January 19, 2021

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Thai language AI chatbot launched by local bank

One of the largest commercial banks in Thailand announced the launch of its Thai language Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered chatbot that was built in-house in a joint collaboration with a Singapore-based fintech start-up. The chatbot called, TT01, was a result of the bank’s innovation programme, InnoHub. The development began earlier in 2020 and the chatbot was fully completed in October. The solution will be available to clients of the start-up.

Meanwhile, the bank will use this as a digital sales assistant on LINE for their sales and relationship managers, scheduled to launch in Q1 2021. This solution adds to the start-up’s growing portfolio of languages available on its proprietary conversational AI chatbot, which includes English, Chinese, Bahasa Malaysia, and Bahasa Indonesia.

The Head of the bank’s Innovation Department stated that they are excited about TT01, which they believe to be the first in-house built advanced Thai conversational AI engine that works. According to multiple internal tests, TT01 has achieved an accuracy rate of up to 96%.

Thai is a complicated language and has long been neglected by the global data science community, so the team is proud to be able to finally build this engine with the start-up, and hope this will lead to more interest in Thai conversational AI in the region, he added. TT01 was reportedly trained to process mixed-use language in Thai and English, as well as emojis, both of which are commonly used in daily text-based communications.

Commenting on this approach, the Founder and CEO of the start-up noted that the team wanted to build a Thai conversational AI engine for everyone. Therefore, it must be able to process utterances that reflect how ordinary people communicate in their daily lives. Through their first partnership with the bank, the start-up accomplished just that, he said.

The Singapore-based start-up is an alumnus of Bangkok Bank’s InnoHub which is a global accelerator programme in 2019. The launch of TT01 comes shortly after the pre-Series A funding by the corporate venture capital arm of the bank.

Growing demand for chatbots

Market research from 2019, showed that the chatbot market size is expected to grow to US$9.4 billion by 2024, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 29.7% during the forecast period (from 2019). Key growth factors for the market include advancement in technology coupled with rising customer demand for self-service and 24/7 customer assistance at lower operational costs.

Further, initiatives toward the development of self-learning chatbots to deliver more human-like conversational experience, growing use of chatbot among various industries, and increasing focus on customer engagement through various channels to create many opportunities for vendors in the global market.

Customer engagement and retention is one of the main focus areas of various verticals. These verticals have started deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered chatbots into their operations to engage customers and offer them seamless experiences throughout their journey.

Chatbots act as an effective tool for verticals to attract, retain, and engage new customers, owing to their ability to engage customers, collect new data, and shorten sales life cycles. Hence, customer engagement and retention is projected to become a crucial application area to deploy chatbot solutions.

The global chatbot market covers 5 major geographic regions, namely, North America, Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe, Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Latin America. North America is expected to hold the largest market size during the forecast period.

The APAC region shows rapid growth in the market, as the APAC region holds more than 50% of the world’s population, and therefore any major technological shifts, such as those being heralded by AI are likely to shape the future of the region.

Many Asian countries, such as China, Singapore, India, and Japan are leveraging information-intensive AI technologies, and chatbots are some of the leading technologies trends and hence, APAC is expected to show promising opportunities to deploy chatbot solutions.