Today, Google announced that it has signed on Verizon. It will thus be the newest customer of its Google Cloud Contact Center AI service. The goal of the service is to bring recognition of natural language to the often-inscrutable phone menus that many companies use today (disclaimer: TechCrunch is part of the Verizon Media Group). That is a significant win for Google. Nevertheless, it is also a change for the Google Cloud team in highlighting some of the work it has done in this area. You could also note that the Contact Center AI product is an excellent example of the strategy of Google Clouds of packaging up many of its disparate technologies into products that solve specific problems.
Thomas Kurain is Google Cloud CEO. He had an interview with TechCrunch, ahead of yesterday’s announcement. Kurain said that a big part of their approach is that machine learning has enormous power. Nevertheless, it is hard for people to accept. Kurain says that you must tell people that here are our natural language processing tools, here is speech-to-text and text-to-speech, here is speech recognition and why don’t you write your bit neural network to process all that.
Nevertheless, as Kurain claims, very few companies can do that well. They thought that they could create a collection of those features, and then they could bring that as a solution to people to solve specific business problems. It is much easier for them to do that, overall. That is a big part of their strategy to take their expertise in artificial intelligence and machine intelligence. Afterward, they can build domain-specific solutions for several customers.
Google and Verizon
Two years ago, the company first announced Contact Center AI at its Cloud Next Conference. Last November, it became generally available. The promise is that this will allow businesses building to build smarter contact center solutions, which will rely on speech recognition, providing customers with personalized support. Meanwhile, it will also allow human agents to focus on more complex issues. Google Cloud’s Dialogflow tool drives a lot of that for building conversational experiences around multiple channels.
Kurain said that their view is that artificial intelligence technology has reached a stage of maturity. Thus, it can now be meaningfully applied to solve business problems that customers are facing. One of the most important things that companies need to do is differentiate the customer experience through convenient and helpful service. So, especially during such a period that we are all in, such an endeavor has ever been more critical.
Bots, and especially text-based bots, went through a trough of disillusionment not too long ago. Nevertheless, Kurian argues that we have reached an entirely different stage. Now, those tools can now provide real business value. What is different now is that a tool like Contact Center Artificial Intelligence has more advanced natural language processing capabilities and can handle multiple questions at the same time and maintain the context of the conversation.
The first generation of chatbots did achieve something. However, they did not do much because they thought that all questions could be answered with one sentence. Human beings do not have a conversation in such a manner.
Let see how successful the Google Project will be.
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