Nuance Partners with Apple for a Chat App

Nuance Communications last week at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) announced an integration with Apple via Messages, Apple's proprietary chat platform spanning all of its mobile, desktop, tablet, and laptop devices.

Through the Nuance Digital Engagement Platform, millions of Apple customers will be able to connect with banks, airlines, telecommunications providers, retailers, or other businesses and initiate direct conversations via Messages for conversational customer service or sales engagement. The Nuance solution engages either using the artificial intelligence-powered, Nuance Nina virtual assistant, which is specialized for each company's specific domain, content, and user experience, or using Nuance Live or Asynchronous Chat.

The announcement marks an extension of Nuance's Customer Service Messaging, launched two years ago and already supporting messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WeChat, SMS, and more, as well as messaging within enterprise apps.

Using Nuance Nina, an artificial intelligent (AI) system, the solution is customized around companies for always-on chat engagements with human-like conversation that can be escalated, seamlessly, to live agents if the need arises. According to Nuance, Nina resolves customer issues nearly 80 percent of the time, while the remaining 20 percent of unresolved issues are routed asynchronously to customer service representatives.

The need for text-based support has developed rapidly and continues to be important for companies. A recent study by Forrester Research indicated that 75 percent of U.S. online adults receive daily text messages, and nearly 50 percent receive instant messages. Further, the study indicated that 62 percent of consumers choose to receive push notifications from a select few apps. Within this communication world, Apple Messaging is a dominant leader, with users based in the United States alone sending and receiving more than 40 billion messages daily.

Data such as this indicates a ripe opportunity for messaging platform customer service interactions, and voice-activated messaging is also rapidly becoming key to these interactions as solutions like Siri and Amazon Alexa have proven. Earlier this month Nuance announced Nina for Amazon Alexa, enabling companies to engage with consumers on Amazon Echo, Dot, or any other Alexa-enabled device.

"While Siri made the virtual assistant mainstream, the ability to start a chat session with businesses using Messages is positioned to turn message-based customer service into the dominant way consumers engage with brands," said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Division at Nuance, in a statement. "Today's Apple Business Chat announcement is significant for the evolution of customer service and will forever change how consumers and businesses intelligently connect."

Nuance's Nina functions as an AI-powered cognitive brain that can be developed for cross channel engagement over the phone, mobile app, messaging apps, SMS/text, and IoT devices, such as home speakers.

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