For the first consumer-facing application of IBM's Watson cognitive computing technology, USAA, the insurance and financial services firm that caters to the military and their families, is using Watson to advise customers on the financial transition from military to civilian life.
USAA is offering IBM's Watson Engagement Advisor in a pilot to help serve military men and women in this transition. By accessing Watson, USAA members will be able to ask questions related to the transition experience. IBM Watson analyzed and understands more than 3,000 documents on topics exclusive to military transitions, enabling members to ask and receive answers to separation-related questions.
"This is a continuation of our journey to deliver meaningful advice to our members on digital platforms," Shon Manasco, executive vice president of member experience at USAA, said in a statement. "And it reinforces our commitment to finding innovative and distinctive ways to make our members' lives easier. Through this experience, we expect to learn how intelligent assistants like IBM Watson can help service members who may not know exactly where or how to start the daunting transition process."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 155,000 active military members transition to civilian life each year. Like any career change, moving from a military to a civilian career presents challenges to members and their families. During this initial phase, transitioning military members can visit usaa.com or use a mobile browser to "Ask Watson" questions specific to leaving the military, such as "What is the best way to write a resume?" or "How do I make the most of the Post-9/11 GI Bill?" As a result, Watson combs through volumes of USAA's business data to provide answers to members' inquiries with confidence while gaining value and experience over time.
IBM and USAA are working together to redefine how a digital assistant interacts, learns and gains value over time by creating exceptional digital experiences.
"Putting Watson into the hands of consumers is a critical milestone toward improving how we work and live," Mike Rhodin, senior vice president, IBM Watson Group, said in a statement. "USAA's innovative application is a prime example of how Watson's cognitive intellect has the potential to empower individuals and organizations. Today's announcement is a great testament to USAA, which prides itself in customer engagement and brand loyalty. We believe this new service can help men and women who served their country gain timely and relevant insights into the steps they need to successfully move to civilian life."
IBM says the rise of the digital consumer has spawned a range of online, mobile and social media consumer trends that require organizations to deepen their interactions with customers and transform the way they provide marketing, sales and service. Consumers expect brands to know them individually, deliver personalized interactions and self-service options any time, any place.
The IBM Watson Engagement Advisor can help transform the way individuals and companies interact over the lifetime of a relationship. It can be used by customer service agents or can sit directly in the hands of consumers delivered through the cloud and via mobile devices.
Watson Engagement Advisor offers organizations the ability to help meet growing customer expectations as organizations seek to better understand customers based on their past history; engage individuals wherever, whenever, and however they choose; and gain insights from big data to make evidence-based, informed decisions.
Watson's ability to understand natural language is core to its capability as an engagement advisor. Part of IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative, the newest capabilities of IBM Watson, are a natural fit for customer engagement, based on its ability to understand the nuances of human language, process questions akin to the way people think, and quickly cull through vast amounts of big data for relevant, evidence-based responses to its human users' needs.