Why does AI matter and why now?
Technology surrounds us; it evolves constantly and rapidly. Entertainment, our work activities and daily routines are becoming increasingly digitalised. Such incessant changes inevitably change people too. We as consumers and employees become more demanding, curious and human! The less we have to perform boring and repetitive tasks, the more creative and liberated we can be. In every walk of life!
The sphere of telecommunications is like the blood circulatory system of the modern world, enabling the proper functioning of all other components. We perform this crucial mission with a great deal of responsibility.
In order to meet the future expectations of our clients, Elisa has been developing various AI-based applications that are commonly known as bots in cooperation with a great partner, MindTitan, since 2017. For our actions to inspire fellow-thinkers from other companies, young people pondering career choices and aspiring startups, we are sharing our story and ideas here for all to see!
Which AI solutions are already in operation
Artificial intelligence is never a goal in itself. It is always a means to achieve something. The first three AI products that have been functioning at Elisa for quite a while rely on one of our five core values: focus on the client. They all work in different spheres and are of very different technological pedigree. They are united in the purpose of offering clients the best service as smoothly as possible.
Customer service bot Annika
Annika’s career began in 2018 as a chatbot on the Elisa self-service website, helping clients find answers to questions about our services that do not really require a human staff member.
Please bear in mind that Annika is not a primitive question-answer bot that reacts to frequently asked questions or directs you to certain menu sections. From its inception Annika has been equipped to handle inbound customer contacts in their entirety. This is done by interfacing Annika with all the necessary client management systems. The development is continuing in two directions simultaneously: machine learning is covered by the MindTitan staff to further improve language mastery, while Elisa’s product marketing teams enhance Annika’s solution-finding capabilities.
In 2019 we began a pilot project with Annika on the next level – as a voice bot. For successful communication, a human needs to listen to their partner, comprehend the message and only then utter a reply. Annika also hears out the caller, interprets the meaning and redirects the caller to a suitable staff member. The next step will be to independently answer easier questions.
Happiness index to understand client experience
One of the main services offered by Elisa besides entertainment content is internet connection. Perhaps the word “offer” does not do this service justice, as we are actually producing mobile and cable internet access solutions derived from diverse technologies.
Different network elements are measured with hundreds of key performance indicators, in which our specialists are well versed. This arrangement has existed for many years, resulting in our Estonian clients reaping the benefits of the world’s highest-quality internet networks.
But one can never manage to provide a 100 per cent impeccable service in the opinion of the clients, and it is sometimes very difficult to establish the exact sources of client dissatisfaction. It is much easier to pinpoint a network failure; it is in fact a mundane task for any operator. A client might become unhappy as a result of an unpredictable combination of multiple reasons. It is impossible to see particular patterns in such a large data pool, which is why MindTitan and Elisa’s network engineers have developed a special model. It can assess actual network usage experiences of individual clients. As Elisa strives to ensure that our clients are not only satisfied but really happy, we called it the Happiness index.
We use the Happiness index for network coverage planning and improvement and in customer service processes to facilitate the identification of the causes of client dissatisfaction, so that, ideally, the occurrence of these causes is prevented.
Facial recognition for a new and secure Mobile ID subscription process
In autumn 2017, Estonia went through its first serious digital crisis. Doubts emerged about the very essence of our digital personal identification system and the e-state: electronic ID card security.
As the situation was doubtlessly grave, several project teams were quickly convened to provide solutions to the situation and similar issues in the future. One such team was the work group assembled by the Interior Ministry with the aim to separate the Mobile ID subscription process from the ID card. For that purpose, two equally secure and mutually independent digital personal identification documents were to be created for the state in general and its individual citizens.
The participants quickly realised that artificial intelligence must be implemented to exclude human error and potential maliciousness. MindTitan’s personal identification system based on facial recognition and the new subscription process developed by Elisa will allow clients to obtain Mobile ID directly at branches of mobile network operators. This makes the whole process much more comfortable and shorter for the client without compromising on security.
Personal identification based on facial recognition is globally widespread, but this particular project is an excellent and unique example of cooperation between the public and private sectors. Staying focused on the clients and applying smart, modern and innovative solutions, many public sector services can be made more accessible and convenient than they are today.
How to start your own bot?
As Elisa has been dealing with bots for many years, we have plenty of valuable lessons to share. We invite all people interested in this field to join our effort! To simplify your immersion, we have formulated our ideas and advice in several stories than you can read right here and now.