Genesys Jumps on the AI Bandwagon, Invites Others Along for the Ride

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • At its annual user conference, customer experience management player Genesys introduced Kate, a personified artificial intelligence (AI) platform tailored to augment and automate multimodal customer interactions.
  • Genesys Kate, however, is not meant to compete with AI platforms such as IBM Watson or Salesforce.com Einstein. Instead Kate seeks to blend its own capabilities with those offerings, serving as an open platform.

Personified AI platforms – suddenly every technology vendor seems to have an AI persona that’s eager to strike up a one-on-one conversation. There’s of course IBM Watson, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Salesforce.com Einstein, and Adobe Sensei, but that somewhat lengthy list doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s available when you bring AI bots like Mitsuku, Poncho, Melody, Rose, and my personal favorite, Dr. AI. And now we have Kate, a personified AI platform introduced by customer experience manager Genesys this week during its annual user conference.

When I almost met Kate (and I say almost, because she’s still making her way into existence and into the Genesys portfolio), I couldn’t help but roll my eyes in disbelief for two reasons. First and most obvious, the technology market is officially in love with AI to such a degree that Kate and her compatriots are quickly becoming the norm among vendors that tread between big data and human interaction. Second, we as a species are not just willing but it seems happily hard-wired to imbue inanimate objects with human characteristics. What’s next? Am I going to need to address my PayPal account as “SteveO” and my eBay account as “Mr. Ed?” And will Mr. Ed and SteveO need to get along?

The long term ramifications of our love affair with anthropomorphization and with AI itself aside, the answer right now is a resounding yes. The rapid maturation of AI has brought us to a point where humans can converse with machines and machines can converse with one another in productive ways thanks to the seemingly magical blend of machine learning (ML), deep learning (DL), predictive analytics, and various, specific applications thereof such as natural language processing (NLP).  But will we as consumers of this technology need to pick one personified AI platform over another? Will too many AI engines spoil the broth, as it were?

Not when it comes to Kate. Genesys understands that while it does invest heavily in R&D, that investment is no match for the resources already at work within other AI platforms like IBM Watson and AI frameworks like Amazon Deep Learning AMI. For that reason, Genesys is quite willing to have Kate draw freely from those and other AI resources, something the company refers to as Blended AI. The easiest way to see this in action is to consider the company’s Bring-Your-Own-Bot effort within Kate. There’s no reason for a company like Genesys to try to solve every domain specific problem on its own, so the company invites its partners to bring in the most appropriate chatbot, maybe those built on Watson, Einstein, or even Dr. AI.

I think this blended approach will become the norm over time, given the open nature of most AI libraries and the public cloud platforms where they reside. Obviously there are some complexities with this sort of approach in terms of solution pricing and data security and control, which could for example see a single product pull TensorFlow models from Google, ML routines from Microsoft (Azure), and NLP from IBM or Wit.ai. The same complexity extends all the way up to the persona itself. Maybe in selling something on eBay (which uses PayPal), I’ll need to make friends with “Mr. EdO.” Regardless, blending AI resources is an important and necessary outcome and one I hope to see permeate the technology landscape. AI technologies, it seems, are a lot like people, each with varying capabilities, experiences, skills, and preferences. Alone, each is unique, but when you bring them together, that’s when interesting things happen.

About Brad Shimmin
As Principal Analyst for Collaboration and Conferencing at Current Analysis, Brad analyzes the rapidly expanding use of collaboration software and services as a means of improving business agility, fostering employee optimization and driving business opportunities.

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