Google Releases Contact Center AI

Google yesterday released Contact Center AI, a solution that allows companies with limited machine learning expertise to deploy artificial intelligence in their contact centers.

Google Cloud's Contact Center AI combines multiple artificial intelligence products, including the following:

  • Virtual Agent, a conversational AI bot that uses company knowledge bases and back-end processes to speak with customers;
  • Agent Assist, which passes customers to live agents if needed and suggests answers to agents based on previous interactions; and
  • Analytics, which uses enterprise data and knowledge to train virtual agent and agent assist products to serve customers.

Contact Center AI also includes the Enterprise Edition of Dialogflow, Google's development suite for building conversational agents. Dialogflow includes speech recognition through Cloud Speech-to-Text, text-to-speech via DeepMind's WaveNet, and theDialogflow Phone Gateway for telephony integration, as well as additional capabilities that are particularly useful for contact centers.

The way Google Cloud's Contact Center AI works, Virtual Agent greets the caller and answers questions and fulfills tasks all on its own. When the caller's needs surpass Virtual Agent's capabilities, the call is passed to a human representative, with Contact Center AI's Agent Assist system supporting the conversation and providing the agent with relevant information. Leveraging DialogFlow Knowledge Connectors, the assistive technology surfaces the most relevant knowledge articles from the company's knowledge base.

"The result is a flexible solution that adapts to the needs of each and every call and provides a seamless experience between live and virtual agents, playing as big or as small a role as the situation demands," Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist for Google AI, wrote in a blog post yesterday. "And it does it all without infrastructure, on a platform that scales as much or as little as you need."

Li calls Contact Center AI a game-changer. "We think it has the potential to elevate every aspect of the customer service experience, from start to finish," she said.

Google, in crafting Cloud Contact Center AI, worked with a number of partners, including Appian, Chatbase, Cisco, Five9, Genesys, Mitel, Quantiphi, RingCentral, Twilio, UiPath, Upwire, and Vonage.

Cloud communications platform provider Twilio's collaboration with Google Cloud led to the integration of Contact Center AI into Twilio Flex, a fully programmable cloud contact center platform. Twilio has also simplified integration between the Twilio Programmable Voice platform and Google's Dialogflow to help developers build automated AI-driven conversational user interfaces and voice bots.

Genesys' integration involves Kate, the Genesys AI platform, which powers the company's natural language understanding, orchestration, predictive routing, automation, and more. By integrating Kate with the natural language understanding capabilities of the Google Cloud Contact Center AI, the system can detect what consumers are saying and glean their intent. Blended AI by Genesys then enables the handoff between bots and live agents.

"As the Genesys AI platform is now integrated with Google Cloud Contact Center AI, our joint customers can deploy a bot much more quickly than in the past: It's as simple as activating and training it on desired intent and actions," said Peter Graf, chief product officer at Genesys, in a statement. "Together, we are making customer experience AI more accessible to companies of all sizes and sophistication levels."

Appian's ICC platform provides native and integrated artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, based on a low-code platform, for building omnichannel customer engagement, case management, and intelligent automation solutions. Key features of Appian's integration with Google Cloud Contact Center AI include the following:

  • Unified Agent Experience with Omni-Channel Integrations – It is now possible to integrate with Google Cloud for telephony, chat, text message, and social media with Appian's dynamic case management and intelligent automation capabilities.
  • Robust Intelligent Automation, leveraging Appian's Business Process Management (BPM), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and AI to orchestrate processes, integrate systems, and apply business rules.
  • Dynamic Case Management – Customers can achieve a single view of the customer and support high-end problem solving for complex interactions. Appian unifies the interactions between people, process, data, and content to create an interface that arms agents with accurate information .

Business cloud communications provider Vonage's integration is being made available as part of Vonage's new CX Enablement Suite, which encompasses several new Nexmo-powered contact center capabilities, including programmable building blocks, chatbots, open-source skills-based communications router, and real-time sentiment analysis.

Key features of Vonage's integration with Contact Center AI include the following:

  • The ability to connect customers with an intelligent virtual agent by integrating Nexmo's Voice API and skills-based communications routing technology with CRM, Google Cloud Contact Center AI, and Dialogflow;
  • Contextual information provided to live agents via routing through a connection between Nexmo's skills-based communications router and Dialogflow; and

An Agent Assist interface that provides continuous, real-time transcription of the call and dynamically updates suggested responses based on the ongoing conversation.

"Vonage's innovative programmable voice and messaging APIs, combined with Google's Contact Center AI, can be used by cloud-based contact centers or existing premises contact centers. This can give every business access to exciting artificial intelligence capabilities that will enable them to quickly adapt to customer demands, generate new insights, and innovate faster to serve and delight customers," said Omar Javaid, chief product officer at Vonage, in a statement.

Cloud communications and collaboration solutions provider RingCentral and Google Cloud are working together to apply AI in multiple areas of RingCentral Contact Center.

"AI holds a lot of promise in addressing customer needs faster and helping agents get to customer resolution quickly," said Jim Dvorkin, senior vice president for contact centers at RingCentral, in a statement. "To make the contact center experience more relevant and efficient for both customers and agents, we believe Google Cloud is a great partner to collaborate with and apply AI in a thoughtful way."

Five9's integration pairs the Five9 Genius with Google Contact Center AI.

"Our mission is to help businesses deliver exceptional experiences to their customers, and AI will play a key role in helping make that a reality," said Rowan Trollope, CEO of Five9, in a statement. "The integration between Five9 Genius and Google Cloud's Contact Center AI will be a game-changer to enable consumers to easily resolve more common issues by interacting with intelligent virtual agents in a natural, conversational manner, freeing live agents to address more complex issues and be more proactive."

And it's not just Google and its integration partners in this effort that are excited about Google Cloud Contact Center AI. Mikhail Naumov, co-founder, president and chief operations officer at DigitalGenius, an AI platform for customer service, sees the entire contact center industry benefitting from the release.

"The contact center space is ripe for AI disruption, and Google's release of the Contact Center AI toolkit clearly confirms this," he says. "Every company in the world will have some form of AI and machine learning embedded in their contact center in the next couple of years. At DigitalGenius we have seen companies rapidly adopt practical AI solutions that help automate repetitive processes, remove unnecessary costs from contact centers, and drive higher employee and customer satisfaction."

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