Introduction

 

Defining terms: “Natural language” and “digital assistants”  
Artificial Intelligence and Digital Assistants  
Using this report  
Digital Assistants: Categories  
A major trend  
Surveys suggesting solid growth  
Accuracy and performance trends  
Picking vendors that match your goals  
Market segments  
Customer-facing options  
Employee-facing options  
Information delivery and consumer services  
“Hubs” to the Internet of Things  
Automobiles  
Physical embodiments  
Digital assistants in marketing/advertising  
Specialized services  
The general personal assistants  
Alibaba’s AliGenie  
Aigoai’s Aigo  
Amazon’s Alexa  
Apple’s Siri  
Baidu’s Duer  
China Mobile’s Lingxi Voice Assistant  
Cisco Spark and Cisco Tropo 
Facebook Messenger and “M” digital assistant  
Gatebox’s Azuma Hikari 
Google Assistant, Allo, and Home  
Jibo’s Jibo  
Kik’s Kik 
Line’s Clova  
Microsoft’s Cortana  
Microsoft international bots  
Nuance’s Dragon Assistant  
Orange’s Djingo  
Rokid Me  
Samsung’s Bixby  
Sherpa’s Sherpa 
SoundHound’s Hound  
SK Telecom NUGU  
Slack’s Slackbot  
Telegram  
Tencent portable speaker  
Yandex’s Alice   
Yeelight Voice Assistant  


The technology: Where we are and where 

we’re heading  

The Conversational User Interface 
Expanding the concept of a digital assistant  
Natural Language Interpretation  
Speech recognition  
Text-to-speech  
Speaker recognition and authentication 
Examples of deployed digital assistants  
Customer service assistants, chatbots, and information service lines  
Domino’s Pizza has its ordering assistant answer the phone  
Interactive virtual assistant for Shell answers questions about auto lubricants  
Italian Bank provides a virtual reality visit to the bank  
Indian bank launches customer service voice assistant “Keya”  
Japanese bank SMFG to roll out chatbots to handle customer queries  
Hyatt uses conversational reservations application  
Bank of America rolling out chatbot  
Telefonica used Microsoft cloud technology to build a conversational agent  
Dallas information service uses natural language understanding from Nuance Communications  
Arizona power utility customer service uses virtual assistant in English or Spanish  
UK Bank deploys natural language customer service effectively and efficiently using Cyara’s natural-language testing tool 
Swedbank virtual assistant handles % of transactional calls  
Digital assistant for Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel in London acts as part of the hotel staff  

Chatbots on web sites  

Indian bank introduces voice/text chatbot  
Aurora Health Care introduces symptom checker chatbot  
Gambling company Kindred uses chatbot on Facebook  
Cove to introduce insurance chatbot in New Zealand  
PolicyBazaar conversational chatbot helps with insurance inquiries  
Strayer University’s virtual assistant assists “non-traditional” students  
Uniqlo mobile chatbot helps with its retail sales 
Shell Lubricants provides chatbot for its business customers  
Suncorp is using IBM Watson in its online motor claims system  
Clothing retailer The North Face uses text chatbot to help customers find items online  
UBank launches chatbot for home loan applications using IBM Watson technology 
Vodafone UK launches chatbot for customer service using IBM Watson supported by agents  
Sears Auto Center uses IBM NLP to help customers find the right tires  
Thomson provides travel advice with a chatbot 
Financial services firm USAA has a virtual assistant for smartphones and the Web 
US Citizenship and Immigration Services launches a virtual assistant  
IBM employee inquiries regarding its health plan  

Mobile apps 

Bank of America launches virtual assistant to its  million mobile clients  
Clinc provides a Turkish bank with a digital assistant for its customers   
Minnesota’s Mall of America provides a chatbot to help with shopping  
Waze navigation app adds a voice interface  
Mesa, Arizona, deploys text chatbot for self-service  
Capital One launches a natural language chatbot  
Rare Carat chatbot recommends diamond purchases  
Air New Zealand chatbot assists customers with common queries  
Varo’s mobile banking assistant  
Orange TV mobile app in France  
Shiseido conversational beauty app  
USAA introduces a mobile virtual assistant “Savings Coach”  
ING Netherlands bank launches mobile voice biometrics payment system with its mobile personal assistant 
Virgin Media mobile app in Ireland  
Specialized digital assistants reached through the general digital assistants  
Amazon Alexa Skills 
Google Assistant Actions  
Microsoft Cortana skills  
Apple Siri outside apps 

Connected devices  

iRobot Roomba vacuuming robot adds Alexa integration  
Whirlpool to let Amazon Alexa control home appliances and uses Amazon Dash for ordering household supplies  
Google Home can control enabled Sony speakers and TVs by voice through the Google Assistant  
Sony K HDR televisions with Android TV now work with the Google Assistant  
DISH voice remote control  
Speak Music introduces a hands-free Alexa device for autos  
Shanghai subway to use Alibaba speech recognition and facial recognition  
HP adds voice control of its printers by Alexa  
ProKNX home automation system with Google Assistant supports seniors in distress  
Sensory provides “Hello Vantage” wake word for Avaya’s Vantage Phone  
Logitech adds Amazon’s Alexa skills to its ZeroTouch voice-control smartphone mount for a car  
Bot Colony videogame leverages NLU technology  
My Friend Cayla voice-interactive doll banned from stores in Germany  
UBTECH robot incorporates Alexa  
Vobot introduces Alexa-enabled clock  
Brookfield Residential teams with Amazon to create the smart home  
LG home hub includes Alexa voice interaction to connect to smart appliances  
LG’s Airport Guide Robot can answer questions in multiple languages  
ONvocal ships Bluetooth earphones that work through an app to access Amazon’s Alexa, including music services 
IBM and Rice University experiment with Multipurpose Eldercare Robot Assistant  
Sugr integrates Alexa into its WiFi speaker system  
Control will support Google Home, Google Assistant for IoT voice control using IFTTT 
Yonomi home control app now integrated with Apple Watch 
Emotech home device interacts by conversation 
TCL launches Xess home hub with Amazon’s Alexa  
LingLong DingDong voice-activated smart home speaker launched in China  
IBM Watson IoT technology deployed in “cognitive” hospital rooms 
Vuzix uses Sensory speech recognition and speaker verification in smart glasses  
An academic advisor  
Softbank’s Pepper Robot in enterprise applications 
CogniToys toy dinosaur can conduct a spoken conversation 
Microsoft’s “Connected Room” lets visitors to hotels get acclimated by voice  

Bots on messaging services  

Matchcom is expanding its dating assistant’s features and speech recognition 
Jubilee Insurance launches Facebook Messenger chatbot in Kenya  
Plum chatbot helps with savings and now investments  
Chatbot supports Philippines national social welfare program  
Kia chatbot for Facebook Messenger will tell you all about their cars  
LEGO chatbot for Facebook Messenger helped with Christmas shopping 
Louis Vuitton “virtual advisor” for Facebook Messenger  
KLM launches Facebook Messenger chatbot for flight booking  
Lidl UK launches wine chatbot in the UK  
Jetstar multi-channel virtual assistant  
Marvel Comics launches chatbot  
UCLA creates a chatbot for radiology consulting  
Chatbot in India designed to increase voter engagement  
WATConsult’s new chatbot will discuss the company’s history and describe job opportunities 
UPS launches chatbot in a step toward using conversational services  
Pizza Hut chatbot for Facebook Messenger and Twitter 
Whole Foods chatbot for Facebook Messenger finds recipes for customers  
TheScore chatbot provides scores  

NBA  

Dyme financial chatbot  
ModiFace beauty advisor  
Employee-facing digital assistants  
Macaw Speech supports call center agents with natural language content search 
iEnterprises introduces Customer Relationship Management  
Allstate’s chatbot answers calls for call center agents  
Vanderbilt University Medical Center creates voice assistant for its Electronic Health Record software  
CrushBank uses IBM Watson AI to help IT help desks  
UBank’s cognitive assistant RoboBrain used by customer service agents  
LogiNext adds voice-controlled automation of its logistics services 

Automobiles  

Volkswagen’s planned electric cars use voice for control and digital assistant  
Hyundai to deploy voice “Intelligent Personal Agent” in its automobiles  
Nuance’s Dragon Drive to be in new Mercedes A-Class 
Baidu to work with Ford China on a new in-vehicle system  
Nuance’s Dragon Drive is the voice interface of SAIC Motor’s Connected Car  
Volvo adds Microsoft Skype for Business and integration with Cortana to its -series cars  
Mercedes-Benz integrates Google Home and Amazon Alexa   
Microsoft Connected Vehicle services with Cortana adopted by Renault-Nissan and BMW  
GM to use IBM Watson technology in its OnStar service 
IBM Watson partnership with BMW will explore the potential of cognitive computing in vehicles, including conversational interfaces  


Advertising  

Companies are using Alexa for advertising  
Sony Pictures uses natural language text interaction to publicize a movie  
Information delivery  
BBC experiments with bots  
Specialized services  
Interpol rolls out international voice identification database using samples from  law enforcement agencies  
Nexgen Public Safety Solutions  
Ada Health raises $M for AI-powered chatbot, telemedicine app  
Optra Health offers a conversational digital genetic assistant 
Appen collected children’s speech data for a “global tech firm”  

Vendors  

Characterizing vendors  
Table of full-service vendors  
Full-service vendor descriptions  
ai  
Acobot  
Active Intelligence (ActiveAi)  
Agentai  
Aigo  
Aivo  
Alibaba  
Alpine  
Amazon  
Anboto Group  
AnswerDash  
Apple  
Artificial Solutions  
Aspect Software  
Assist 
Astound  
Atomic X  
Avaya  
Baidu  
Beacon Broadcasting Network 
Beeline  
Bespoke  
Blueworx  
Bold  
Botanic  
Botégo  
Botescope
BotGenes  
Botsify  
CallVU  
Chatfuel 
ChattyPeople  
Clinc 
CogniCor Technologies 
Cognitive Code Corporation  
Conversable  
Conversationone  
ConverseAI  
Conversable  
Conversica  
Creative Virtual  
Crystal  
CX Company  
Datalog Inc (Datalogai)  
Dexter  
Dialogflow (part of Google)  
DigitalGenius  
Do You Dream Up  
eGain Communications  
Ejenta  
Elafris  
Enacomm  
eXalt  
Facebook  
Fano Labs  
Figure Eight 
Finn AI  
finUNO  
Flamingo 
Flow XO 
Fujitsu 
Google
Guestfriend
Gupshup
H-care
Haptik
Helpshift
Honeywell
Howdy
HubSpot
Humley
IBM
iDAvatars
Imperson
Inbenta Technologies
Incendonet
Inference Solutions
InteliWISE
Intelligent Voice
Interactions
IPsoft
Jacada
Janeai
Jibo
KITTAI
Kiwi, Inc
Koreai
Linc
Line
LivePerson
LiveWorld
Living Actor
LogiNext
LogMeIn
Lucida
LumenVox
Luminai
Marketeer
Massively
MasterCard
Meya
Mezi
Microsoft
Mobilize
Modeai
Morphai
Mozilla
Msgai
MyWave
Next IT
NICE inContact
NoHold
North Side
Nu Echo
Nuance Communications
Octane AI
Ojo Labs
Omilia
OneReach
Openstream
Oracle
Pandorabots
Parlance
PassageAI
Pegasystems
Personetics
Pitney Bowes
Platica
Plum Voice
Progress
PullString
Pypestream
Qurious
Rasa
RedShift
Replyai
Rokid, Inc
Rulai
Sabio
Salesforce
Saleswhale
Samsung Electronics
SAP
Sapien
SapientX
Senseforth
Servicefriend
ServiceNow
Sestek
Signpost
Slack
Smart Alto
SmartAction
SnatchBot
Snips
Soul Machines
SoundHound
Spoke
Spot
Stanusch Technologies
Suki
Sundown AI
Synthetix
Tactai
Talla
Tencent Holdings
Totango
True Image Interactive
Twilio
Ubisend
Unifi Software
Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation (UCIC)
Uniphore Software Systems
Unvired
USAN
Verint Systems
Viv Labs
Volume
Vonage
Voxbone
Voximplant
Voysis
Vymo
Welltok
WysdomAI
xai
XAI
Yandex
Yeelight
Yobe
Zoomai
ZTEsoft
ZUMATA
Table of Niche vendors
Niche vendor descriptions
Acapela Group
Aculab
AISpeech
Amazon
AnsweriQ
Apache Software Foundation
Appen
Applications Technology (AppTek)
Arria NLG
Automation Anywhere
AYLIEN
Baidu
Beyond Verbal
BitextBloomsbury
AIBookingcom
Box
CallMiner
Cambridge Semantics
Capio
Cepstral
CereProc
Chant
Chatbase
Cisco
Clarabridge
Cobalt Speech and Language
Convergys Corporation
Coveo Solutions
Cyara Solutions
Cycorp
Daon
Dashbot
DeePhi Tech
Deeplink
DefinedCrowd
Dialpad
Digital Reasoning
Echosimio
Eigen Technologies
Enterprise Integration Group (EIG)
Equals
Expert System
Fano Labs
Figure Eight
Fluentai
Gabi Solutions
Genesys
Google
GoVivace
Greenwave Systems
Gridspace
Gyst
Haven OnDemand
Helloumi
HOYA
ix̅
iAdvize
IBM
ID R&D
iFLYTEK
InfoTalk
Intelligent Voice
Interactions
Interactive Northwest
Invoca
IVAI
Jstar
Kadho
Kik Interactive
Kimera Systems
Kopin
Kyndi
Lexalytics
Linguamatics
Linguistic Agents
Liv Artificial Intelligence (LivAi)
Luminoso Technologies
M*Modal
Malaspina Labs
Manthan
Marchex
MATRIX Labs
Mobvoi
Mycroft
Narrative Science
NeoSpeech
Nokia
NoteSwift
NTENT
NTT Communications
Nuance Communications
Nvidia
OpenAI
Palantir Technologies
Pat Inc
Pindrop
PolyVista
PublicisSapient
Pulse Labs
Qualcomm
QuickLogic
Radish Communications Systems
RaRe Technologies
Raytheon BBN Technologies
Rebotme
Replika
Replyai
Rhiza
Roxy Device (formerly Cue)
Rubidium
Salesforce
Seed Vault Ltd (SEED)
Segway Robotics
Semantic Machines
SemanticEdge
Sensory, Inc
Sestek
Sherpa
Siliconic Home
SoftBank Robotics
SoundHound
Spare
Speakeasy AI
Speech Morphing
Speech Technology Center
SpeechIQ
Speechmatics
SpitchSynaptics
Systran Software
Talla
Telegram
TensorFlow
TiVo
Uniphore Software Systems
Valossa Labs
Verbio
Verint Systems
Veritone
Vesper
VocaliD
Voci Technologies
VoiceBase
VoiceIt Technologies
Voicery
VoiceVantage
VoiceVault
Voxist
WC Multimodal Interaction Working Group
Witai
Witlingo
Wolfram Research
Xavient
XMOS
Yactraq
Yobe
Appendix: Vendors in this report
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