Nuance Communications has introduced its cognitive arbitrator, a new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered capability that solves one of the biggest consumer challenges in today’s connected world: the need to learn and remember the specific capabilities and vocabularies of multiple assistants spread across different services and devices. Nuance’s cognitive arbitrator solves this challenge by seamlessly connecting and integrating disparate virtual assistants, third-party services, and content via a single interface that spans the automotive, smart home, and Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem to complete complex tasks and enhance the user experience.
The cognitive arbitrator is central to Nuance’s vision of a world in which multiple virtual assistants work together to benefit end users through intelligent and effective conversational AI. The cognitive arbitrator creates a singular, intelligent hub that listens, understands and routes a user’s request to the specialised assistant or content service best suited to accomplish the task. For example, a driver can talk to the highly specialised in-car assistant to request driving directions and streaming music, and also make requests that will be routed to other third-party assistants that handle tasks such as shopping, food ordering, personal banking, and more.
“By 2020, there will be 26 billion intelligent, capable, connected devices armed with conversational virtual assistants that manage nearly every possible consumer experience. These assistants all have strengths and specialties, but today, they rarely communicate with each other or work together across devices – and it’s the consumer who loses out. Plus, brands are forced to make rigid choices about whether to build their own highly specialised assistants or leverage open, general-purpose assistants,” said Kenneth Harper, vice president, emerging solutions, Nuance. “The introduction of Nuance’s cognitive arbitrator functionality solves this challenge, maximising our customers’ ability to provide their own unique and differentiated experiences to end users, while also offering interoperability to the world of other assistants that deliver useful services. It’s a win-win for everyone in the ecosystem, especially the humans that buy and use our customers’ products and services.”
The cognitive arbitrator also allows Nuance’s specialised virtual assistants to tap directly into other popular consumer-facing virtual assistants. For instance, Nuance is already integrating its highly specialised Nina customer engagement assistant into Amazon® Alexa™, and today announced Nina for Google Home. Nuance customers, including banks, airlines, telco service providers and retailers, who deploy Nina with cognitive arbitrator capabilities can now open an entirely new way to deliver superior service in the smart home – through Amazon Alexa or Google Home – while retaining ownership of their individual brand experience and maintaining full control over consumer data in a cost-effective manner.
Key features of the cognitive arbitrator include:
• Ability to connect separate, Nuance-powered assistants, as well as mainstream assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, to seamlessly complete requests and accomplish tasks
• Both explicit and implicit handling of user requests; for example, a user can say, “Ask my bank what my balance is,” or “How much do I have in my checking account?” and receive the same result, without having to reference a specific assistant or service by name
• Ability to automatically learn preferences over time, so the arbitrator knows which assistant or content service the user prefers for specific tasks
• Contextual understanding of all the tasks completed from within any assistant, allowing users to modify previous tasks, such as “Cancel my last order”
• Integration with multiple services and agents simultaneously to complete a series of complex tasks, such as “Order my usual Chinese takeout after my last meeting today”
“The need to ‘have your agent call my agent’ is a known problem among brands, bot developers and end-users in the Intelligent Assistance Landscape,” explained Dan Miller, Lead Analyst at Opus Research. “Nuance’s cognitive arbitrator is a timely solution that is bound to accelerate each virtual agent’s ability to support conversational search, support and commerce.”
The cognitive arbitrator is now available as part of the Nuance Virtual Assistant Platform that powers its Dragon Drive and smart home solutions as well as Nina, the virtual assistant for customer engagement, and the Dragon Medical Virtual Assistant. Dragon Drive powers more than 200 million cars on the road today across more than 40 languages, creating conversational human machine interfaces for Audi, BMW, Daimler, Fiat, Ford, GM, Hyundai, SAIC, Toyota and more. In addition, Nuance is a recognised leader in providing automated and intelligent AI-powered solutions to large enterprises globally with over 6,500 enterprises using Nuance’s self-service technologies, processing an estimated 16 billion transactions each year. The cognitive arbitrator will be demonstrated at the 2018 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas from January 9-12, 2018.