Posted by Anirudh Bhardwaj | Last Updated: 02-Aug-18
The AI industry is so broad and new innovations are happening almost every day, making it hard for you to stay in
loopwith all the happenings in this technological domain. Following the increasing popularity of Virtual Assistants, it’s now time for the Virtual Agents to steal the show. Apparently, the tech giant, Google is working on a new AI venture that aims to replace some of the work in call centers with the AI poweredbots known as Virtual Agents. The company recently confirmed this at the Cloud Next Conference that took place on 24th July in San Francisco.
Google is allegedly working on this new AI venture in partnership with several other companies like Cisco and Vonage to develop a new
AI poweredsoftware called Contact Center AI. Once completed, the software will be installed at several call centers in the US to run initial trials. As reported by Google, a Virtual Agent will be the first to take the call when a customer routs to a call center. The AI will enable the Virtual Agent to sound like humanrather than sounding like a Virtual Assistant like Siri or Cortana. However, if it finds it hard to answer the queries of a customer, it will automatically transfer the call to a human executive.
Virtual Assistants vs Virtual Agents
We all know what Virtual Assistants are, right? In fact, they have now gone mainstream and many of us are using these in our everyday lives. Siri, Cortana, Alexa and OK Google are just some examples of virtual assistants. As a matter of fact, there are dozens of similar apps on both Android and iOS platforms that are just as powerful as any of these. But the question is, “what are Virtual Agents and what makes them different from the Virtual Assistants like Siri, Alexa
andCortana?” Read further to find out.
A Virtual Agent is more like a Conversational bot that engages the user
intoa human-like conversation. It not just bluntly answers the questions that match the supported voice commands, a Virtual Agent strives to understand the nature of problem behind every question and then comes up with the most appropriate answers depending on the situation. It also knows when it’s time to dig deeper into discussions and when to transfer callto a human executive. So we see that the distinction between the two is self-explanatory. A Virtual Assistant can be used by anyone, literally anyone who owns a smart device. For a better understanding, you may like to consider a Virtual Assistant as your own pocket buddy, who stays with you all the time. It helps you with your general queries and performs some simple tasks to save your time.
On the other hand, a Virtual Agent is primarily meant for dealing with customer support and responds to the queries of the customers regarding any issue they might be facing with their hardware or software. For a more clear image, you can’t own a Virtual Agent as an individual. Only a company can have a Virtual Agent for its support team to respond to the queries of its end-users.
You may also like How Restaurant Training Programs Are Using Virtual Reality.
The Technology Behind Google’s Virtual Agent
The Cloud Engineer at Google, Fei Fei Li reveals that the new AI software shares its underlying technology with Google Duplex which happens to be an AI service that emulates a human voice to call hotels and restaurants to book tables and make reservations. This also means that the Contact Center AI will provide a real human-like experience to the customers while talking over the phone. It would be hard for the customers to know if they’re talking to a robot or a real human being if it isn’t disclosed to them at the very beginning.