Cognitive virtual agent Amelia debuts on NSW GovDC

IPsoft claims its cognitive bot is ‘most human AI’ on the market

New South Wales government departments have been given access to a cognitive virtual agent through its technology procurement platform GovDC Marketplace.

IPsoft – provider of the Amelia bot – are the first artificial intelligence provider in the marketplace, the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation has confirmed.

Amelia can understand natural language with natural language processing, and absorb information in text or pdf form. The bot can learn by following process maps created from prior interactions, observe colleagues to discover the optimal course of action, and apply supervised learning to address similar scenarios without human interaction, the company said.

The agent can change her tone depending on the interaction, and integrates with enterprise systems including SAP and Oracle. IPsoft say Amelia is the “most human AI” on the market.

“We see significant potential in helping government departments and agencies leverage breakthrough AI technology that will deliver a radically more efficient level of service to citizens. Amelia can transform internal and citizen-facing processes that require a conversationally-intelligent virtual agent to deliver an exceptional customer experience at scale,” said Andrew Winlaw, vice president of IPsoft Australia and New Zealand.

Amelia is currently in use at Swedish corporate bank SEB where it deals with a range of customer requests from managing change of address to providing password resets for accounts. At the UK’s Enfield Council the agent provides residents with guidance on planning permissions.

In both cases, the agent has accurately resolved more than 85 per cent of the queries that are addressed to her, IPsoft claim.

Agent roll outs

Virtual agents have had mixed success in Australian government agencies.

Nuance’s offering Nina has been deployed in Australia by the Australian Taxation Office and IP Australia (who each call their Nina ‘Alex’).

Last month the Department of Human Services has revealed its plans for two new virtual agents – Gus and Oliver. The department rolled out virtual assistant Roxy, based on Microsoft’s Cortana, in October to help staff process claims.

A second virtual assistant – Sam – was rolled out in July this year to help visitors navigate the DHS website.

The National Disability Insurance Agency recruited Cate Blanchett as the voice of an IBM Watson powered online virtual assistant called Nadia. A trial began in March, with Nadia expected to be fully operational within a year. However, in September the ABC reported that the project had stalled.

Amelia Down Under

Late last year, IPsoft signed an agreement with Deloitte to further develop the cognitive platform in Australia.

“Our clients are under pressure to find new pathways to growth that will enable them to remain competitive. Cognitive technology will play a pivotal role in meeting this challenge,” Deloitte partner Alan Marshall said at the time.

“To that end we are very excited to be working with IPsoft to reengineer some of our client organisations’ legacy processes, and train Amelia in different service situations across a host of industries including financial services, health, education and telecommunications. We are also seeing some significant activity in mining and oil and gas,” he added.

Accenture established an Amelia practice in May last year.

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Tags virtual agentAInswvendorprocurementintelligent agentGovDCgovernmentMarketplaceIPsoft

More about AustraliaAustralian Taxation OfficeDeloitteDepartment of Human ServicesIBMIP AustraliaMarshallMicrosoftNuanceOracle

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