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IBM Watson to Use Artificial Intelligence to Render Customer Service

Dec 18, 2015 03:48 AM EST

IBM's Watson is going to transform customer service, the customer experience, and hospitality. Powered by IBM's Watson, Ivy from Go Moment is an artificial intelligence-driven system capable of handling, in real time, some 90% of the requests that come in from guests on property, without requiring a lick of human intervention. Ivy uses this Watson engine to decipher and fulfill a wide variety of requests from hotel guests in real time.

Ivy is the brainchild of Raj Singh, President and CEO of its parent company, Go Moment. Singh is both a technologist and a kid-emeritus who grew up working hands-on in his family's hotels. Coming from hospitality background helped him in being aware of detailed knowledge that would be required to automate the challenges that come up in hospitality. To provide great hospitality Singh knew he would need some powerful help. So when he heard that IBM had allocated funding for Watson-related startups Singh jumped at the opportunity.

According to Forbes, Watson-Ivy collaboration works as follows, starting at check-in, where the hotel's (human) front desk attendant invites the guest to provide their cell phone number for the program, if it's not already in their reservation profile. If you opt in, you get a little welcome message and some questions when you get to your room. It asks question like how do you like your room so far. You can reply, five stars, I love the view. Can I get a bottle of red wine? And I could use a few more hand towels.  Each request will be interpreted and dispatched to the correct department automatically using Watson categorization.

Ivy is frequently called on to deliver instant answers to knowledge-based questions. For example, if a guest texts "what is the WiFi password?," it will deliver an answer instantly, with no humans needing to be involved. And when the "reply" needed is a task rather than information, that's in Ivy's skill set as well. 

Watson, you may remember, is essentially a "question-answering engine," initially developed by IBM to be able to decode the many ways a question can be asked on Jeopardy in essentially zero time-and get to that buzzer first! The answers, in other words, are not really the trick to Watson; any encyclopedia can do that part of the trick; it's the questions that matter.  The power of Watson is really coming in to play here to decode the many, many ways that a guest might make such a request: fifteen different people might ask for the same thing in fifteen different ways. Watson's involvement here is in detecting the intention behind the words. This keeps things effortless for the guest with Watson allowing the Ivy text responses to adapt to the guest, rather than the other way around.

Go Moment has been approached by the world's largest airlines, airports, and retail brands, who are interested in bringing the Ivy functionality to their vertical.  The possibilities outside of hospitality are also intriguing. More Watson powered apps like Go Moment's Ivy can change the costumer service by taking help of Watson's Cognitive Intelligence.

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