-driving vehicle is probably the best way to advance not only the self-driving cars but also the ability to deploy cognitive computing in a real world application. This looks to be the start of something very interesting that other brands in this space should be taking note of. Competition in the automotive is rapidly changing, from the provision of Cars-As-A-Service, with GM investing $500M in Lyft to cars that drive themselves. The Future is here.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering customer-facing applications that create amazing customer experiences.

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IBM Watson and Genesys Partner to Power Smarter Customer Experiences

IBM and Genesys (www.genesys.com), a leading provider of customer experience and contact center solutions, today announced a partnership that will transform how organizations of all sizes differentiate their customer experience by tapping the power of IBM Watson to transform the way brands engage clients across customer service, marketing and sales through data-driven insights and automated actions.

 WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?

The combination of the Watson Engagement Advisor with the Genesys Customer Experience Platform to is reportedly positioned to transform how organizations worldwide engage with their customers across customer experience touchpoints and channels of communication. This partnerships will allow Genesys to develop a learning system that can better serve consumers in their self-service applications and contact centers because The Watson Engagement Advisor enables natural language solution learning and adapts and understands market and organizational data quickly and easily, and gets progressively smarter with use, outcomes, and new pieces of information.

 WHAT IS A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE OF HOW THE WATSON ENGAGEMENT ADVISOR HELPS CUSTOMER SERVICE AGENTS?

The partnership will aid and assist a brand’s customer service agents to provide fast, data-driven answers, or simply sit directly in the hands of consumers via mobile device, chat session or online interaction. In one simple click, the solution’s “Ask Watson” feature can quickly help address customers’ questions, offer feedback to guide their purchase decisions, and troubleshoot their problems.

Because today’s consumers are a tweet, post, phone call, email or web chat away from reporting an issue or asking a question, and nearly half expect a response from businesses within a span of minutes, according to Edison Research, companies need to get a lot smarter about how they operationalize real-time customer service. Brand customer representatives who field these inquiries are often backlogged with time-consuming issues or questions that require detailed, accurate responses not often readily available to them – which can lead to an inconsistent customer experience. We’ve all been there – called a contact center and knew more about what we were asking than the company did. Perhaps this will help agents become closer to being able to provide real-time customer service.

DOES THIS MEAN KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT DATABASES ARE BEING REINVENTED? 

Contact center agents can gain access to a cloud-based Watson advisor that reads and uncover insights from millions of pages of data-driven content within seconds, from product guides to call transcripts. The result: cognitive computing that will augment a contact center agent’s knowledge and shift their time from searching for answers to discovering timely insights that solve problems, facilitate new opportunities, and improve the customer experience.  

WHAT IS A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE OF HOW THE WATSON ENGAGEMENT ADVISOR HELPS CUSTOMERS?

Genesys customers will gain the additional value of a Watson cloud-based advisor that thinks, learns and provides expert insights, while combing through millions of pages of data within seconds for customers and the contact center agents who serve them. As a result, Genesys customers can tap into the body of data that Watson understands and puts to work and use that knowledge to deliver more actionable and satisfying responses to customer inquiries in their self-service applications and contact centers.

HOW DOES THIS CONNECT A CUSTOMER AND A COMPANY TO PROVIDE BETTER SERVICE?

Imagine yourself as a bank customer, home from work and doing late night research on mortgage loans after your children are in bed. You may see a feature or rate that you like, but you have detailed questions that require expert advice. You can call, email or tweet the brand, but it’s after-hours. Many brands dont even pay attention to tweets much less have someone answering questions at night. Often that customer would not have access to a customer service agent until the next day.

Now envision the following experience: at any time of night, you can access a web chat advisor that has access to the bank’s data-driven content around mortgages, and through a natural language interface, understands your questions and history interacting with the bank. Not only will the application educate you on all things mortgage shopping, but it will also provide a formal offer that can be presented by a mortgage expert at a convenient time scheduled by you.

The idea is that with the Watson Ecosystem, Genesys customers will gain access to a cloud-based advisor that, within seconds, can read and uncover insights from millions of pages of data-driven content, from product guides to call transcripts to deliver exceptional customer experiences. The result: cognitive computing will augment agents’ knowledge and free their bandwidth from searching for answers, to creatively thinking of how they can further help a customer or even make a sale. This, in turn, will allow Genesys clients to deliver on their brand’s promise to the nearly 80 percent of consumers who say that the contact center is involved in defining the customer experience. SOURCE (IQPC)

 WHAT INDUSTRIES DOES THIS SOLUTION PROVIDE BETTER SERVICE FOR?

Leveraging its experience and deep domain expertise across industries including banking, insurance, and retail, Genesys will integrate access to the cloud-based Watson to its Customer Experience Platform empowering their customers with the ability to interact through a natural dialog leveraging Watson’s understanding and intelligent natural language response. Now consumers can tap into Watson to gain insight and answers faster than possible with knowledge management solutions.

HOW WILL THIS IBM AND GENESYS PARTNERSHIP AFFECT SELF-SERVICE?

The desire for self-service is there – both from the company’s point of view (reduce call volume, etc…) and customers are tired of calling into a contact center only to be disappointed. But while self-service has been a leading “idea” it rarely delivers an experience that doesn’t garner the customer to try to get help in another channel, often the phone channel. This defeats the purpose of self-service and reduces the first contact resolution — one of the most important indicators of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The IBM Watson and Genesys solution provides organizations with the ability to identify when a customer needs to speak with a customer experience representative, rather than continuing in a self-service application. For example, if a customer reaches a point in conversation during a self-service interaction that could prompt either customer churn or a timely sales opportunity, Watson’s knowledge of pre-defined business guidelines allows the solution to signal when it is time to transfer the conversation to an agent.

The customer is not arbitrarily transferred to just any agent among the potentially hundreds who work at a call center. The solution pinpoints the exact agent to handle a customer’s inquiry, based on specific factors such as an agent’s experience, channel used, training and even license to discuss or sell a given product and then transfers the customer with the accompanying detail of the self-service interaction. This could mean a shift to reducing call volume and increasing first contact resolution – if it works as indicated. Case studies will be interesting to hear how brands are actually putting it to use.

WHAT DOES THE CEO OF GENESYS THINK ABOUT THE NEW PARTNERSHIP?

Paul Segre, President and CEO, Genesys says, “This combined solution delivers sophisticated yet simple to manage knowledge capabilities to transform self-service systems and human interactions into positive brand impressions. With Watson, our new solution provides a transformational customer experience with a natural and informed transition from self service to agent assistance to yield better business outcomes.

WHAT DOES THE MIKE RHODIN, SVP OF IBM WATSON GROUP THINK ABOUT THE NEW PARTNERSHIP?

Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson Group says, “By tapping into IBM Watson’s cognitive intelligence, Genesys is infusing a personalized assistant into every customer interaction. Customer engagement is a natural fit for Watson, empowering brands with information driven insights. This is a key example of how a new era of cognitive computing applications will transform industries and professions and revolutionize how decisions are made.”

About Genesys

Genesys is the market leader in multi-channel customer experience (CX) and contact center solutions in the cloud and on-premises. We help brands of all sizes make great CX great business. The Genesys Customer Experience Platform powers optimal customer journeys consistently across all touchpoints, channels and interactions to turn customers into brand advocates. Genesys is trusted by over 4,500 customers in 80 countries to orchestrate more than 100 million digital and voice interactions each day. Visit us at www.genesys.com or call us at +1.888.436.3797.

 

IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing

Three years after its victory on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!, IBM Watson has evolved to represent a new era of computing, where by 2017 it is predicted that 10 percent of computers will be able to learn as Watson does. Today, Watson is no longer just the world’s most famous game-playing computer. IBM has put Watson to work in various industries. In healthcare, IBM is co-developing an application with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and partnering with WellPoint, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. Additionally, IBM has partnered with numerous colleges and universities across the country to teach Watson capabilities and cognitive computing technology to the next generation workforce. In 2013, IBM announced the introduction of the IBM Watson Engagement Advisor, the first Watson offering designed to improve customer experience, putting the power of Watson within reach of everyone.

IBM’s mission to spark a new generation of Watson-powered apps is just the latest milestone in developing cognitive system offerings that help its clients and partners succeed.

For more information on IBM Watson, please visit www.ibmwatson.com

@DrNatalie

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