Nuance Communications today introduced Nina, the virtual assistant for mobile customer service apps. With Nina, companies can add speech-based virtual assistant capabilities to their existing iOS and Android mobile apps, enhancing the self-service experience for their customers. Nina combines Nuance speech recognition, Text-to-Speech (TTS), voice biometrics, and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology hosted in the cloud to deliver an interactive user experience that not only understands what is said, but also can identify who is saying it.
Nuance also announced that USAA, a leading financial services provider that serves members of the U.S. military, veterans and their families, has adopted the virtual assistant for use within its popular mobile app. A pilot is planned for August and the functionality will launch to all USAA members early next year.
“USAA’s innovative solutions are designed to make life easier for our highly mobile military service members, and increasingly for all members who now expect to get things done when, where and how they want,” said Neff Hudson, assistant vice president of emerging channels for USAA. “We believe that the virtual assistant has tremendous potential to make it simpler, faster and more satisfying for our members to manage their financial affairs on their mobile devices.”
Nina is significant because it is the first virtual assistant for mobile customer service apps to incorporate both speech recognition and voice biometrics into a single integrated solution. Nina is also the first solution that provides an open software development kit (SDK) to support the rapid integration of virtual assistant capabilities into existing mobile applications. In addition, Nina is the first to allow organizations to brand their own virtual assistant persona, including the visual appearance and implementation of optional custom TTS voices.
“Nina is a watershed innovation for the automated customer service industry, not only because it brings the virtual assistant directly into an app, but because it raises the bar through its level of interactive dialog and language understanding,” said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of the Nuance Enterprise Division. “Nina provides our customers a major competitive differentiator by enabling more successful self-service through their mobile apps. We are especially pleased to further our partnership with USAA, a company known for its innovation and approach to delivering a premier mobile customer service experience to its members.”