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Datacom's Aussie AI deployment makes waves internationally

IP Australia’s chatbot was one of the projects to come away with top honours at the Fourth Annual Intelligent Assistant Awards in San Francisco

An artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot project carried out by Datacom for IP Australia in partnership with Nuance Communications has just won international recognition.

IP Australia’s chatbot, Alex, was one of the projects to come away with top honours at the Fourth Annual Intelligent Assistant Awards in San Francisco on 18 September.

Alex is Nuance Communications' virtual assistant, and was deployed by New Zealand-headquartered IT services firm, Datacom, which also helped IP Australia to design the conversation strategy, website and web-chat integration, alongside the core content that underpins Alex’s answers.

According to Opus Research lead analyst, Dan Miller, Datacom’s deployment distinguished itself by demonstrating how a virtual agent can support the broader digital transformation initiatives of an IP-related government agency. Opus Research is the company behind the Annual Intelligent Assistant Awards.

“Alex was developed as a result of feedback from our customers and as part of our plan to continuously improve our online content,” IP Australia director general, Patricia Kelly, said.

“Given the high volume of enquiries and the opportunity for a high volume of IP self-fillers, especially in trademarks, a virtual assistant in this area was ideal in assisting them to navigate Australia’s IP system. It’s important that we can, as an agency, deliver on our customers’ wants and needs.”

According to Datacom, Alex was the first integrated intelligent assistant and web-chat digital experience to be integrated in an Australian Government agency.

Since its adoption, customer’s interactions through digital channels have grown from 12 per cent to 99.6 per cent in the past four years. IP Australia gets more than 800,000 customer interactions a year, Alex has supported over 50,000 customer interactions.

The use of the AI has also driven customer satisfaction rates up to 84 per cent.

“We are very pleased that the industry-leading work we have been doing in intelligent assistant integration has been recognised internationally,” Datacom Connect director, Stacey Tomasoni, said.

“We have worked closely with IP Australia on the highly successful implementation of Alex in order to enhance their customer experience offering.”

“While the AI [artificial intelligence] technology is truly innovative, it’s really about how we can expand the customer experience and put the customer first. Through continually refining this approach, the experience Alex provides goes from strength to strength.”

Alex went live in May 2016 and it responds to customer’s queries directly via IP Australia’s website and Facebook page.

“IP Australia’s Alex is continually evolving to have meaningful conversations with customers, this award is a testament to IP Australia’s commitment to providing the very best in digital customer service,” Nuance Australia and New Zealand managing director, Robert Schwarz, said.