Friday, October 14, 2016

noHold Implementation Manager, Andrea Sahli, To Speak at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference

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If you don't already know, the world's largest conference for women technologist is happening next week! From October 19th to the 21st the 2016 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference will be taking place in Houston, Texas.

noHold is very proud to share that our Senior Implementation Manager, Andrea Sahli, will be speaking at this years event. With over 14 years of experience working with Artificial Intelligence at noHold, she will be sharing her knowledge on the evolution of Intelligent Virtual Assistants. See picture below for full description of talk. 

This will be an exciting conference, honoring many talented women in computing. Congratulations Andrea for being a part of them!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dreamforce 2016 Announces Einstein, But noHold Introduced Albert Years Ago

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Dreamforce 2016, one of the largest tech conferences in the world came to a close last week. It was exciting to see industry professionals come together in San Francisco to connect, learn and grow. There has been many interesting things that came about from Dreamforce, but one of the biggest announcements from last week has to be the introduction of Einstein. 

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Salesforce has jumped on the Artificial Intelligence train, acquiring numerous machine learning companies over the past couple of years to create what is being considered the 'smartest CRM system' out there. In short, it is a product that helps sales people narrow in on the most promising leads with the use of Artificial Intelligence.

While Salesforce is starting to revolutionize the way CRM systems operate with Artificial Intelligence, noHold has been using Artificial Intelligence to change the way customers engage with customers for over 15 years. We always believe imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Back in 2012, noHold started using the name Albert for one of our Virtual Assistants aimed at helping the Help Desk. Albert after Albert Einstein, that is. Now, we are moving forward with the name Albert as a product that will make it easier for anyone to create their own Virtual Assistant. Come back around Thanksgiving 2016 to learn more about Albert.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

noHold Introduces New Agile Deployment Approach

Empowering Businesses to Create Customer-Centric Virtual Assistants in One Week

September 29, 2016, MILPITAS, CA – Recently, noHold introduced a new feature to its AI platform called Agile Deployment Approach. This feature allows companies to go live with a Virtual Assistant in as short as one week. Agile Deployment Approach differs from the traditional deployment procedure because of its quick implementation, metrics driven content, and strategic positioning.

A typical Virtual Assistant implementation would take about 6 calendar weeks. Using the Agile Deployment Approach it only takes one week to go live with a Virtual Assistant that has the basic components of escalation, etiquette, and metrics. This ‘bare’ Virtual Assistant is strategically positioned on the website to prompt users to ask questions without expecting a direct answer.

During this first phase, metrics are collected, while end users are provided an escalation option to a human; leaving the end user experience intact. Each week the Virtual Assistant learns more and more. For example, by the following week the Virtual Assistant will be able to intelligently escalate based on end users queries, rather than provide the generic escalation route. Furthermore, the Virtual Assistant will be able to identify the top 10 user questions, and content can be created for those questions. Gradually, more content will be imported and integrations can be made. 

This new feature is being used by several of our current customers. There are two main advantages to this approach including
  • Expediency- the obvious benefit is that companies are able to hit the ground running, going live with a Virtual Assistant in a matter of one week.
  • Relevancy- the advantage of creating a Virtual Assistant based around direct customer input is that the Virtual Assistant tends to be naturally relevant to your audience from the beginning.

“The Agile Deployment Approach paradigm is very similar to the one we experience every time we hire someone new. We hire someone intelligent, well mannered, and who can contribute to the team, but at the start, they are not entirely knowledgeable about the business yet. Same concept holds true when implementing a Virtual Assistant,” says Diego Ventura, CEO of noHold. “You start with a fully capable Virtual Assistant, and with time and experience, it continues to grow and improve.”

Also, please note that on October 20th Andrea Sahli, Implementation Manager at noHold, will be speaking at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing event in Houston, Texas.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The 'Bot' Controversy: Revolutionary or Sham?

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Thanks to Facebook's Messenger platform, the term bot has exploded. Many big names are investing in this type of technology, but there seems to be a bit of a debate surrounding the topic of bots. 

When they were first announced on Facebook, it was an exciting new thing for people to try. But that excitement quickly dwindled when users were receiving more error messages than answers. This caused some major frustration, and put a lot of doubt in peoples' minds on whether this would really stick. Even Facebook Messenger chief, David Marcus spoke about how bots have been over hyped, and under delivered, "...bots have suffered from a perception that they are not nearly as useful as they were advertised to be earlier this year by tech giants including Facebook, Google, and Microsoft" (The Verge).So, the question remains, are bots (aka Virtual Assistants) going to revolutionize consumer lives and businesses, or is it a dying trend. 

From our perspective, Virtual Assistants have been improving businesses for a while now (since 1999 in our case), and consumers have already been growing accustomed to using AI for a few years (primarily when Siri came out, followed by other Virtual Personal Assistants). It is apparent that the market has continued to grow tremendously over the past decade or so. 

While this market is strengthening, it is obvious that AI and Virtual Assistants are not at their peak, and there is plenty of work to be done from a technology vantage point, but we believe, and leading analyst firms agree, that Virtual Assistants are here to stay. In fact, a few years ago, Gartner made a prediction that "Virtual personal assistant usage in business grows more quickly in 2017 and 2018 than iPad usage did in 2010 and 2011" (Gartner Reveals Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2014 and Beyond).

noHold has been creating Virtual Assistants for over 15 years, so it is exciting to see the progression AI has made from the beginning, and the potential for the future. As for the present, it is important for companies to produce quality bots that provide interactive and diagnostic conversations, instead of creating static experiences that causes customers to come out unsatisfied. Here are 3 elements to keep in mind to make sure your bot delivers:

  • Provide a great end user experience
  • Easy to create and maintain by administrators
  • Connects to multiple channels

These are just a few, for more information/tips on how to implement a quality bot please contact us here.

What is your opinion on the bot revolution? How can they improve? And where do you see them going in the future?
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The 6 Artificial Intelligence Conferences You Need to Know About

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2016 has been an impressive year in the work of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is coming of age, and it is showing in all the conferences being held. Many of the top tech conferences are having a strong AI/chatbot presence, and others are holding conferences entirely about AI. Here is a quick look at some of these conferences in no particular order:

1) At the beginning of the year, Diego Ventura, CEO of noHold, attended the RE-WORK Virtual Assistant Summit in San Francisco. He participated in a discussion panel talking about how Virtual Assistants will improve our daily lives. To read more about this conference, click here.

2) IBM is putting on a conference all about Watson and AI called World of Watson 2016. Thought leaders in this space will gather to discuss all the great applications being made with AI. For more information on this conference, click here. 

3) Conversational Interactions Conference (formerly known as Mobile Voice) being hosted locally to us, San Jose, CA, is another event to look out for. At the beginning of 2017, executives to engineers will come together and talk about how the interaction with digital devices will be impacted with the use of AI

4) AI World Conference in San Francisco is coming up next month. This is the industry's largest conference focused on how businesses can harness the power of AI and machine learning in today's world.

5) Analyst firm, Opus Research, is hosting the Intelligent Assistant Conference 2016 will focus on companies embracing the movement to digital interaction through mobile-friendly bots.

6) O'Reilly AI Conference in New York, New York has speakers that work for tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and more coming to help others discover the real-world opportunities of applied Artificial Intelligence.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

noHold AI Integrates with Top Collaboration Platform, Cisco Spark

Becoming Another Channel People can Access noHold Virtual Assistants 

August 31, 2016, MILPITAS, CA – noHold Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform now supports Cisco Spark, making it possible for Spark users to leverage a Virtual Assistant directly from within a room.

Spark is a leading collaboration platform designed to “create secure, virtual rooms where teams work together from anywhere.” ( Using Spark’s open APIs, noHold was able to build a connector that enables users to find answers to their questions directly from the room interface. For example, if a user has a question while working in a room that already has a Virtual Assistant added, all they have to do is mention (@) the Virtual Assistants handle name in the text box along with the question. The Virtual Assistant will appear within that same chat window, and respond accordingly. Adding a Virtual Assistant to a room is as easy as adding a human. Simply look up the name of the Virtual Assistant and click add.

Integrating Virtual Assistants (chat bots) into collaboration rooms to intelligently answer user queries adds value for the platform. Customer problems vary and often require different skills to resolve different issues. The power of collaboration platforms is that all the appropriate resources to fix those issues can be found within the same room. Virtual Assistants are an important resource to provide because they are available 24/7, users can access a tremendous amount of information and answer questions on their own terms.

Moving forward, the process to create a Virtual Assistant with noHold’s platform will become more and more intuitive. Diego Ventura, CEO and founder of noHold says, “It is noHold’s objective to make sure that our Virtual Assistants work through as many pertinent channels as possible such as voice, SMS, Facebook, Alexa and certain collaboration platforms like Cisco Spark.”

To hear more of what Diego has to say on Virtual Assistants, he will be speaking at the Peggy Smedley Institute on Sept. 9th in San Diego, CA. To register, click here and use the code IoTD for half off the price.

All other product and service names are the property of their respective owners.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How 3 Industries are Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to Improve Business

Healthcare, retail, and legal. What do these industries have in common? Companies in these spaces are starting to recognize the advantages of incorporating Artificial Intelligence into their business strategy go far beyond just tech companies. While AI can benefit virtually any industry in some way, these are the three industries that have really capitalized on this technology, paving the way for others. Take a look at a few examples:

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1. Healthcare- AI is making great strides in the healthcare space, and IBM's Watson is one of the well known players there. Conducting cancer research and patient care, helping doctors diagnose mental illnesses and more, analyzing x-ray and MRI scans. These are just a few of the things AI is already doing in the doctors office. Looking toward the future, engineers and developers are finding ways to leverage connected devices and the Internet of Things to assist users with their health. With devices that can track almost every aspect of your health, AI can turn all that scrambled data into meaningful content such as meal suggestions, exercise plans, etc.

The big question remains, are computers going to replace human doctors? The verdict is still in the air, some people believe AI will replace doctors, and some believe that AI is a great aid to doctors, but will never completely replace the need for human intervention. 

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2. Retail- AI is quickly becoming your new shopping guru. From clothes, to travel, customers can ask a question in natural language and the Virtual Assistant will try to provide the most accurate response, or escalate if the need arises. Companies are also moving to personalize each customers unique experience with the help of AI. Providing appropriate suggestions, at the appropriate time not only improves the over customer satisfaction, but also increases sales.

Another example includes cable providers using AI to start off the conversation. A Virtual Assistant will answer the call and ask a few questions to find out a little about what the customer is looking to accomplish. After answer the questions in natural language, the VA guides the customer to the right place, freeing up agent time, and eliminating some of the frustration on the customers side. 

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3. Legal- Many legal firms and lawyers are using Artificial Intelligence to quickly analyze and interpret data. Big data is making it necessary to change the way we are able to attain information. There is so much knowledge acquiring daily about the law, Artificial Intelligence is working to make it easier to sift through. According to a Forbes article, two lawyers developed a way for legal professionals to research rulings made by specific judges in order to find  a judge that would be most sympathetic to their argument. 

Legal departments within companies can benefit from Virtual Assistant technology. Click here to watch a short video of the CEO of noHold discussing how VA's are impacting the legal sector.