FierceFinanceIT recently published an article by Renee Caruthers about Kasisto, the SRI spin-off that provides a virtual assistant targeted at financial institutions. This development is in line with what experts were predicting at this year’s SpeechTek; namely the growing specialization of intelligent assistants and supporting technologies.
Kasisto is built specifically for the banking industry. According to Caruthers’ article, Kasisto can currently support 75 banking use cases and these will be expanded to include additional scenarios based on customer requests. Dror Oren, vice president of product at Kasisto, offered a sample of some of the supported uses cases.
These include answering questions such as the difference between your posted and available balance, asking about a specific transaction that should have posted to your account, or asking how much you spent at one particular store. All of these use cases sound like an expansion of the capabilities currently available in most automated 24/7 banking IVR systems. With Kasisto, the customer will be able to ask questions in a more free form, natural way and get access to the same type of reporting features available from online banking.
Kasisto will also have the ability to perform more advanced services, such as processing transactions. There’s a demo video on the Kasisto website that shows a person using Kasisto to pay his credit card bill. He simply instructs Kasisto to pay his current balance from his checking account. Another supported transaction is asking to dispute a transaction. These types of automated services are already available today, but including them into a seamless intelligent assistant interaction will more closely mimic a true human call agent experience.
Oren is also quoted in the article as saying that Kasisto can support internal banking business functions, such as enabling a banking executive to pass signature limits on to another person when he or she is on vacation.
Intelligent assistants can be much more effective if their universe is narrowly focused on a specific domain. Banking is a good example of a subject area that’s well contained, making it easier for the assistant to understand the context of questions and provide good answers. Kasisto can hand users off to live agents if it gets in trouble, though. Only time will tell if the technology ever improves to the point where people actually prefer speaking to “a machine.”