Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for June 15th, 2017

LivePerson, IBM Watson Offer Combined Platform For AI, Bots To Advance Customer Care

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LivePerson, Inc., a leading provider of cloud mobile and online business messaging solutions, and IBM have announced LiveEngage with Watson, the first global, enterprise-scale, out-of-the-box integration of Watson-powered bots with human agents.

The new offering combines IBM’s Watson Virtual Agent technology with LivePerson’s LiveEngage platform, allowing brands to rapidly and easily deploy conversational bots that get smarter with each interaction, and lets consumers message those brands from their smartphone — via the brand’s app, SMS, Facebook Messenger, or even the brand’s mobile site — instead of having to call an 800 number.

The customer care sector has lagged behind consumers in terms of technology adoption, still requiring most interactions to be conducted by analog voice call. In fact, customers make more than 270 billion phone calls to customer support lines each year.

This legacy approach has not kept pace with the consumer move to smartphones and messaging apps, now the dominant way consumers communicate digitally. Forrester’s 2017 Customer Service Trends report revealed that “Customers of all ages are moving away from using the phone to using self-service — web and mobile self-service, communities, virtual agents, automated chat dialogs, or chatbots — as a first point of contact with a company” and, according to Dimension Data, while there has been a 12 percent decline in phone volume, there has been growth in every digital channel.

LiveEngage with Watson helps meet that demand – allowing consumers to message large brands from their smartphones and instantly get answers from AI-powered bots, with human care representatives brought in seamlessly, in real-time, if a bot is not able to resolve an issue satisfactorily.

The move will help enable millions of consumers to avoid the frustrating experience of legacy, voice-based customer support, which requires them to dial an 800 number, wait on hold, then talk to an agent, and often multiple agents over multiple phone calls.

LiveEngage with Watson gives brands the ability to customize bots based on their own unique corpuses of data — from product manuals to customer service guidelines — creating a personalized interaction that can be up and running as quickly as in a few days. These bots can be informational, personalized, and transactional — quickly addressing the most commonly raised customer service issues such as taking bill payments and finding contact information — while bringing in human expertise when necessary to drive effective customer engagement.

“Providing customer care over 800 numbers is not just extremely costly — it is a poor and antiquated experience for consumers,” says Robert LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson. “Nobody likes waiting on hold. This partnership between IBM and LivePerson marries the technology and services to solve the problem at scale. We’re working with top brands in the telecoms and banking space right now to get this done, moving customer care away from costly, analog voice calls with frustrating hold times and toward consumer-friendly mobile messaging. We’re thrilled to form this partnership. No other company but IBM brings this sophistication of cognitive technology and breadth of supporting consulting and implementation services.”

As business decisions continue to be made with the help of AI, customer care will be no different. IBM Global Business Services, the company’s consulting unit, is providing a set of strategy and implementation services to help companies integrate LiveEngage with Watson as part of their broader business transformation.

By building experiences that learn, and adapt, into core processes, companies can deliver better engagement with customers. Together with LivePerson, IBM plans to operate a Cognitive Care Center of Excellence to help enable brands to drive this change at scale. 

You can learn more about IBM Watson here.

Written by turbotodd

June 15, 2017 at 3:31 pm

AIG, IBM, and Standard Chartered Bank Deliver First Multinational Insurance Policy Powered by Blockchain

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American International Group Inc., IBM and Standard Chartered Bank plc announced they have successfully piloted the first multinational, “smart contract” based insurance policy using blockchain, a distributed ledger technology.

 

The blockchain solution creates a new level of trust and transparency in the underwriting process, enabling AIG and Standard Chartered to deliver multinational insurance more efficiently. Coordinating management and placement of multiple insurance policies across multiple countries is highly complex. The pilot solution was built by IBM and is based on Hyperledger Fabric — a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation.

Working together, AIG, Standard Chartered and IBM converted a multinational, controlled master policy written in the UK, and three local policies in the US, Singapore and Kenya, into a “smart contract” that provides a shared view of policy data and documentation in real-time. This also allows visibility into coverage and premium payment at the local and master level as well as automated notifications to network participants following payment events.  

The pilot also demonstrates the ability to include third parties in the network, such as brokers, auditors and other stakeholders, giving them a customized view of policy and payment data and documentation. 

Rob Schimek, CEO of Commercial, AIG said: “Our pilot proves blockchain has a powerful role to play in the future of insurance. Any technology, including blockchain, that can increase trust and transparency for an industry whose pillars are built on that, should be fully explored. We’re excited to be delivering innovation that matters to our clients — and co-developing key components of this new technology together.”

The three parties chose to execute this initiative in one of the most complicated areas of Commercial Insurance – multinational risk transfer – to better understand blockchain’s potential to reduce friction and increase trust in other areas of the insurance value chain.

How it works:

  • Blockchain, an immutable, security rich and transparent shared digital ledger provides a single view of truth across all participants while simultaneously providing selective visibility to participants based on their credentials.
  • It provides the ability to record and track events and associated payments in each country related to the insurance policy.
  • No one party can modify, delete or even append any record without the consensus from others on the network.
  • This level of transparency helps reduce fraud and errors, as well as the need for the parties to contact each other to view policy and payment data and the status of policies. 

Emily Jenner, Head of Insurable Operational Risk at Standard Chartered, said: “As a global bank we have to ensure consistent, trustworthy and secure financial transactions, be that as part of our business or as customers ourselves. By creating a process by which we can arrange multinational insurance contracts through blockchain we not only have transaction security but contract certainty across multiple business locations.”

The multinational “master policy” is written out of London and for the pilot, three local policies were chosen that cover the US, Kenya and Singapore. These three jurisdictions were chosen because the US is a large and complex market, Singapore is a growth market for Standard Chartered, and Kenya has a specific regulatory requirement, known as “cash before cover” which means that cover must be paid for before it is valid.

“We chose these three territories because of their importance to Standard Chartered and also because of their regulatory complexity, so that we could fully test how blockchain technology might make these contracts work more efficiently,” said Standard Chartered’s Jenner.

You can learn more about IBM Blockchain solutions here.

Written by turbotodd

June 15, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Posted in 2017, blockchain, ibm, insurance

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