I’ve got a tech crush on Siri, Cortana and Alexa. I love them not for what they can do now, but what they’ll be able to do for me soon. Let’s be honest, none of them can hold a candle to Rosie from the Jetsons. While virtual assistant technologies are becoming pervasive in our personal lives, they still can only help us set a reminder, find a restaurant or save us a few clicks to call our friends. Rosie was helpful in the home, on the go and even in George Jetson’s office at Spacely Space Sprockets. Much like the promise of flying cars, we’re not quite there yet when it comes to virtual assistants. We are getting closer, though.
To be truly useful to me, a virtual assistant needs to help not just in my personal life, but in my job. My management team and I have to make serious business decisions every day that impact our company, our customers and employees. It’s in this context that we started to explore ways to help make virtual assistants useful in business. At Rhiza, we build tools that enable companies to use large amounts of data to drive better decisions. To do this, we’ve spent years building software tools that make it easier and easier for people who aren’t geeks to access, explore and present data.
To date, we’ve built some of the most powerful, yet easy-to-use tools for analysts and researchers to explore data across hundreds of really big datasets like every car registration over the past five years + minute-by-minute television viewing behavior across millions of households + consumer surveys + sensor data + … you get the idea! It turns out that better reports and dashboards still aren’t easy enough for sales, marketing and management-types to use, so we built special self-serve apps that are so simple, even a CEO can use them. Thousands of users at large companies like Comcast, Cox Media, AutoTrader and the BBC use Rhiza to increase sales, tailor their marketing activities and even drive product development decisions.
But in reality, as easy as Rhiza is, we still require a person to type into a computer or mobile device and navigate what can be fairly technical user interface. For the past year, we’ve undertaken a large R&D effort to help our business users accomplish what they really want from using data: getting answers. The challenge has been to find a way for our users to ask Rhiza common business questions and get a direct answer or recommendation for action.
By marrying natural language processing and artificial intelligence with Rhiza’s powerful data analytics engine, we’ve created a core technology we affectionately call Rhizabot, your virtual assistant for business analytics. Check out the video we created below.
Things you’ll be able to do with Rhizabot
There are countless number of business questions you’ll be able to ask the Rhizabot, by speaking or typing phrases like:
- What states/counties/neighborhoods do my best customers live in?
- What video content is most popular with millennials who fly on ______ airline? (or who shop at ___ store)
- Tell me something interesting about people who do yoga? (or: play tennis, plan to buy a car, remodel their house, etc)
- Who are my biggest competitors?
- What websites are most effectively reaching my target customers?
- Send me those results (via email, text, etc)
Users will be able to set targets, query arbitrary datasets and control visualization outputs, as well.
What the future holds for the Rhizabot
While the Rhizabot currently works through any web browser, it’s built in a way that should allow us to fully integrate it with all of the most popular virtual assistant platforms like Siri, Cortana and Alexa as their APIs become more robust. This means that Rhiza customers can use any device or interface that runs on those platforms.