Workgrid Software explain the Intelligent Workplace full of AI

  • The Intelligent Workplace will be supported by a pervasive artificial intelligence (AI) that underpins all kinds of recognisable processes and products. That was the contention of Workgrid Software’s Gillian McCann and Gillian Armstrong who presented some of their business’s work at Digital DNA.

    AI is not just one technology. It spans many different subfields, including robotics, speech, natural language processing, expert systems, machine learning, planning and vision. 

    Chatbots are also on the rise, from text based instant messaging auto-repliers through smart speakers and even virtual agents answering calls and providing answers in call centres. 

    McCann noted that while the uptake of mobile phones was rapid in comparison with other technologies, the consumer uptake of smart speakers is even faster. Gartner predict that 75% of US households will have smart speakers by 2020. Already by Q2 of 2018, 10% of UK households have a device in their homes, and there is a growth in confidence of people willing to talk to electronic devices.

    Workgrid Software is a startup within Liberty Mutual. The Digital DNA audience were able to hear a recording of a Liberty Mutual call centre virtual agent conversation with an external customer with a simple insurance query. 

    A call centre chatbot costs just £4.50/day to run, and Liberty Mutual estimate that their initial relatively simple use cases will save their insurance business around £2.2m in the first year. They also don’t sleep, make business process interfaces accessible through natural language, expand call centre capacity and also save money. 

    Workgrid has grown out of an internally-built intelligent workplace platform that is used by the 50,000 employees of Liberty Mutual and Liberty IT. Employee calls to the IT helpdesk to fix locked mobile phones typically trapped an employee and staff at the helpdesk into a 15-minute conversation. Now it’s a 60-second online chat, with a 93% reduction in cost and a 10% increase in employee satisfaction.

    The helpdesk is just one of the many use cases that the digital assistant takes care of, being able to answer questions and take actions across HR and finance systems, as well as common intranet searches. Given the cost and productivity savings, together with the response employees have given the tool, Workgrid has set out to provide the same solution as a SaaS product for other companies.

    However, AI is still at early stages. Armstrong warns that natural language processing is incredibly complex. Voice solutions need to be able to detect the difference between ‘wreck a nice beach’ and ‘recognise speech’, never mind understand all the different meanings that the word ‘over’ can convey in a sentence. Even with these limitations, the benefits are clear. 

    These tools will become more common and accepted in internal and external business transactions, and Liberty and Workgrid Software are ready to put AI to work in both.

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