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Uniphore 2022 Predictions: 3 Bold AI Predictions for 2022

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

3 Bold AI Predictions for 2022

By Patrick Ehlen, Vice President of Artificial Intelligence, Uniphore

The global pandemic of the past two years has hastened us into a brave new world that demands many new behaviors, particularly when it comes to shopping or interacting with businesses. As a result, we are all a bit more digitally proficient than we were before, and more accepting-if begrudgingly so-of new technologies. Many of those technologies may have seemed peripheral to our lives before COVID, but now play a central role in our daily activities, and their maturity has advanced only slightly behind the pace of our increasing dependence on them.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). While many forward-thinking companies were starting to deploy AI in their customer service applications before the pandemic, now the tools AI affords are universally necessary. With more consumers reaching out remotely, businesses faced a growing need to consistently deliver high-quality customer experience (CX) with limited staff and resources. This is where AI has stepped up, helping businesses to resolve simple CX requests through self-service, while also simplifying complex live interactions with predictive analytics and data entry automation-all in real-time.

Most of the AI implementations we've seen to date have largely focused on voice, text and chat channels. But consumer behavior indicates a big change is coming. Increased use of video chat and conferencing tools like Zoom point the way toward video as a next big frontier for AI development. With that in mind, here are three predictions on what the future holds for AI in 2022.

Video will become the de facto conversation platform across the enterprise

The pandemic accelerated video adoption across all ages and market segments, penetrating all aspects of consumers' lives-from video conferencing to customer service. Next year, we'll see further adoption of video in the contact center. Customer service agents will troubleshoot consumers via video chats (not just text or voice). With this method of communication taking center stage, the old "I'll email you a photo of the problem" maneuver will go the way of pagers and faxes, removing multiple steps of correspondence between agents and consumers. What's even more exciting is that AI processing of video in conjunction with audio will provide AI with conversational context that is more robust than ever before when it comes to helping AI to understand what people are talking about.

Agents will no longer fear AI-they will become reliant on it

AI has taken the business world by storm and proved itself as an important element in every aspect of 21st century commerce. In 2022, we will find consumers embracing an AI technology that provides immense value while staying out of the way by remaining nearly invisible to them. The lives of both customers and agents will be easier and more pleasant when AI helps them to accomplish tasks quickly, while also honoring our natural desire to talk to each other, rather than enduring frustrating "conversations" with monotonous robots. And as labor shortages persist, businesses will look to AI technology to help enable their existing-and often overburdened- workforce.

Investment in emotional intelligence (EQ) will skyrocket

Companies crave innovative technologies to help fill staffing gaps, but don't want to lose the personal connections with customers that are crucial to maintaining brand loyalty. Interaction analytics that "read" a customer's emotion, sentiment, and intent-and generate actionable feedback-add a valuable dimension of emotional intelligence (EQ) to AI-driven conversations. By better understanding a customer's mood and needs, agents can seamlessly adjust their resolution journey and anticipate potential outcomes. As customer stresses continue to rise, our ability to monitor and respond to their emotions needs to rise in kind. An AI technology that understands the basic signals people use to communicate their emotions will be central to helping companies excel in that effort.

As companies look toward 2022, it should come as no surprise that consumer emotion is top of mind. Consumers' emotions are stretched thin due to rising prices, the lingering pandemic, and the effects of The Great Resignation. As a result, contact centers will invest heavily in technology that can interpret emotional cues and arm agents with better information to help deal with increased caller stress and frustration. This will happen across traditional channels like voice, and also increasingly in video channels as adoption rates continue to soar. We will also likely see more mergers and acquisitions in this market as customer service providers look for tools to make their agents more effective and their caller experience more engaging and rewarding.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patrick Ehelen 

Patrick Ehlen is Vice President of AI at Uniphore, Inc. He has worked on AI and conversational understanding technologies for 25 years and has published numerous papers and articles about developing computer systems that understand and facilitate human interaction.

Published Tuesday, January 04, 2022 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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