IBM and Harman: voice activation solutions intuitively engages customers
Today at World of Watson, IBM and Harman have announced a partnership to bring intuitive voice-activated, intelligent assistance to hotels, offices and hospitals throughout the world.
For 60 years, Harman has been a well-known provider of audio, video, lighting and control systems for prestigious venues worldwide. The company is a leader in designing interfaces that are intuitive, easy to use, and adaptable to specific surroundings and use cases.
Now Harman and IBM have come together to address the problem of customer engagement: providing intelligent, adaptable solutions based on IoT and cognitive computing to help make the lives of patients, guests and professionals easier.
The challenge: when technological solutions don’t suit the environment
In a technologically crowded world, it is becoming more and more difficult to engage effectively with the people we seek to interact with; whether those people are our customers, patients or even co-workers.
Part of the problem is the lack of time for personal interaction – particularly within a hospital environment, where 80% of physicians describe themselves as overextended or at capacity. The non-urgent or non-life-threatening needs of patients naturally take a backseat. Meanwhile, the patients themselves may feel uncomfortable or anxious in their hospital room – unsure how to use the TV, change the lights, the temperature or call for help when they need it.
On the other side of the spectrum, a hotel room might have various high-tech amenities that don’t necessarily suit the preferences of needs of the guests. Hotels have lots of information about the individuals staying with them, but do not necessarily marry the two assets effectively.
The solution: intelligent, customized assistance
IBM and Harman are doing pioneering work to bring voice-activated technology to patients’ rooms at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Patients can use voice commands to adjust the feel of their room, altering the temperature, turning out the lights or even asking whether their test results have come in yet. The cognitive system is able to respond to their enquiries based on the huge depth of built-in knowledge about the hospital itself, the room, the connected devices within the room, the employees, and much more. The voice-activated assistant can tend to many of their non-medical needs, freeing up medical professionals when they are most needed.
In the hospitality industry the voice-activated assistant provides a virtual concierge; addressing each guest by name, making personalized recommendations and controlling objects in the room so that guests can create a comfortable environment that suits them.
The solution isn’t one-size-fits-all, and it develops over time. Because Watson is a cognitive system, it can be trained with a body of knowledge that is ever-expanding – constantly adapting to changes in the environment and providing new solutions with the most up-to-date information.
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