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API Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Jonathan Fries, Liz McMillan

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Smart Devices Meet Army Recruiting: The U.S. Army Launches Conversational Virtual Assistant for Smart Devices

The U.S. Army is leading the way with truly on-the-go conversational technology – placing its very popular virtual guide on smart devices. This new approach to real-time conversations – which uses real voice inputs, as well as text – is available for download on Google Play for Android phones and tablets today; the iOS version is slated to be available in January.

Sgt. Star, the U.S. Army and Next IT – leading provider of Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA) technology and creator of Sgt. Star – are pushing a transformation around mobility and are delivering what users expect: interaction based on understanding intent, context and natural language. Conversation becomes the new user interface, in sharp contrast to first-generation mobile virtual assistants which are little more than speech recognition tools that sit on top of existing smartphone features and search capabilities.

“We are bringing the elegance of simplicity to consumer–brand interactions with our new intelligent mobile platform,” said Denise Caron, Next IT Chief Technology Officer. “Sgt. Star is an excellent demonstration of how Next IT delivers a truly conversational platform – and that’s the future of customer service.”

Since he enlisted in 2006, Sgt. Star has revolutionized how the Army communicates with recruits and their families. The Sergeant – who routinely shares personal information with potential recruits – has answered more than 11-million sensitive, personal and potentially life-altering questions, from ‘Will I have to serve in combat?’ to ‘Are the showers co-ed?’

Next IT continues to innovate to expand the success of Sgt. Star and other IVAs by enabling universal availability and combining the intimacy of a voice-driven personal experience with the efficiency made possible through the integration of online tools and assets.

“Another advantage of our platform is that it is able to work with any speech recognition commodity, since the power is in the conversational understanding,” Caron continued. “We believe in proving that our technology works, and Sgt. Star is the first of many upcoming deployments, including releases in healthcare.”

Along with the Army, Next IT has created brand-changing online experiences for major healthcare providers, airlines and banks, including Aetna, Amtrak, Alaska Airlines, BECU and United Airlines. Its virtual assistants range from providing general information to delivering highly personalized service, and they are available 24/7. With more than 10 years of experience building IVAs, this latest move into the mobile space is the first of many for Next IT’s new intelligent mobile platform, which is expected to include a software development kit (SDK).

Follow Denise Caron on twitter - @denise_caron

About Next IT

Next IT is the world’s largest provider of Intelligent Virtual Assistants that help companies deliver the perfect online customer experience. Its Intelligent Virtual Assistants combine the intimacy of 1-to-1 service that customers love with the speed and accuracy of automated self-service that scales cost-effectively. Some of the world’s largest organizations rely on Next IT for conversational customer care that boosts satisfaction, loyalty and revenue, including Aetna, Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, and the U.S. Army. Please visit www.NextIT.com for more information and follow us @Next_IT.

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