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Driving Business Value – Compelling Use Cases for AI Assistants
June 18, 2020 Blog


With all the hype around artificial intelligence (AI), you’re probably well aware that the market for AI is thriving. However, you may not be privy to the fact that escalating demand for AI assistants has been one of the important factors driving that growth.



According to a report by Grand View Research, the voice and speech recognition market, which hit $9.12 billion in 2017, is expected to rapidly increase at a compound annual growth rate of 17.2% from 2018 to 2025.


Why is there such a high demand for this technology?

As the name suggests, AI assistants work best to “assist” and augment what humans can do and help us carry out our tasks in a more smart and effective way. They can help businesses save costs, automate mundane tasks and make workflows more efficient. This results in better experiences and increased satisfaction for both customers and employees.

AI assistants no longer just bots that regurgitate predefined answers. As technology gets smarter, AI assistants are getting better at using data and traversing into the realm of cognitive intelligence – making them highly reliable decision support systems.

Case in point is IBM Watson, which has come a long way since its debut in 2011. Today, Watson has become a powerful machine that uses cognitive computing to assist organisations all over the world. To understand how Watson works, let’s take a look at some real-world examples.


Providing quick and accurate answers to customer queries

Humana, one of the largest insurance providers in the US, is using IBM Watson Assistant to improve customer service and retention by providing always-available, quick and accurate answers to customer queries.

Working with IBM’s Data and AI Expert Labs, Humana developed the Provider Services Conversational Voice Agent through the combination of multiple Watson applications in a single conversational assistant. The solution was designed to provide a faster, friendlier and more consistent way for healthcare providers to access pre-service, medical eligibility, verification, authorisation and referral information without having to converse with a live agent.

Using AI, the system is able to understand the caller’s intent, verify their information and choose the best course of action to assist them. With Watson Assistant, Humana was able to double the overall response rate to enquiries compared to the previous system at about a third of the cost, significantly elevating the provider experience.


Accelerating research and discovery

The proliferation of data is becoming a challenge for many businesses. Success in the modern era is determined by how well they are able to sift through tremendous amounts of data and derive value from it.

Lucy is a cognitive assistant that was developed by Equals 3 to help marketers do just that. Powered by Watson, Lucy was designed to process structured and unstructured data. Lucy is able to connect disparate sources across a business to find relevant information, empowering marketers to craft strategies and make critical decisions much faster than before.

In the past, marketers spent a huge amount of time and effort manually processing vast amounts of internal and external data on a day-to-day basis. With a specialised AI assistant, they can consolidate their data and get the “answers” they need in a fraction of that time. The answers could be in the form of a specific snapshot, or easy-to-interpret graphics that would typically take hours to design. Lucy is adaptable to processes and workloads that are specific to each organisation, and it is continuously learning to provide better results over time.


Access to intelligence anywhere, anytime

AI assistants aren’t just meant for office work. They can also be used to augment field workers to improve their output and quality of work. As an example, Apple has combined the powers of its Core ML machine learning framework with IBM Watson to build native iOS apps that provide users with direct access to information and deep insights through their mobile devices.



AI assistants have enabled field technicians around the world to diagnose complex problems and carry out repairs quickly and effectively no matter where they are, even in rural or remote locations. Other than giving them necessary information and know-how at the tips of their fingers, the AI updates what it learns from each incident. This knowledge is then instantaneously made available to other technicians.

The app can also be integrated with additional capabilities such as augmented reality, advanced visual recognition, and detection technology to further enhance the level of diagnosis and service for each technician.

These are just a few examples of how AI is being used to expedite processes and drive business value. AI can speak to customers naturally, help marketers come up with killer marketing strategies and assist technicians in carrying out complex repairs. This may sound futuristic, but it has all been done before – as seen from our use cases. The era of the smart enterprise is already here.

Can you think of ways that it can be applied to your business? Click here to find out more about one of the world’s most advanced AI assistants, IBM Watson, and the possibilities that it unlocks.