The people behind Siri have created a new, business-centric voice assistant

SRI International, the team behind the technology that later became Apple’s Siri voice assistant feature in iOS, has announced a new product that it says “aims to improve the consumer experience on mobile devices through intelligent conversation.” Kasisto will be a similar intelligent voice assistant but the company will open it up to business customers to integrate into their own apps: “Virtual personal assistant technology has revolutionized consumer interaction with mobile devices,” said Norman Winarsky, Ph.D., vice president, SRI Ventures. “Now consumers expect a more human-like experience when interacting online. Kasisto represents a new user experience, one that is context aware, personalized, and more effective.”

Siri’s starting work — or at least something like that. SRI International, the brains behind the Siri standalone app bought by Apple back in 2010, has announced the creation of Kasisto, a business version of Apple’s virtual assistant. Kasisto will enable companies to integrate their own branded Siri-style assistants within apps, providing a way of letting helping consumers navigate complex tasks through a conversational Artificial Intelligence program. While SRI International has yet to release many details, this means that it should be possible to harness the regular Siri interactions for more specialized tasks within apps, allowing specific businesses to “train” their own version of Siri to become an expert in a variety of areas, from medical advice to, say, movie rentals. The product was unveiled officially at yesterday’s FinTech Innovation Lab Demo Day in New York City, with multinational banking group BBVA among Kasisto’s first customers. Promising a robust SDK, SRI notes how Kasisto can be added within mobile apps within “days or weeks instead of months – and at a fraction of the cost of solutions currently on the market.”


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