LivePerson and IBM Launch AI-Powered Chat and Messaging Platform

IBM and LiveEngage are debuting an enterprise solution that integrates Watson-powered bots with human agents. The platform leverages IBM's Watson Virtual Agent technology and LivePerson's LiveEngage platform to enable brands to support bot conversations that can smoothly transition to conversation with live agents through a brand app, SMS, Facebook Messenger, or the brand’s mobile site.

"Watson is giving us some extra juice inside our platform," says Chris Vennard, product expert at LivePerson. "With Watson's AI inside the platform, this is a best-in-class offering.”

As customer service moves into the cognitive space, vendors must deliver solutions that make the most of artificial intelligence capabilities while leaving the door open for agents to continue doing what they do best, according to Vennard. 

The LiveEngage platform with Watson in the background can automate a number of customer service interactions, but it can also allow brands to escalate conversations to a live agent easily and with full transparency. And if an agent does have to take over a conversation from Watson, she will be fully caught up on the interaction that took place.  "The conversations are pulled together as one. They’re persistent,” Vennard says. 

Though powered by AI, Watson is treated as a real agent in the LiveEngage platform. In other words, he can be assigned to specific tasks, his performance can be scored, and he can be trained if his performance isn't up to par. "Companies can use conversations between customers and live agents to train Watson. It's how his ability to deliver service will improve," Vennard says. 

The tasks that Watson will perform will depend on the business. For a telecom company, for example, Watson will be able to process bill payments and activate new devices. The goal is that Watson will eventually open the door to every conversation and handle it if it's something that can be automated, but pass it on to an agent if it's something he can't handle. Watson will serve as a gatekeeper of sorts, according to Vennard. 

As the companies continue to innovate, the bots will become smarter and faster and will be able to support more different types of tasks and conversation. "What differentiates us is speed to market, and when you look at the AI space, Watson is likely the best one. Moving forward, we'll be strategic partners that will continue to innovate in the space," Vennard says.

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