S1 and Edify introduce virtual voice banking agent 'Kate'

Source: S1

S1 Corporation (Nasdaq: SONE), a leading provider of integrated front-office applications for financial institutions, and its subsidiary Edify Corporation, a leading global supplier of voice and speech solutions, today introduced the next generation of its speech application for the financial services industry.

The jointly developed voice banking solution gives retail banks and credit unions cost-effective, speech-based ways to automate user authentication, merchant funds verification, and branch/ATM locator help, without assistance from a live agent. The product's expanded features bring all the needed functionality to replace existing touchtone systems deployed in retail financial institutions. The speech application helps banks enhance their brand in the voice channel with a friendly and knowledgeable persona named "Kate".

This advanced speech application is available standalone, known as Edify Voice Banking 2.0, or integrated on the S1 Enterprise Platform, known as S1 Enterprise Voice Banking 2.0. The new solution is one of nine applications of S1 Enterprise, which uniquely helps financial institutions reduce costs, leverage technology investments, increase revenue opportunities, and improve customer satisfaction by providing a unified, actionable view of their customers, systems and businesses.

Fierce competition and industry consolidation have financial institutions looking at new ways to cut costs and differentiate themselves from the pack without compromising top-notch customer service. While touchtone Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems have been deployed by most banks to reduce operating costs, most transactions are still completed by live agents. This enhanced voice banking solution gives banks a humanized brand persona that allows more complex transactions to be completed in self-service, further reducing operating costs. The persona "Kate" is a virtual agent that possesses all of the characteristics that customers want a live agent to have when dealing with their money. Kate was developed to come across as knowledgeable and trustworthy and can be further customized to match a bank's unique brand. As a packaged application, the solution is built on speech best practices delivering the level of quality needed to draw customers into higher usage, leading to higher return on investment for banks and improved levels of satisfaction for calling customers.

Based on industry standards such as VoiceXML and SALT, the voice banking application eliminates financial institution's concerns about functionality and compatibility. The application brings together a proven software platform, application support and voice services in conjunction with knowledgeable industry experts. Voice self-service works with questions such as mother's maiden name and date of birth, and enables merchants to verify funds in a customer account at the time of purchase. In addition, banking customers can now ask for the locations of banking branches and ATMs via speech recognition technology.

"As financial institutions continue to add functionality by replacing touch-tone with speech, they are asking how complete the solution is, how easily and completely does it integrate with existing data systems and technology infrastructures, and does it adhere to open-standards support?" said Nancy Jamison, principal analyst at Jamison Consulting. "The joint S1-Edify voice banking solution helps financial firms minimize risk, expedite deployment and reduce total cost of ownership."

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