UPDATED 13:57 EDT / SEPTEMBER 19 2018

CLOUD

Salesforce takes AI assistants deeper into the enterprise with Einstein Voice

Ahead of its big Dreamforce conference next week, Salesforce.com Inc. today introduced a service called Einstein Voice that could give the so-far sluggish enterprise adoption of artificial intelligence assistants a boost. 

The main component of the offering is Einstein Assistant. It’s an AI modeled after consumer services such as Amazon Alexa that will enable workers to interact with Salesforce’s customer relationship management platform using spoken commands.

On launch, much of Einstein Assistant’s feature set is geared toward streamlining the flow of sales information. The service aims to free up some of the time that users currently spend on locating and managing customer details in Salesforce.

Instead of having to navigate manually to a particular record or analytics dashboard, it’s now possible to retrieve data using a straightforward spoken command. Users may chain multiple requests together if they need Einstein Assistant to read out a specific data point within a file. For instance, a worker could have the AI fetch a regional business group’s quarterly sales figures from the company’s annual revenue report.

The support for manual lookups is complemented by what Salesforce calls Daily Briefings. Einstein Assistant can give users a rundown of business developments, to-do items and other important information every morning. Companies may personalize the feature for different workers to ensure that they’re receiving relevant updates. 

Beyond merely accessing data, Einstein Assistant makes it possible to update records and add new ones. The AI has a transcription function that lets workers dictate changes to the information in their companies’ Salesforce deployments. The same feature can be used to log a new to-do item or notify a colleague about a new development.

To ensure a smooth experience for users, Salesforce said it has equipped Einstein Assistant with the ability to understand unique terms and idioms. Specifically, it’s built to recognize company or industry-specific jargon that a salesperson might use in the context of a deal to convey an important detail.

Salesforce is bringing the AI to market alongside alongside Einstein Voice Bots, the other component of the Einstein Voice service. It’s tool that enables companies to build their own custom voice apps for Alexa and Google Assistant.

The offering joins Salesforce’s growing lineup of low-code development offerings, which allow business users with limited technical know-how to create customized software. Apps created with Einstein Voice Bots can interact with data in the company’s cloud services to perform tasks such as answering customer questions and updating reservations.

Image: Salesforce

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