Vodafone reveals identity of its Digital Assistant

26 October 2018

Vodafone today revealed the identity of the newest member of its team, a Digital Assistant.  Introducing Kiri. She’s down-to-earth, easy to talk to, warm and empathetic. Kiri is tech savvy and loves to help customers get the most out of their products and services.

In a Kiwi-first, customers will be able to interact with Kiri in-store later this year. 

Kiri’s strikingly life-like appearance relies on real time rendering and AI, using FaceMe’s latest techniques in machine learning based animation to produce a compelling experience. Skin texture such as pores and lines are carefully sculpted, and light reflection and roughness have been detailed by FaceMe’s artists.

The result is a one-of-a-kind Digital Assistant tailored specifically for Vodafone’s Kiwi audience.

Vodafone Customer Operations Director Helen van Orton describes the customer-led process of bringing Kiri to life.

“Customers tell us they want the experience of engaging with a Digital Assistant to be seamless, emotive and engaging – characteristics that are critical for creating trust. Customers want to feel valued and that their needs are taken care of.

“Kiri will help out with routine tasks so that our retail staff can help solve more challenging issues for clients. The technology also has the potential to create whole new job categories where frontline employees monitor conversations to continuously improve them, creating brand new professions in our evolving digital world,” van Orton said.

Natural, engaging interaction requires a less than 200 millisecond response time. Kiri’s processing has been optimised for speed and accuracy to create an experience that feels instantaneous. Computer vision technology allows Kiri to ‘see’ and behave like humans. For example, using her situational awareness system, Kiri can naturally respond when people walk up to her, and greet them proactively.

FaceMe CEO Danny Tomsett believes emotional connection is key for interaction.

“FaceMe has analysed what creates great experiences and which human qualities we need to reproduce – and supercharge – using AI technology. Through advanced Digital Human EQ combined with the IBM Watson conversational platform, we have created a great customer experience that leaves people feeling deeply content and satisfied with each conversation,” Tomsett said.

Kiri is currently in training and will start working in select Vodafone retail stores later this year.

“I’m really excited about my new role at Vodafone and to talk to our customers. I’m still learning, but in future I want to answer those complicated technical questions. I can’t wait to meet everyone!” Kiri said.

Vodafone reveals identity of its Digital Assistant