AI APPLICATIONS

IBM Watson Launches New AI and Automation Features to Help Businesses Transform Customer Service

IBM | September 09, 2021

IBM today announced the launch of new AI and automation capabilities in IBM Watson Assistant designed to make it easier for businesses to create enhanced customer service experiences across any channel – phone, web, SMS and any messaging platform. This includes a new collaboration with IntelePeer, a leading Communications Platform-as-a-Service provider, to set up and test a voice agent, and a new agent app designed to enable a seamless hand-off to a live agent while maintaining the conversation's context.

Virtual assistants are gaining popularity due to ongoing improvements in natural language processing (NLP) and automation. According to IBM's 2021 Global AI Adoption Index1, 52 percent of global IT professionals surveyed report that their company is using or considering NLP solutions to improve customer experiences.

IBM is adding new features in Watson Assistant, the company's intelligent virtual agent, to help businesses leverage AI and NLP to address customer issues on first contact.  Watson Assistant is designed to more quickly provide customers with relevant answers over the phone, SMS, web, or any messaging platform, and seamlessly hand-off to a live agent when additional support is needed. The new features include:
  • Add voice capabilities to Watson Assistant: The IntelePeer Atmosphere Communications Platform-as-a-Service is now available as an add-on in Watson Assistant so that users with a Plus and Enterprise plan can set up voice capabilities and a new phone number for a virtual agent quickly. If businesses already have an existing contact center phone system, IntelePeer can also provide the connection between Watson Assistant and the existing phone system using industry standards. Using IntelePeer, Watson Assistant is now designed to connect to nearly every major contact center platform that uses the SIP protocol in as little as half an hour with no coding.
  • Help customers resolve issues on first contact with Watson Assistant Search Skill: Watson Assistant's Search Skill feature now includes short-answer retrieval, which is based on an innovative question-answering (QA) system from IBM Research. This enables the virtual agent to return an answer — in a few words — from longer sentences or passages and provide the context on where the answer came from. FAQ extraction is also now generally available in Search Skill. FAQ extraction is designed to help administrators keep the virtual agent up to date with broader sources of information, without having to constantly make manual updates.
  • Facilitate a seamless hand-off with the new agent app: Watson Assistant's new agent app feature is designed to help customer service agents pick up with a customer right where the virtual agent left off. When a customer calls in, IBM's speech detection models, which are designed to provide more accurate transcriptions out-of-the-box, deliver a near real-time transcription of the conversation. When the hand-off occurs, the new agent app provides the customer service agent with the latest transcript right on their screen. This means customers don't have to repeat their questions and agents are empowered to resolve issues even more quickly.

"One critical challenge facing nearly every business today is the need to better communicate with their customers and employees across all channels," said Daniel Hernandez, General Manager of Data and AI, IBM. "We're continuously delivering new innovations in natural language processing, automation and advancing responsible AI, and building a strong, open ecosystem with partners like IntelePeer to help businesses transform customer care with Watson Assistant."

State of Rhode Island Adopted IBM Watson Assistant to Transform its Contact Center

In addition to the new features announced today, IBM also announced that organizations of all sizes have turned to Watson Assistant to help them address customer problems in the face of rising call volumes.

For example, when new COVID-19 cases began to surge last year, the State of Rhode Island realized fielding hundreds of thousands of calls from concerned residents was unsustainable. The State needed to improve its engagement with residents with more efficient processes and timely updates to rapidly changing COVID information.

To address untenable workloads, the State turned to Watson Assistant to address the engagement processes with residents and to improve the support with the contact center. IBM Global Business Services (GBS) and the State of Rhode Island launched a virtual agent, "RHODA," that uses Watson Assistant to answer questions about COVID-19 in both English and Spanish. Since October 2020, RHODA has had more than 100,000 conversations on topics related to test scheduling, test results, travel restrictions, and vaccine eligibility. In addition, IBM GBS integrated Watson Assistant into the IVR for Vaccine Appointment Scheduling to help enable an improved experience for individuals that needed assistance with appointment scheduling.

"The pandemic slammed my team at the State of Rhode Island Department of Health and we quickly realized that our outdated systems and smaller call centers were completely unequipped to handle the influx of phone calls from concerned citizens, forcing us to pull staff from all directions within the department," said Kristine Campagna, COO of COVID Operations, Rhode Island Department of Health. "With IBM's wealth of experience in AI, we were able to work together to seamlessly integrate Watson Assistant into our call centers, helping us provide thousands of citizens in a matter of days with information about COVID-19."

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SOFTWARE

Nextech AR Launches WooCommerce App Marking a Major Expansion for ARitize 3D and its Web 3.0 Offerings

Nextech AR | July 07, 2022

Nextech AR Solutions Corp. , a Metaverse Company and leading provider of augmented reality (“AR”) experience technologies and services is pleased to announce the Company's ARitize 3D WooCommerce app is now live and available. With this app going live, Nextech AR’s ARitize 3D SaaS offering for ecommerce extends the Company's 3D model creation services to WooCommerce merchants. This is a major expansion opportunity for Nextech AR’s ARitize 3D model making business for ecommerce as WooCommerce powers approximately 30% of all online stores. “The launch of the WooCommerce app is a major milestone for Nextech AR and our ARitize 3D modeling solution. The WooCommerce integration provides the Company with another major distribution channel, and allows our ground-breaking technology to be placed in front of millions of additional ecommerce merchants. Our ARitize 3D offering has experienced strong growth in the first half of 2022, and with this new product launch we expect an acceleration in Q3 and Q4 as the ecommerce industry shifts to Web 3.0 and emerging digital technologies.” He continued, “We have already integrated with Shopify and BigCommerce earlier this year, and with the addition of WooCommerce we are positioning ourselves to be the 3D model supplier for the entire ecommerce ecosystem, which is massive. The positioning of these apps on these major ecommerce platforms will allow Nextech AR to be front and center as the global demand for 3D and AR solutions expands.” Nextech AR CEO Evan Gappelberg Nextech AR already powers some of the world's most successful B2C and B2B brands, and has what it believes is the most powerful, scalable, AI powered 3D/AR technology in the market. The Company is already working with large retailers including Kohl’s, Lighting Plus New Zealand, Pier 1, Kmart Australia, CB2, NAPA Auto Parts, Crate and Barrel, Habitt Furniture, Surplus Furniture, Staubli, William Wood Design, Kindred Custom Snowboards, Decor Metal, MGI Golf, Artika, Spinel, Salamander Paddle Gear, Head, Bleems, Spotlight Solar, Artography and more. Through these retailers, thousands of 3D models are being shown to tens of thousands of consumers. With the new launch of this low cost 3D modeling self-serve app with WooCommerce, the Company believes that it will continue to expand its reach to small and medium sized ecommerce websites. With this powerful new app launch, Nextech now seamlessly provides WooCommerce merchants with the software needed to generate as much as a 94% increase in click through rates and a 40% reduction in returns online, with a frictionless one click integration for 3D model making. Nextech AR’s ARitize 3D has already been integrated with Shopify and BigCommerce earlier this year. As demand for 3D models rises exponentially, the Company also plans to integrate with other ecommerce platforms, continuing to rollout its third party SaaS integration and providing its ARitize 3D modeling solution to millions of ecommerce merchants globally. The app will provide self-serve access to Nextech’s proprietary AI-powered solution for 3D/AR ecommerce to all businesses who use WooCommerce to power their ecommerce business. Implementing 3D/AR has already proven many benefits to ecommerce businesses, including increased engagement, increased conversions and reduced returns. ARitize 3D makes the adoption of 3D/AR simple, convenient and affordable for WooCommerce merchants, with the ability to subscribe and manage the app themselves from their WooCommerce merchant account. Nextech’s pricing plans are much more affordable than other 3D modeling service providers, purchasing expensive equipment or hiring artists for individual models. The Company believes that this is the AR industry's first true self-service AR SaaS platform which offers scalability, affordability, ease of use, and high quality 3D/AR models. With Nextech AR’s artificial intelligence powered technology now integrated with WooCommerce, any merchant can create 3D/AR models in 3 simple steps. Install the ARitize 3D Marketplace App Initiate the creation of 3D models of your products Publish engaging 3D models on product pages With ARitize 3D, WooCommerce businesses can transform their ecommerce stores into dynamic virtual 3D showrooms, allow customers to see products from every angle and position them using AR to visualize them in their own space prior to purchasing. This is an exciting, immersive shopping experience that keeps customers more engaged, better informed and helps brands stand out from their competition. About ARitize 3D ARitize 3D is your one-stop-shop AR solution with automated 3D model creation at an unbeatable price. Our Artificial Intelligence (AI) will turn your existing 2D product images into high-quality 3D and Augmented Reality experiences. It's fast, it's easy and it will transform your ecommerce website! 3D content creation is included in monthly hosting fees. Our AI powered platform is a game changer! What can 3D/AR do for you? Increase conversions, reduce product returns, increase customer engagement, and attract more customers.

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FUTURE TECH

Tonic.ai Announces New Integration with Snowflake

Tonic.ai | June 02, 2022

Tonic.ai, the San Francisco-based company pioneering data mimicking and de-identification, has announced an integration with Snowflake, the Data Cloud company. The new integration will enable joint Tonic and Snowflake customers to build applications in the Snowflake Data Cloud with realistic, de-identified data. Joint customers will also be able to tokenize data at scale, and ensure regulatory compliance. Tonic.ai is the leader in fake data generation for software development and testing. The Tonic platform provides privacy guarantees while rapidly equipping developers with the data they need to do their best work. By seamlessly integrating data de-identification, subsetting, and synthesis into modern CI/CD pipelines, Tonic helps customers shorten development cycles, eliminate cumbersome data pipeline overhead, and guarantee the privacy of their data. “Our partnership with Snowflake will provide joint customers with a streamlined solution that connects natively and is specifically architected to scale at pace with sizable datasets. “This new integration will equip users with the ability to create secure, fully functional versions of their data in order to achieve objectives tied to data minimization and regulatory compliance.” Ian Coe, CEO of Tonic.ai “Snowflake is committed to providing our customers with powerful partner tools to help them achieve full data compliance and continue to build applications securely,” said Tarik Dwiek, Head of Technology Alliances of Snowflake. “The new integration with Tonic.ai will enable our joint customers to further increase data privacy and equip their development and QA teams with useful and secure test data.” About Tonic.ai Tonic.ai empowers developers while protecting customer privacy by enabling companies to create safe, synthetic versions of their data for use in software development and testing. Founded in 2018, with offices in San Francisco, Atlanta, and New York, the company is pioneering enterprise tools for database subsetting, de-identification, and synthesis. Thousands of developers use data generated with Tonic on a daily basis to build their products faster in industries as wide ranging as healthcare, financial services, logistics, edtech, and e-commerce. Working with customers like eBay, The Motley Fool, Flexport, and Everlywell, Tonic.ai innovates to advance their goal of advocating for the privacy of individuals while enabling companies to do their best work.

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AI APPLICATIONS

SmartCow Launches AIoT Device Management Platform to Simplify Deployment and Centralized Management of Edge AI Systems

SmartCow | June 21, 2022

SmartCow, an AI engineering company specializing in video analytics, AIoT devices, and smart city solutions today introduced its new AIoT Device Management Platform, FleetTrackr, that offers simplified deployment and centralized management of edge AI systems through a hybrid-cloud service. Key applications include smart cities using city surveillance and traffic management with thousands of AIoT devices connected simultaneously; smart manufacturing using AI for inventory management; large-scale surveillance and security deployments; and smart retail edge deployments. "Fleet management software will revolutionize companies' ability to digitally transform their business operations, and FleetTrackr is at the forefront of speciality AIoT device management software. "We recognize the need for responsive, flexible, and remotely-operated AI solutions as demand increases for efficient, smart technology." Ravi Kiran, SmartCow CEO Fleet management software is crucial for effective device management and large-scale AI deployments, whether that be for retailers building intelligent stores, or hospitals using AI to improve patient care and administrative workflow. Fleets of IoT devices need to be capable of running unattended with the ability to be reprogrammed with newer versions of device kernels or security updates. Instead of allocating unnecessary resources to reprogram these devices with new software updates, FleetTrackr comes with its own Firmware-Over-The-Air (FOTA) functionality that allows users to provision, manage, maintain, monitor, and update thousands of devices, entirely over-the-air. FleetTrackr's 24/7 remote management includes integrated security and privacy and offers a 30 percent reduction in maintenance, time, and labor costs. "A large number of heterogeneous devices forming an IoT network should be capable of running unattended at all times and reprogramming a group of devices is a challenging task when they cannot be done remotely. FleetTrackr allows administrators to update all the devices in a desired network with new software without spending weeks planning and executing deployment plans," continued Kiran. "FleetTrackr enables users to not only identify problems with large fleets of devices, but to perform software updates as well as backup and restore firmware when a device turns out to be faulty, making the experience seamless, efficient, and secure." The FleetTrackr Unified Dashboard The FleetTrackr Unified Dashboard (UI) enables users and teams to remotely manage tens of thousands of IoT devices that are in the field. The UI dashboard provides solutions for device management, software management, and issue management. Users can upgrade their AI solutions, add or delete applications, update system firmware and software, streamline operations and administrative tasks, and monitor the health metrics of devices spread over vast distances from a single control panel. About SmartCow Established in 2016, SmartCow is an end-to-end AI engineering company that builds hardware and software products for AI applications used by the defense industry, in smart cities and industry 4.0. Strategic partners include NVIDIA and PNY. The company is located in Malta, India and Taiwan and is expanding to Italy, France and Singapore.

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FUTURE TECH

Absolute Software Announces New Partnerships with Leading ISVs Leveraging Absolute Application Persistence-as-a-Service

Absolute Software | June 07, 2022

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