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IBM’S Supercomputer May Replace Call Centre Staff

Indication has emerged that Wastson, an International Business Machine (IBM)-powered supercomputer may be used to replace telcos call centre management staff, banking, healthcare, e-commerce and other service providers due to the high cost of executing business, shortage of experts, and other issues in Nigeria.


Debbie Botha, senior managing consultant at IBM, mooted the idea while speaking at ITWeb Business Intelligence Summit 2015 in Midrand, stressing that Contact centres can overcome some of the challenges they face by tapping into the power of Watson.


He explained that Watson is an artificially intelligent computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language.


In January, 2014, IBM launched the IBM Watson Group, ten months later the Group announced the availability of the cognitive-infused Watson Explorer, which has provides organizations the ability to quickly use natural language processing capabilities and data exploration to discover valuable business information in both structured and unstructured data.


According to Botha, Watson presents opportunity for contact centres in a world where clients are sharing more information on social media platforms.


“Clients expect to be served wherever, whenever and however they choose to interact, and they are growing frustrated with the lack of personalised interaction from contact centres, yet companies are still struggling to take advantage of the changing opportunities presented by big data,” he said.


Botha said traditional approaches to engaging with customers come up short today, adding that globally 270 billion calls are made annually to call centres, costing $600 billion.


Speaking on the capabilities of the system, Muyiwa Moyela, external relations leader, Central & West Africa at IBM, said that unlike traditional search solutions that fail to provide context, trends and relationships, Watson Explorer can help professionals find and understand the information they need to work more efficiently, gain more insights from their unstructured content and realize their objectives of improving business outcomes.


Muyiwa revealed that in the present world of cognitive computing, Watson can act as an expert next to the call centre agent all the time with a 360 degree view of the customer.


“The world of cognitive computing cuts across health sector, weather information management, telecoms, among others, but I don’t know at the moment what telcos in Africa are thinking about call centre management. Over there in Europe, they are actually machines that coordinate call centre management,” Mayiwa added.

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