Con­ver­sa­tional ap­proach in user in­ter­face

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - Sizwe Dlamini

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.