“AI augments our capabilities by freeing up our time that is used in data analysis, decision making and automates mundane tasks”
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are going to be the next big thing in the tech world. Taking over other computing technologies in a big way, AI has indeed paved the way for a new era of mobile technology to rise, one that promises to make future mobile phones smarter. To discuss how AI is transforming the paradigm of technology and its applications and what will be its future, Ramesh Kumar Raja talked to Dr Sindhu Joseph, CEO & Co-Founder of CogniCor, a Barcelona (Spain)-headquartered software firm which is delivering services to a number of national and international companies. Dr Sindhu has a Ph.D in Artificial Intelligence from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She is also inventor of 6 US Patents in AI. Her Ph.D thesis in conflict resolution in multi-agent systems inspired her to apply the technology in commercial settings. She was selected as “One of the 3 outstanding Entrepreneurs” by the UK government in 2012. Excerpts:
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are taking over other computing technologies in smartphones in a big way. How important is AI’s role in the ever-evolving tech industry, mobile phones in particular?
AI is transforming the paradigm of how applications are created and how they behave. Until now, products came with predefined logic and hardwired circuits. However, today we are seeing increasingly personalized products that adapt to the user and learn to work better by incorporating feedback from user. From smart robots that clean our homes and learn to navigate obstacles to conversational chatbots that can give us advice on a range of things, AI is invading our lives and is set to make a lasting change. Smartphones enable us to access conversational apps from the messaging system of our choice.
How is AI helpful to our way of life? Is there any data risk that AIs have access to?
AI augments our capabilities by freeing up our time that is used in data analysis, decision making and automates mundane tasks. Due to the ability of machine learning algorithms to learn and train themselves, it can be hyper personalized to our ways of behaviour. Thus, AI based devices can recommend products and services that suits our lifestyle, social preferences and goals. It does this by collecting and analyzing our data – which includes the way we talk about things, the sites we visit, the products we shop online, our spending patterns and our financial transactions.
In other words, we need to open up a lot of our personal data for the algorithms to work. There are risks involved, if the data belongs to sensitive information such as financial or health records or our personal details. However, such risks can be minimized if we use the products/services with the right security precautions.
How did the idea of starting CogniCor strike you and how does its AI assistance pan out in the current market condition?
When I finished my PhD in artificial intelligence, I was looking for an opportunity to apply my learning. As I was a frequent traveler, I came across various situations where I experienced terrible customer service. These experiences made me think of the reason for this and it is then that I realized the companies don’t have tools to help customers. We are stuck with decades old systems such as call centers. Thus CogniCor was born, in 2012. Today we help several companies deliver AI-enabled assistance in pre-sales and post-sales scenarios. The market today is changing fast and adoption of AI technologies is at a frenetic pace. There is strong demand by enterprises to offer personalized chat bots for pre sales and service as well as empowering customer service executives.
Who are your major clients and what services you are offering to them?
Our major clients are in financial sector where we help deliver cognitive chatbots to banks and insurance companies. OCBC Bank, in Singapore recently announced that they were able to generate new mortgages to the tune of $30 Million using CogniCor’s chatbot. Similarly, we sell around 30 insurance policies per month fully using chatbot.
What is its USP and how CogniCor stands out from other existing players in the space?
Our biggest differentiator is our platform built with cognitive technology that allows anyone to setup virtual agents without advanced knowledge of AI. While existing players offer solutions that is tuned to building simple chatbots, our platform enables enterprises to build complex user journeys driven by chatbots.
What is the monetization model you are employing currently and what kind of traction it is getting? We win when our customers save money and satisfy their clients. This allows us to focus our efforts in delivering ROI (Return on investment) for customers. This model is proven to be of great traction.
What is the market size and opportunity you are eyeing?
Intelligent Virtual assistant market is worth $12 Billion by 2024, according to Grand View Research , and CogniCor would be a key player in this new market by deploying to enterprises in Asia, Europe and North America in multiple sectors and languages.
How do you look at the future of AI beyond smartphones and smart homes?
The future of AI will be one characterized by pervasive use of it in our lives and levels of cognition and reasoning capability that is virtually indistinguishable from that of humans. Thus advances in medical fields such as helping disabled and elderly will be performed by AI. Robotic surgeons will do precision surgeries.
What are your future plans and target to help advance technological growth in India as well as the world?
CogniCor is currently growing fast, with operations in three continents and taking new strategic partners as we go. We are currently closing our series A fund raising to fuel this growth. Our vision is to enable any business, large or small to engage seamlessly with their customers 24×7.