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Meet Kiri, Vodafone’s digital assistant

Meet Kiri, Vodafone’s digital assistant

Customers will be able to interact with Kiri in-store later this year

The technology has the potential to create whole new job categories where frontline employees monitor conversations to continuously improve them, creating brand new professions in our evolving digital world

Helen van Orton, Vodafone

Vodafone has revealed the identity of the newest member of its team, a digital assistant named Kiri.

“Customers tell us they want the experience of engaging with a digital assistant to be seamless, emotive and engaging – characteristics that are critical for creating trust,” says Helen van Orton, Vodafone customer operations director, describing the customer-led focus of developing Kiri.

“Customers want to feel valued and that their needs are taken care of.”

“Kiri will help out with routine tasks so that our retail staff can help solve more challenging issues for clients,” says van Orton.

“The technology also has the potential to create whole new job categories where frontline employees monitor conversations to continuously improve them, creating brand new professions in our evolving digital world.”

Kiri’s strikingly life-like appearance relies on real-time rendering and AI, using FaceMe’s latest techniques in machine learning based animation to produce a compelling experience.

Skin texture such as pores and lines are carefully sculpted, and light reflection and roughness have been detailed by FaceMe’s artists.

The result is a digital assistant tailored specifically for a Kiwi audience, says Vodafone.

Van Orton explains natural, engaging interaction requires a less than 200 millisecond response time.

Kiri’s processing has been optimised for speed and accuracy to create an experience that feels instantaneous. Computer vision technology allows Kiri to ‘see’ and behave like humans.

For example, using her situational awareness system, Kiri can naturally respond when people walk up to her, and greet them proactively.

FaceMe CEO Danny Tomsett believes emotional connection is key for interaction.

“FaceMe has analysed what creates great experiences and which human qualities we need to reproduce – and supercharge – using AI technology.

“Through advanced Digital Human EQ combined with the IBM Watson conversational platform, we have created a great customer experience that leaves people feeling deeply content and satisfied with each conversation,” says Tomsett.

Kiri is currently in training and will start working in select Vodafone retail stores later this year.

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