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Indian bank launches AI virtual assistant

Government-owned Andhra Bank has partnered with a Bangalore-based start-up to launch an AI-powered virtual assistant for its online banking users.

The AI chatbot, ABHi, which was developed by the start-up Floatbot, is integrated with the core banking servers (CBS) of Andhra Bank and will automate customer support for 50 million Andhra Bank account holders.

Floatbot will also create a chatbot for more than 20,000 internal employees of the Andhra Bank to automate onboarding and training. Floatbot is incubated at the NASSCOM Centre of Excellence (CoE) DS-AI. It is an initiative of the Department of IT, Biotechnology, and Science and Technology, under the government of Karnataka.

The chatbot was launched after going through an end-to-end security audit and a rigorous user acceptance testing (UAT). Over 50,000 queries were tested before the final sign-off.

The Principal Secretary of the Department, Gaurav Gupta, said that this is a “perfect testimony” to the programmes that Karnataka’s state government is undertaking to encourage innovation in emerging technologies such as AI.

The NASSCOM CoE was set up by the state government to promote and nurture start-ups with path-breaking ideas that involve new-age technology. The idea is to provide a platform for these start-ups to have access to technology, mentors, resources, and like-minded professionals.

Jimmy Padia, the CEO of Floatbot, in a statement, said that it is happy to partner with Andhra Bank in its digital transformation journey to automate customer support through Conversational AI, that can resolve customers queries and provide banking services in English, Hindi, and Hinglish.

In the next phase, the start-up intends to enable banking services for all regional languages on channels such as WhatsApp and Google Assistant.

Floatbot provided AI Chatbot solution ABHi to Andhra Bank on Floatbot’s cloud, that is MietY (Ministry of Electrics and IT) approved. This is one of very few launches in India where a bank has allowed a cloud-based Chatbot delivery. “We are hopeful that this will set a trend for other Banks and Insurance companies in India to start accepting AI solutions on cloud,” the CEO said.

Floatbot has also launched an AI-based Voicebot that is integrated with call centres. It can interact with customers on the phone. Currently, it supports English and Hindi, and is in the process of adding other regional languages such as Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, and Bengali.

AI adoption has gained traction in other sectors of the country. In fact, as OpenGov reported earlier, real estate companies in India are quickly adopting AI technology for the development of applications that comprise machine vision for easy analysis and surveying of buildings and structures.

According to a report, the Asia Pacific, that contributes nearly 40% in the global construction market, is estimated to be the fastest-growing “AI-in-construction” market by 2024.

The report said that the growth in the Asia-Pacific, “is owing to the extensive adoption of the AI-based platforms, such as machine learning and deep learning, code frameworks, and pre-built algorithms by the real estate companies in emerging economies, such as China and India”.

It said, additionally, the development of creating information modelling is software that gives information on a construction project, warranty details regarding the material used, and commissioning data.

This has resulted in increased AI adoption by most of the construction start-ups globally for various applications, the findings showed.

The construction sector is adopting AI to obtain precise data and insights to increase productivity, operational efficiency, and ensure safety at work. AI operates on algorithms related to image recognition to find out search criteria.

The global “AI-in-construction” market was valued at US $312 million in 2017 and is expected to reach US $3,161 million by 2024.


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