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IBM adds new features to Watson Assistant

New capabilities will help businesses quickly set up IntelePeer voice agents, perform seamless bot-to-agent handoffs, and more

IBM logo on the side of a building

IBM has announced several enhancements to Watson Assistant, enabling businesses to provide better customer service across touchpoints.

New features, including artificial intelligence (AI) and automation capabilities, will reportedly help brands resolve customer queries promptly and at first contact.

Commenting on the addition of voice support, IBM said IntelePeer’s Atmosphere Communications Platform is now available as an add-on in Watson Assistant. Plus and Enterprise plan subscribers have the option to set up telephone numbers and voice capabilities for their virtual agents.

If a business already has a contact center phone system, IntelePeer will integrate Watson Assistant with existing call center systems via industry-standard protocols. In partnership with IntelePeer, IBM also developed a smart agent app to enable seamless handoffs between bots and live agents.

IBM's speech recognition models provide near-real-time transcriptions of customer conversations. Customer service representatives can readily view and access the latest transcripts during handoffs with the new agent app, resulting in reduced response times.

"One critical challenge facing nearly every business today is the need to better communicate with their customers and employees across all channels," said Daniel Hernandez, general manager of data and AI at IBM. 

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Hernandez added, "We're continuously delivering new innovations in natural language processing, automation and advancing responsible AI, and building a strong, open ecosystem with partners like IntelePeer to help businesses transform customer care with Watson Assistant."

Furthermore, Watson Assistant's Search Skill now includes a short-answer retrieval function. Backed by IBM Research’s robust question-answering (QA) system, the new feature enables virtual agents to articulate answers in a few words from longer sentences or paragraphs, while also citing source and context.

Lastly, FAQ extraction is generally available on Search Skill. Using this feature, administrators can sync virtual agents with broader sources of information, reducing the need for constant manual updates.

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