AI and Big Data are the keys to increasing user customer engagement

Head of Exprivia | Italtel Innovation Lab

Exprivia | Italtel is able to assist companies in developing innovative projects based on the use of data. With considerable positive repercussions even from an economic point of view

At this stage, there are two key trends that are significantly changing the dynamics of all production sectors: on the one hand, consumers demand simple and at the same time effective services, with the right degree of customization, capable of resolving problems quickly and intuitively, without any hitches. On the other hand, companies themselves, increasingly under pressure due to global competition, need to rationalize their expenses but cannot afford to do so without an essential area such as customer service and care. How can these two needs be reconciled? Technology could have the answer, particularly thanks to innovative AI and machine learning solutions, which allow you to build an effective customer engagement with the end users, as proven by the experience of Exprivia | Italtel, a new reality born from the merger of an historic telecommunications brand, Italtel, and an IT player, Exprivia.

We already live in the so-called Information Era today; we are therefore deluged with information, videos, images, texts, from which we can draw useful insights for business purposes. However, with the upcoming advent of 5G we expect a further explosion of data: it is therefore important to take advantage of these issues, which can create new opportunities for all companies. Moreover, our great advantage is having a consolidated expertise in the field: since the early 2000s, Exprivia has been dealing with artificial intelligence applied to texts and documents. Around this nucleus, from 2011, resources have been invested and a team was established to deal with big data & analytics and artificial intelligence. Today, with the unification of the two companies, a special Innovation Lab has been established in which around 25 people work, half of which are dedicated to the study of these issues. Our positioning in the Big Data & AI market is clear: we are not going to compete in areas where established market solutions and products already exist, such as campaign-management solutions; on the contrary, we have started working – far ahead of the market – on conversational interfaces useful to reduce the level of friction in the use of services on the part of users. For example, already by 2014 we created an early solution for a leading Apulian banking group which can help customers carry out banking operations using normal language with a “one-click” approach. The ability to understand the client’s “intent” makes it much simpler and more fluid to initiate dispositive actions by creating a bank at the users’ fingertips, or rather, voice. After this first project, we began to ride the trend related to service chat bots but we distinguished ourselves from those commonly used in the market. In fact, we have begun to follow the new Immersive Web paradigm, which involves the virtual reconstruction of real environments and that helps creating a smoother on-line shopping experience for users.

The advantages of such an advanced customer engagement are considerable for companies too, especially in terms of costs: artificial intelligence solutions perfectly meet the need to automate, as much as possibile, the communication process between the company and the user, creating a continuum between virtual and real representatives in a new logic for call centers. This would help save money by reducing resources and people employed for this purpose. However, Exprivia | Italtel’s research certainly does not stop there: for example, in our Innovation Lab we are running tests about the semantics and the language used by virtual assistants, which will have to be increasingly able to adapt to each individual interlocutor in the future. The assumption is that certain expressions can be more or less effective in terms of customer engagement depending on the specific cultural background of the person with whom the chat bots interact. However, a certain mistrust of companies remains to be overcome, since real cases of success are not particularly known. With this in mind, the Exprivia | Italtel strategy is to allow potentially interested companies to experience AI solutions first-hand through the creation of prototypes applied to narrow scopes, initially, but that can be expanded later. Our target customers are SMEs, Small and Medium Enterprises, and the banking sector, including service centers.

From a technological point of view, the choice of Exprivia | Italtel was to develop its own solutions by focusing on the best open source technologies available on the market. To address the needs of some vertical markets, instead, we have often decided to adopt ad hoc platforms created by some Italian startups, such as QuestIt, with which we have established solid partnerships over the years. With this strategy, Exprivia | Italtel is sure to be able to ride a sector which has already shown a significant growth rate in recent years, but which appears to be headed for further development in the near future.

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