Tuesday, December 6, 2016

noHold Launches SICURA™ QuickStart

Empowering non-programmers to create their own Virtual Assistant (bot)

December 6, 2016, MILPITAS, CA – noHold announces SICURA™ QuickStart, a platform designed to make creating a Virtual Assistant (Albert) easy for anyone with a basic understanding of Microsoft® Word or Google® Docs.

Now, if you are a small business owner you can create a Virtual Assistant out of the manual for your product(s). If you are a large enterprise you can create a Virtual Assistant out of an Employee Handbook. Personal use is possible, too. For example, students can create a Virtual Assistant out of their last research paper.

According to Business Insider, in April of 2015 the number of messaging application users surpassed the number of social application users.  Given that the interaction paradigm of a messaging application is very similar to the paradigm of a Virtual Assistant (bot), the popularity of Virtual Assistants has increased exponentially. Recognizing this growing trend, noHold engineered SICURA QuickStart as a way to make creating and managing AI simple for anyone.

To make your own Albert, go to www.albertai.com, and click sign up in the top right navigation bar. Follow a few simple instructions to get a free personal account, and once you have access you will be ready to start teaching Albert anything you want. Upon completion of training Albert (a process that takes seconds), a mobile-friendly URL is provided. This URL can be placed anywhere you like, making integrating with websites, social media, and collaboration platforms easy. Metrics are also available to monitor weekly usage and identify exactly what users are asking your Albert.

CEO of noHold, Diego Ventura, goes on to say, “I don’t believe the next generation AI will be built by one single big company, instead, it will be the result of the collaboration of millions of people who have created their own Virtual Assistants and are able to connect them together. Who knows, maybe a lot of them will be called Albert.”

Friday, December 2, 2016

Why Virtual Assistants will be Key to Getting through the Holiday Shopping Season on Top

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday have kicked off the holiday shopping season this year with a bang. While it was reported that the number of shoppers increased from last year, retailers saw a drop in the average amount of money that was spent - approximately $10 less. (money.cnn.com) This drop could be attributed to a number of things. 1. More people reported all their purchases were sale items, 2. A higher percentage of people bought items that were that were 60% off and higher, (IMAGE) and 3. Businesses were ill prepared (specifically online) for the massive amount of shoppers. According to Forbes, lots of big brands' websites were experiencing server issues that couldn't handle the volume of people. 

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"Consumers faced a variety of technical problems on Black Friday and through the so-called “Turkey Five” (the five days after Thanksgiving). Major retailer sites, including Macy’s, QVC, Walmart, Victoria’s Secret and Newegg, all experienced outages, due at least in part to server overload due to enormous boost in traffic. The Gap, Inc. family (Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athletica) was offering a massive 50% off site-wide deal fell victim to the same fate. Other retailers, such as Williams-Sonoma, saw a significant decrease in their page load time—not a great occurrence when buyers are in a hurry to empty their online carts and get on to the next sale." (Forbes)

While things like this are bound to happen,it did not effect the number of online users which continues to grow each year. From last year to this year, approximately 5 million more users were shopping online (about $3.34 billion came from online sales), while brick and mortar store shoppers decreased by 3 million people this year. Out of the online shoppers, $1.2B came from mobile purchases. This is a huge increase from previous years. 

Creating the ultimately customer experience online (via any device) is important to attract new customers and retain existing ones. A major trend this year that consumers are adopting (and preferring) is Virtual Assistants (VA's). While having a VA all year round is a good practice, VA's are also valuable to have during peak seasons as well, such as the holidays. Being able to position your Virtual Assistant as a way for consumers to get quick answers to pre-sales and post-sales questions will reduce the number of inquiries to live agents/employees and increase customer satisfaction. Check out this white paper showing how some of our customers have leveraged their Virtual Assistants during peak seasons: http://www.nohold.com/manage-traffic-spikes-better-with-self-service.html

And it is not just large brands that can benefit. Small and medium businesses, even little personal shops on eBay or Etsy can have a Virtual Assistant to eliminate some of the holiday stress. Visit albertai.com to learn more about creating a Virtual Assistant (bot) quickly and easily, no programming skills required. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Industry Recognizes Need to Democratize Virtual Assistants

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I wanted to take some time to share this article I found on LinkedIn. Its talks about how the industry can and should start moving towards democratizing AI, specifically Virtual Assistants (or better known as bots). A few key lessons mentioned in the article that will help chatbots become simpler to create for everyone are: 

1. It's about building simple
2. It's about cost
3. It's about results

Check out the article here:

It is exciting to see that the industry is finally catching up to what we have been saying for while. For more information about noHold and how we are working towards democratizing AI, please contact us via the web. 

We want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving holiday from our noHold family to yours, Cheers!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

noHold’s AI Integrates with Facebook’s Messenger Platform

Connecting the Social Media Network’s 900 Million Users to their Own Virtual Assistants

November 10, 2016, MILPITAS, CA – noHold, creators of AI-powered virtual assistants for enterprise and beyond, today launched a connector to Facebook’s Messenger platform, enabling users to interact with noHold Virtual Assistants directly from the social giant’s Messaging app. 

According to a report from Business Insider’s Intelligence division, at the beginning of 2015, the number of messaging app users surpassed social media users. Since Virtual Assistants closely resemble the messaging app paradigm, this user shift opened the door for businesses to utilize Virtual Assistants to provide a scalable way to engage with their customers 24/7 on these types of platforms. 

Diego Ventura, CEO and founder of noHold adds, “Our objective is to make it simple for non-programmers to create a Virtual Assistant. It is also important to make sure that same Virtual Assistant is reachable from any channel an end user prefers. The popularity of Facebook, as well as the large business presence, made it an obvious choice for us to connect to.”

noHold has been able to embed our clients’ Virtual Assistants to their company Facebook page for some time. This difference with this connector is its ability to live directly within Facebook’s Messaging interface. A user simply types the name of the Virtual Assistant for the company they are inquiring within Facebook Messenger’s search bar, clicks on the associated icon and the chat window will appear. It has the same look and feel as chatting with a human, but the interaction is powered by Artificial Intelligence. 

Take for example a company that already has a Virtual Assistant on their website, such as Dell. If I was chatting with my friend on Facebook Messenger about the recent sale on Dell laptops, wouldn’t it be convenient if from the same messaging platform I could chat with a Virtual Assistant that knew everything about Dell products. This new connector makes that possible. 

While bots are not new to Facebook Messenger, the current bots are not always helpful. It is inspiring to see people trying to create bots, but it is important that the platform used to create them is easy to use by everyone. There are a few key differentiators that make this connector unique:
  • It can connect to an entire platform that can handle creating thousands of bots.
  • The technology powering these bots is familiar, enabling an intuitive and interactive end user experience. 
  • Allows you to develop one bot and repurpose that same bot throughout different channels (social media, collaboration platforms, etc).
For more from Diego on this topic, click here to watch a short clip about this integration.

About noHold, Inc.
noHold is a privately held company established in 1999 and is headquartered in Milpitas, CA, USA (Silicon Valley). noHold is the acknowledged leader in Web based Self-service solutions with a mission to deliver real answers to real questions – real fast. Simple to use, easy to implement and as close to human as you can get, noHold turns automated customer support into cognitive customer interactions. noHold customers include Cisco, Dell, Intel and a host of industry leaders. More information can be found at http://www.nohold.com or subscribe to noHold’s vlog to hear more from CEO, Diego Ventura.
Press Contact
Veronica Cech
Marketing Associate
408.946.9200 ext. 356

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

Friday, November 4, 2016

By 2021, the Virtual Assistant Market will Reach $15.8 Billion Worldwide


2016 has gone by so fast, I can't believe we are already in November. Through the course of the year we have talked about the major growth we have seen within the Virtual Assistant space. Executives are recognizing the benefits a Virtual Assistant will bring to any company, tech giants are acquiring Artificial Intelligence companies at a rapid pace this year, and analyst firms are predicting continued adoption of Virtual Assistants in the coming years. 

Last year around this time, Gartner put out the top predictions to look out for. One of them being, "by 2020, smart agents will facilitate 40% of mobile interactions. This is based on the belief that the world is moving to a post-app era, where assistants such as Apple's Siri act as a type of universal interface." (ComputerWorld

This year, analysts from Gartner recently put out the top 10 strategic predictions for 2017. They start off the article with saying, "By 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and conversational user interfaces, we are increasingly likely to interact with a bot (and not know it) than ever before. The digital experience has become addictive by entering out lives through smartphones, tablets, virtual personal assistants (VPAs) or the entertainment systems in our homes and cars." (Gartner Predicts a Virtual World of Exponential Growth)

Another report from Research and Markets concluded that "by 2021, the Virtual Assistant market will reach $15.8 billion worldwide." 

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With adoption only expecting to increase, the democratization of AI, specifically Virtual Assistant is going to be key. Making it as easily accessible as possible will empower even more people to embrace the experience. If you would like more information on what noHold is doing to democratize AI, please contact us here.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Use Case: How Webroot Leverages noHold Artificial Intelligence

October 27, 2016, MILPITAS, CA – Recently, noHold had the opportunity to interview Webroot’s Knowledgebase Manager, Anna. Webroot, a leader in Internet Security, has been a long standing customer of noHold, and Anna has been managing the Virtual Assistant (VA) for almost three years now. Through that work she has gained lots of hands on experience with the VA, and learned best practices to getting the most out of it.

This interview asks Anna a hand full of questions regarding how Webroot utilizes their VA, ranging from how often the VA is updated to which reports and data are most beneficial. Here are a couple of the key takeaways from the interview.
  • “The VA is a huge asset for the support team and we try to utilize it to the best advantage. When any customer goes to our support pages on our website, the first thing  they see is a list of links to the most commonly used solutions in the knowledgebase, as well as a search box to access the VA directly.”
  • “[It] has been a huge help for our growing market in Japan.”
  •  “It helps me identify whether we have a true knowledge gap that calls for new content, or if I need to work with the support team directly to help users find what they need more efficiently.”
  • “Take some time to learn the back end of the VA before you start building out live content. It’s a fairly straightforward management structure, but there are little things here and there you can only pick up by fiddling with the system, and those are what really help make the VA what you need it to be.”

To read the full interview with Anna, click here.

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!