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Westpac NZ brings AI and digital assistance to SME customers

Westpac NZ brings AI and digital assistance to SME customers

Taps Aider to provide mobile digital assistance ‘as a service’ that connects apps SMEs use to run their business

SMEs make up 97 per cent of businesses in New Zealand, yet this market is often under-served and under-informed

Lewis Billinghurst, Westpac NZ

Westpac NZ has tapped Auckland-based artificial intelligence software company, Aider, to provide conversational digital assistance to its small and medium-sized enterprise customers.

The collaboration with Westpac’s Digital Ventures team aims to help business owners make fast, data-led decisions to improve their efficiency and bottom line.

Westpac’s 85,000 SME customers can also use Aider’s “Contact Me” function if they need to speak with a bank representative.

Lewis Billinghurst, Westpac NZ Head of Digital Ventures, says SMEs make up 97 per cent of businesses in New Zealand, yet this market is often under-served and under-informed.

“We see great value in being able to introduce SMEs to artificial intelligence in an easily-consumed format,” he says.

Aider will provide a subscription service, with Westpac customers getting a 90-day free trial and an early access pricing of $39.99 a month from there on.

Aider is a mobile, digital assistant that connects to the apps SMEs use to run their businesses, to deliver easy access to answers, all from one place. Business app connections include point of sale, accounting, payroll, rostering, online calendar, social media, analytics.

You can ask your total expenditure for the last week or your top selling products for the day – and get instant access to the data you need

Pete Weaver, Aider

The Aider ecosystem includes Xero, QuickBooks Online, Kounta, Vend, Twitter and Google Analytics.

Using Aider’s mobile app, customers can ask questions by typing, voice-to-text or speaking through a voice assistant, like Alexa or Google Assistant.

Aider can answer hundreds of questions a business owner might have, including:

● “Hey Aider, how much revenue did I make this week?”

● “Who showed up for work today?”

● “Aider, get someone at Westpac to contact me” (an upcoming feature)

● “How many UberEats sales have I made this month?”

● “What were my top selling products today?”

Aider also has “built in” connections to weather, events and news apps.

Constantly learning and growing its knowledge base, Aider can also schedule notifications, put reminders in the user’s calendar, and will deliver trends analysis and benchmarking.

“We believe in human-centric AI and created Aider to give small business owners easy access to the information they need to make better business decisions,” says Aider cofounder, Pete Weaver.

“With the Aider app, you simply ask for what you want – whether it’s your total expenditure for the last week or your top selling products for the day – and get instant access to the data you need.”

He says as AI continues to progress, the Aider team could eventually use its machine learning technology to train Aider to answer questions important to Westpac customers.

The company, co-founded in Auckland in 2017 by Weaver and Brendan Roberts, is targeting the retail and hospitality market in Australasia, with plans to expand to different industries and locations.

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Read more: Westpac CIO Dawie Olivier on 'The killer app for today’s ICT teams'

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz @divinap



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