Cognitive

FaceMe facilitates emotional connections powered by AI

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FaceMe AIInsurance claim? There’s an online form for that. Open a new account? Don’t call; fill in an application and email it back. Want a loan? Have a conversation with a chatbot. By going digital, businesses have increased efficiency and driven down costs, but people are wired for connection.

For many businesses, emotional connection has been compromised by digital strategy and efficiency. This has directly impacted brand value, revenue growth and churn. Customers can’t differentiate one brand’s value from another or one form from another. This is called digital commoditization.

Powered by AI, FaceMe’s platform supercharges a brand’s ability to create credible, real-time interactions based on tailored content and memorable personas who build emotional connections with customers using the power of the human face. FaceMe’s platform uses IBM Cloud technologies as well as the high performance of IBM Cloud bare metal servers to ensure the technology is endlessly scalable for one or thousands of concurrent conversations.

FaceMe’s Digital Human Platform is available to customers through kiosks, browsers, mobile and soon, AR/VR. Digital Humans combine the best customer-experience influencers from both man and machine, embodying the brand of an organization and creating significant value through emotional connection, personalization and consistency.

Transforming customer experience

Analysts estimate that within 10 years, 85 percent of customer interactions will be conducted exclusively through digital channels. Mobile apps, web portals and chatbots may be fast and convenient for customers, but businesses must find a way to forge personal connections over these channels if they are to stand out from their competitors.

At FaceMe, we asked, what if there were a way to add a human touch to digital interfaces for more compelling interactions at scale? What if we could bring the power of face-to-face communication into digital channels, and create emotional connections that drive better engagement and brand loyalty?

Drawing on our expertise in computer vision, machine learning, conversational design and real-time animation, we set out to create a platform that enables a chatbot to become an engaging, visual customer experience that creates emotional connection to drive great customer experiences.

Bringing digital channels to life

Our easy-to-integrate APIs use IBM Cloud to ensure omnichannel reliability.

Realistic facial animation requires intensive real-time 3D rendering, so we make heavy use of graphics processing units (GPUs). Choosing IBM Cloud bare metal servers enables us to add the NVIDIA Tesla GPUs of our choice.

A major advantage of the IBM Cloud is that it minimizes end-to-end latency, a key element in achieving responsive, natural-feeling interactions. Our Digital Humans process questions in as little as 100 milliseconds. They can understand the context of the customer’s inquiry, determine the appropriate response, and use real-time animation to provide an emotionally rich reply.

From the user’s perspective, this almost instantaneous response means that the conversation flows and feels natural, meaning customers feel just as comfortable talking to our system as they would speaking to a real human agent.

In practical terms, this means that we can meet the needs of many customers rapidly and in a way that builds engagement while also freeing employees to focus on more complex and rewarding customer-service tasks.

On the software side, IBM Watson gave us a ready-made, best-in-class platform for processing natural language, helping our Digital Humans understand what people are saying to them.

Unlimited potential to enhance the customer experience

Bringing emotional connection into a digital world matters as much in a business context as it does to pressing problems related to health and well-being, education, energy, environment and other domains. We at FaceMe believe that solutions can be found by capitalizing on the unprecedented quantities of data and recent progress in emerging AI technologies. FaceMe is working actively toward solving many of these challenges with its key partners.

Beyond traditional business use cases, FaceMe would also like to see Digital Humans employed in scenarios such as mental health, where patients may not be comfortable interacting with a real human being, or in special-needs education, where people with the right skills may be in short supply.

One in five people are affected by mental health issues, and a big first step is just getting those people to communicate. Our research shows that 63 percent of people would prefer to talk to a Digital Human about mental health challenges, so we have an amazing opportunity to contribute to society.

We’re also working with the Centre for Digital Business to create digital reading coaches who can help children with reading challenges, for which there is currently a shortage of skilled teachers. Another potential use case is providing advice and emotional support to patients recovering from cardiac operations.

IBM and FaceMe technologies are a powerful combination that will transform customer experience, worldwide. IBM Cloud gives us global presence and scale, so there are no limitations on our ambitions and ability to make positive contributions to society by bringing emotional connection into a digital world.

Learn more about how FaceMe is deploying Digital Humans by reading the full case study.

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