NTT Communications to Offer AI-Supported Cognitive Agent

NTT Communications is working with IPsoft, a provider of automated solutions for IT and business operations, to launch a highly automated cognitive agent service for natural conversations in the summer. The service will leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to interact with customers, in English and Japanese, and learn from experiences to successively upgrade the quality of its automated service.

The service will use cloud-based AI to automate initial responses to customers who contact call centers or enterprise/store contact poinst for support or to make purchases. As an automated service available 24/7, it will enable user-companies to refocus employee workloads on higher-value activities. The service will initiate actions to complete caller requests, like issuing invoices, sending email, or mailing documents.

Prior to launching a commercial service, NTT will invite enterprises to participate in proof-of-concept testing starting in February.

The new service will understand and engage in human interaction by using technologies like IPsoft's artificial intelligence technology, and advanced Japanese-language processing technology that NTT Media Intelligence Laboratories has been developing for four decades.

The cognitive agent will enable customers to receive a range of standardized services 24/7 without having to wait. In addition, when problems need to be referred to human agents, it will pass the full context of the conversation to the agent.

Based on highly natural conversations with customers, the service will be able to complete a wide range of incoming requests and help diagnose and resolve customer problems. When customer requests are vague, the service will query them for more information. If problems or requests cannot be resolved automatically, the service will transfer calls to live operators. Moreover, it will use AI to learn from operators' responses and apply this knowledge when responding to similar situations in the future. The service will be able to initiate follow-up action, such as revising information in an application, correcting a billing error, or changing settings by connecting to the user-company's enterprise system.

NTT expects to improve the speed of resolving customer problems and requests by continually upgrading the system's knowledge, including dictionary databases for specific industries and purposes. NTT also plans to adapt the service for other AI systems, such as the semantic search technology at its own customer support and contact centers, which is provided by Inbenta, a provider in natural-language processing and AI powered technologies. It will also collaborate in service development with partner enterprises, including companies providing consulting or customer relationship management (CRM) services. NTT expects to offer related services in various fields, leveraging both AI and the company's cloud environment.

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