Monday, 16 July, 2018

Google Duplex could eventually make its way into call centers

Google’s Duplex AI could kill the call center Google Duplex could soon take over call centres
Sherri Watson | 09 July, 2018, 09:12

Now, Google is looking to partner with companies that want to use its human-sounding Duplex AI for tasks such as fielding customer service calls or telemarketing, according to a report by The Information.

According to The Information, one "large insurance company" is already testing, but it's still in "early stages" and months from going live.

Some big worldwide companies are already in the early stages of testing the Google Duplex AI technology.

What Google CEO Sundar Pichai didn't mention during the initial debut of Duplex at I/O in May, the site notes, "is that the technology could be more than just a nifty trick to help users save a bit of time on reservations". As we shared last week, Duplex is created to operate in very specific use cases, and now we're focused on testing with restaurant reservations, hair salon booking, and holiday hours with a limited set of trusted testers.

When Google unveiled Duplex at its I/O conference in May, it caused quite a stir. Google says the main objective of Duplex is to use AI to call businesses on your behalf. The research firm ResearchAndMarkets projects the cloud-based customer call centre market will reach about $21 billion by 2022 - up from $6.8 billion in 2017. Earlier this year, Google Cloud Speech-to-Text received a major overhaul focused on optimizing phone call transcription uses. Which is why the tech giant thinks its Duplex AI - which sounds so human and can imitate the quirks of human speech so well that it's nearly creepy - would be a ideal addition to call centers.

Anyone who has had to reach out to a call center for assistance on an account or with a device knows that many of them are outside of the US and the operators can sometimes be hard to understand. The interested company remains unnamed, but it is reported to be a large insurance company. They claim that the service is not being tested by any enterprise consumers.

While Google's statement indicates that it is more concerned with personal voice assistant applications right now, it does not rule out pursuing enterprise customers in the future.