Report: Amazon is bringing Alexa to call centers


Amazon Web Services is developing a commercial version of Alexa designed to manage call centers, according to a report from The Information.

The report claims the Alexa-powered platform, currently code-named “Lily,” will be able to answer some questions asked by incoming phone calls as well as via text message with the support of Lex, a chatbot building service that uses the same deep-learning technology as Alexa, and text-to-speech program Polly.

The software is claimed to be designed to be completely self-service from a caller’s perspective, although companies that deploy the platform will still need to hire actual human beings to take calls that require a more personalized response. In addition, Lily is said to integrate with Inc.’s cloud software, and can generate real-time access to a customer’s call history.

Lily is apparently being readied for a release sometime in March. The news about a potential Alexa-powered product for call centers follows a report from Time Feb. 27 that claimed that Amazon has been developing a feature that would allow Alexa to distinguish between individual users based on their voices using a voice sample, or “voice print,” to verify a person’s identity.

That report claimed that its primary purpose at this stage would allow Alexa-powered Echo speakers to differentiate between a primary account holder versus a user; for example, a parent’s voice would be required to make a credit card purchase. But that ability would have natural potential in a call center environment as well in being able to potentially identify callers based on the way they speak.

Both sound like positive steps forward for the e-commerce giant on a day that a rare fault with the data storage service run by Amazon Web Services suffered widespread outages, making hundreds of websites unavailable and disrupting services used by millions of people and companies.

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