Cisco opens up its MindMeld voice AI platform

    • “Cisco announced Wednesday that it’s releasing MindMeld under an open-source Apache 2.0 license. The move is meant to lower the adoption barrier for enterprises looking to add voice features to their applications.
    • Since acquiring MindMeld, Cisco has integrated the platform its Webex video conferencing platform. The company last month launched a feature called Webex Assistant the enables workers to use voice commands to join virtual meeting rooms, call colleagues and control the volume settings on their microphone.
    • ‘By making this open source software and companion documentation available to partners and developers, Cisco is committed to helping more enterprises find success building and deploying a wide range of conversational applications,’ Karthik Raghunathan”
  • https://siliconangle.com/2019/05/10/cisco-opens-mindmeld-voice-ai-platform/
  • Bank of America bets digital transformation can offset rising expenses elsewhere – ZDNet

    Jackpot…this article on Bank of America is a goldmine of data for mobile, voice and digital. Use these numbers in your next business case pitch for capital funding.

    • “The bank said that it ended its first quarter with 27.1 million active mobile banking users, up 9 percent from a year ago, and digital sales were 27 percent of all consumer banking revenue.
    • The bank said that it ended its first quarter with 27.1 million active mobile banking users, up 9 percent from a year ago, and digital sales were 27 percent of all consumer banking revenue.
    • In addition, Bank of America said it had 5.4 million Zelle users, up 2.7 times from launch in June 2017.
    • Bank of America also recently launched Erica, an artificial intelligence platform that has 6.3 million users. 
    • 77% of our deposit transactions are now down through digital means.
    • Merrill Lynch, which has 60 percent of clients using an online or mobile platform across the company.”

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.zdnet.com/google-amp/article/bank-of-america-bets-digital-transformation-can-offset-rising-expenses-elsewhere/

    Alexa skills top 80,000 after a big Alexa-powered holiday season

    • “Amazon had also said last month that more than 100 million Alexa devices had been sold to date, including the Echo Dot and other Echo-branded devices, along with those from third-parties.
    • Google, of course, quickly responded with a note that its Assistant AI will be on a billion devices by the end of January.
    • A new number Amazon shared yesterday was that the number of voice applications built for Alexa had now topped 80,000 worldwide. That’s up from the 70,000 skills Amazon was touting back in December.
    • The company said in November it now has more than 10,000 employees working on Alexa, as a point of reference. But it’s challenged in building up a knowledge base of questions and answers — something Google has worked on since the launch of its Knowledge Graph in 2012.”

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/techcrunch.com/2019/02/01/alexa-skills-top-80000-after-a-big-alexa-powered-holiday-season/amp/

    How Amazon’s retail revolution is changing the way we shop – theverge.com

    Illustration by Aaron Robinson for The Verge

    Today, thousands of products integrate with the company’s Alexa platform to make use of its voice search and query capabilities. Just as it once foresaw e-commerce, streaming, and cloud computing as the future of the internet, Amazon saw AI as not just something that could live within the smartphone — as Apple established with Siri and Google with its Assistant — but also in the home.

    As it stands today, Amazon employs more than half a million people, more so than any other technology company in the country and second only to Walmart in the US. But the eventual result of its investments in robotics and AI is that technology’s biggest and fast-growing workforce could see that growth start to slow and, perhaps years down the line, even shrink as robots tackle ever more complicated tasks. In the process, the company may develop robots for use outside its fulfillment centers. Amazon has already changed how we shop and, by extension, how we live our lives. Its next big step could be changing how we work.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2018/10/23/17970466/amazon-prime-shopping-behavior-streaming-alexa-minimum-wage

    AI eCommerce News – Sept 21st

    The second reason chatbots and voice assistants are likely to make notable change is that we’re seeing businesses looking to maximize their cost-efficiency by streamlining their operations. Both of these factors combined explain the rise in popularity of AI bots providing the experience of a personal assistant, be it a chatbot or a voice assistant.
    Last Christmas, millions of people purchased Alexa products, and sales of Echo speakers increased ninefold. Currently, one in five people would consider making purchases through a bot and would spend an average of £500 ($598.34) using AI to make purchases. Gartner predicts that AI bots will power more than four in five customer service interactions (85 percent) by 2020.
    Voice-activated virtual assistants are present in a lot of devices and while their functions overlap, they all have their own isolated and defined ecosystems. But a collaboration between Amazon and Microsoft will not only change that, it will potentially have a big impact on the future of eCommerce.
    The collaboration between the companies will allow Alexa and Cortana to talk to one another, giving Windows 10 users the capacity to access Alexa’s skills by giving voice commands to Cortana. Meanwhile, Alexa will be able to assist Amazon Echo users to stay on top of all the appointments and reminders that Cortana has gathered.
    It’s just the nature of the business. With all of the excitement surrounding innovative solutions and emerging platforms and hardware, tech developers and consumers, alike, are constantly looking ahead. However, constantly living in the future tense somewhat blinds us to the growth that occurs in certain avenues like ecommerce. According to a study by the International Trade Administration, ecommerce is expected to grow by 30.7 percent in 2017, which is an incredible figure when you think about the scope of the industry.
    The ecommerce giant has been ramping up its connected devices portfolio ever since it outed the original Echo smart speaker in November 2014 — a device we dubbed “a tad baffling, but also intriguing” at the time.
    The speaker went on to become something of a surprise hit for Amazon, whose prior mobile hardware forays had badly flopped. And while it has never broken out Echo sales figures, it’s clear the idea of a smart speaker has excited huge interest from industry, dovetailing with rising hype around voice interfaces as the next big user interaction shift, as computing becomes increasingly embedded into the environment where it might not be viable (or desirable) to have lots of screens.

    AI technology can also help combine the efficiency often associated with online browsing with the immediate access physical stores provide. For example, groceries can utilize mobile apps that would allow clients to check what they need online, scan a barcode, order the products and check them out without having to go through the checkout line. This type of efficiency allows busy shoppers to finish their task with no interruptions and will undoubtedly keep them going back to that store.