Conversational approach in user interface
WITH artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality on the rise in the country’s corporate environment, the nature of the traditional user interface (UI) is changing.
The emergence of conversational UI (CUI) was set to transform the business landscape, said JC Oberholzer, the chief system architect for Rubix Digital Solutions.
Rubix is a subsidiary of SilverBridge Holdings, a JSElisted provider of insurance software solutions in the African financial services industry.
Oberholzer said the popularity of intelligent personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Home was sparking consumer interest in “talking” to one’s gadgets to either get information or have them perform an action such as ordering food online or activating the air conditioner.
“This is creating a ripple effect with many end-users expecting other companies to follow suit and deliver a natural language experience to queries and other business components,” he said.
“Simply talking to our devices is not as far-fetched as many make it out to be.
“Imagine the convenience of requesting a plane ticket from your phone instead of having to click through multiple browser windows. The time savings alone make it a worthwhile investment.
“Now translate that to updating an insurance policy or making a new investment. It is all focused on making the user experience as effective as possible.”
The aim of the CUI is to enable people to converse in the language they know, with the device understanding it and translating their intention into actions that the application understands.
CUI is more than text recognition, but the coming together of several different technologies and services – voice technologies to recognise speech, understanding the natural language, understanding the intention of the spoken words, and some artificial intelligence to interpret your intentions.
Oberholzer admitted that there might be some resistance from consumers and insurers on adopting a more conversational approach in the user interface.
“Traditionalists, especially in the insurance industry, might not feel optimistic about the accuracy of the process or how easily it will be adopted to meet regulatory requirements.
“However, with financial services globally under pressure to keep innovating to combat the emergence of fintech firms, they might have no choice but to embrace this change,” said Oberholzer.
He warned, however, that CUI was not a “fire-and-forget” solution. Once rolled out, it needed to be tested continuously against the user base, evaluated and evolved.
SilverBridge, with more than 30 customers throughout Africa, has introduced an enhanced service offering for financial services companies.