Voice Recognition – Bots – Artificial Intelligence meet Banking & Insurance

04 Sep Voice Recognition – Bots – Artificial Intelligence meet Banking & Insurance

Voice Recognition technology is already gaining traction in the insurance industry. In early January, Fukoku Mutual Life decided to make 34 employees redundant in favor of artificial intelligence. The IBM Watson technology is capable of analyzing and interpreting an unstructured text, audio, and video data to calculate payouts. Around the same time, Aviva announced that it had created a new skill for Amazon Echo’s voice-activated intelligent assistant, Alexa. Customers can now ask Alexa for over 300 insurance-related definitions. Voice recognition will shape the future of insurance interactions.

Capital One is the first financial services company to sign up to the voice application platform Cortana. It has used existing voice technology to enable customers to manage their money efficiently through a hands-free, natural audible conversation with Cortana.

Earlier this year, CapOne and Amazon teamed up to put the Capital One “Skill” app on the Amazon Echo, allowing customers who have the Echo or Echo Dot (anything with Alexa) to access their bank accounts using their voice. Even an Amazon spokesman admitted that CapOne is “early to the game,” although other banking giants, such as Wells Fargo, have been quoted saying that they are looking into the potential uses of voice technology and virtual assistants. —

Santander customers will be able to make payments with their voice by talking to their smartphone app, in yet another sign of the technological revolution that is transforming the banking industry.
Under a new pilot scheme, the company has revamped its voice recognition technology to allow customers to make transfers to existing payees by speaking to their iPhone SmartBank app. It is the first high street lender to offer the service and comes after the company launched its so-called “voice assistant banking” technology last year.

Santander first started to roll out the voice technology last March. Customers could give simple commands to the app, such as asking it to show historic transactions on their accounts.

The CIO said that updating the app to enable payments gives users “another channel of choice in how they wish to bank”. Lenders are investing heavily in technology to keep up with changing consumer trends, as more people shop, work, and watch television online. The rapid growth in digital technology has driven the decline in traditional bank branches, which lenders are shutting at a rapid pace.

Think Silicon Valley meets Wall Street. Startups in financial technology – or fintech – are disrupting the industry by solving some of banking’s biggest issues, especially in local banking and consumer finance. As more customer interactions move online, the geographic advantage of local, high street banks is diminishing. After all, why would you visit a bank branch down the street to borrow money when you can shop for better interest rates from the comfort of your couch using peer-to-peer lending platforms like Lending Club, Prosper and SoFi?

However, a new technology is bound to need refinements before it can be a useful asset. The challenge for chatbots is to understand and show some human emotion. Emotion is a core driver of customer loyalty and chatbots may lack the EI to understand complex customer scenarios. When it comes to business the chatbot needs to be polite, intelligent and helpful without pretending to be human.

The future is bright for voice technologies which promise to enrich our experiences with digital devices. Our voices are going to bridge the gap between human-machine conversations and will be an integral part of daily transactions.

We are undergoing a voice revolution. By the end of 2016, voice recognition errors were down to almost 5%, compared to almost 50% in the late ’90s. In 2017 it seems that voice controlled organisers such as Amazon’s Echo are likely to become part of everyday life.

HSBC, which has closed the most branches of any UK bank recently, said last month that it had experienced a near 40% drop in the number of people using its branches. TSB, which announced an extra 29 closures last week, admitted that “some locations are very quiet, serving fewer than 200 people a week”. Meanwhile, Standard Chartered is moving heavily into radical new technologies that could one day see robots providing bespoke wealth advice and artificial intelligence answering customers’ questions.

Published by Alexander Bunton on Medium