This week we bring to you an interesting AI based company that is delivering solutions to ease out on how people interact with the technology. With a presence over Spain, India and USA, this startup was born out of the founder’s PhD thesis on Artificial Intelligence.
We are talking about CogniCor and while Sindhu Joseph was pursuing PhD, she conceptualized the idea bringing CogniCor into existence. Co-founded by Sindhu Joseph and Rosh Cherian, it is inspired from their personal experiences such as trying to solve customer service issue with an airlines and telecom service providers.
During its inception, while Joseph was getting a PhD in AI along with 6 US patents in the same field, Cherian was working for a large European telco, deploying customer management software. He was puzzled by the fact that customer care operation is one of the largest expenses in a telco, that doesn’t often match up with the return on investment in the form of customer revenue.
It was this background of the founders in Artificial Intelligence and enterprise customer care
solutions respectively, that helped them in creating an initial solution that uses latest advances in cognitive computing to address enterprise customer engagement. “After making initial prototypes and winning seed investments from Telco, and few early deployments later with top tier telcos the team released the enterprise ready platform for Banking, Insurance, IT Service and Telco verticals” says Cherian, who is also the CTO at CogniCor.
All about Artificial Intelligence-
CogniCor offers a fully automatic customer self service solution for automated virtual chat. The company offers virtual agent for banks and insurance companies that enable users to easily chat with the company in plain, understandable language and get instant responses. “CogniCor has successfully deployed solutions for several leading financial institutions in India and abroad, in pre-sales, sales and post-sales scenarios,” notes Cherian.
Called “CIRA”– the intelligent response assistant by CogniCor offers self service and agent assistant modes. An NLP based platform, enabling people to chat and get other things done, the company believes that it can assist the customer with negotiating a new bank loan, renewing the auto insurance or simply buying travel tickets. The personalized cognitive customer assistant by the company can understand their needs and extend its support in the form of relevant information. This could translate into huge savings in operating expenses and efficiency for the business.
“In the agent assistant mode, the solution enhances a customer service executive’s performance by proactively suggesting personalized responses for the specific customer”, says Cherian. “The platform uses deep learning to ingest knowledge from wide variety of input sources such as documents, web sites, CRM systems etc. CogniCor also uses analytics to leverage personalization in personalized response generation from financial data”, he further adds.
AI solution that stands out-
Highlighting how the AI based solution offered by CogiCor stands out of others in the market, Cherian notes that most of the chatbot solutions in the market take a scripted approach to design virtual agents. He adds “these days you can also use a bot platform driven such as the Watson that offers a do-it-yourself approach for enterprises”.
However, he clarifies that such solutions lack the focus on customer service journeys for financial domain use cases, and this is where CogniCor stands out as it is fully capable of doing it with greater efficiency.
The growth story-
“Ever since launching as a spinoff in 2012, the journey so far has been very exciting”, exhilarates Cherian. The platform has currently conducted over 3 million automated conversations in Telecom, Insurance and banking domains.
The company has also won various awards and accolades such as the “Most Innovative Web startup award” from the European Commission, and the “Delighting Tomorrow’s customer award” from British Telecom. Serving clients across the globe, some of their Indian clients include Federal Bank, Telefonica, ICICI Insurance, TATA Capital, while the international clients are OCBC Bank, AIA Insurance group to name a few. Additionally, they are rolling out the solution through system integrators to clients in the US and Europe.
Scaling constantly through deployments and geographies, another development for CogniCor came in the form of partnership with Atos, one of the leading providers of managed customer help desks to top brands in Europe and USA. “As per the partnership, the solution shall be deployed to 80% of the customer base within the next two years”, says Cherian.
Overcoming the challenges-
On a concluding note, Cherian points out few challenges they had to face as a startup in AI space. “AI has been around for many years, but due to several reasons, it had never fully been adopted into the enterprise. However, thanks to recent advances in cognitive computing and high performance computing, AI has made a strong comeback, with several deployments yielding strong return on investments. One of the major challenges was to set expectations for customers, about the process and performance of an AI system and educate them about the possibilities”, he says.