October 25, 2012
Nuance's Nina Set To Take Virtual Assistance Beyond Siri
|Nuance, the company that powers Apple’s Siri launched its own Siri-like voice-powered “virtual assistant” recently that developers can add to their mobile apps. Nina uses the company’s speech recognition technologies and combines them with voice biometrics and an understanding of natural language and the user’s intent to “deliver an interactive user experience that not only understands what is said, but also can identify who is saying it.”|
Nuance is also known for their popular voice control software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking.
Now Nuance’s new voice-based agent app, Nuance Interactive Natural Assistant or Nina may represent an even bigger transformation. Nuance describes themselves as “focused on developing the most human, natural intuitive ways to use your voice to take command of information.”
Siri is cool. But Nina may represent a true leap forward in man-machine learning and artificial intelligence. Bruce Rogers of Forbes recently spoke with Gary Clayton, Nuance’s Chief Creative Officer about his role in bringing Nina to life and his thoughts on how Nina is already bringing a welcome change into how businesses put the tool he helped to create to work to better serve their customers.
The major innovation behind Nina is its capability to retain context over time. People can interact with Nina, the virtual assistant for customer service apps, and carry on a complex set of instructions within the same conversation flow.
According to Nuance, Nina is the first virtual assistant to understand what is said, and who is saying it. Nina combines Nuance speech recognition, Text-to-Speech (TTS), voice biometrics, and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology hosted in the cloud to deliver an interactive user experience that not only understands what is said, but also can identify who is saying it.
Its artificial intelligence learns and anticipates the user’s interests and requests over time—using natural language understanding. For example: a person can ask Nina what their checking account balance is, then a person can ask Nina to show them the payments over $100 and then for the month of August, or one could go through the bill paying process by simply stating “I would like to pay the balance on my cable bill on Tuesday from my checking account.”
People communicate through context, not through complex, detailed step-by-step instructions that have always been the hallmark of human to computer interaction. Imagine calling your insurance company and having a pleasant and successful interaction with an always friendly voice.
Nina can also interact across devices and applications, so that customers can choose to connect by voice, mobile device or web page or any combination and still retain the context of the interaction. In fact, one such enlightened financial services company USAA, is implementing Nina to create a better customer experience. “USAA is extraordinarily responsive to their customers; one of the very best in their field and represent a gold standard in managing the customer experience,” said Clayton. “People like to anthropomorphize technology,” stated Clayton.
“Nina is a watershed innovation for the automated customer service industry, not only because it brings the virtual assistant directly into an app, but because it raises the bar through its level of interactive dialog and language understanding,” said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of the Nuance Enterprise Division. “Nina provides our customers a major competitive differentiator by enabling more successful self-service through their mobile apps.
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