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. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Join Diego Ventura, CEO of noHold, at the Peggy Smedley Institute this September

Dear friends,

I would like to let you know about an upcoming conference you might be interested in attending. The Peggy Smedley Institute—where Leaders Learn IoT—creates a forum for an industrywide discussion about the IoT and how it can create value for your business.

As a participant in this event, I invite you to join me and other fellow IoT experts from CyberTECH, Berkeley Varitronics Systems, Inc., CyberSN, Cisco Systems, Renesas Electronics America Inc., MultiTech Systems, Exosite, Buddy, and ServiceMax to name a few on Friday, September 9 at the San Diego Marriott Del Mar.

I will be speaking from 12:45 p.m. – 1:05 p.m. about Connecting the Internet of Things to the Human Element. There is no doubt that IoT will dramatically change our lives, but Artifcial Intelligence (AI), specifically Virtual Assistants, will help us experience it in ways we almost never dreamed possible. Attendees will discover how Virtual Assistants connect to the IoT, in addition to, how humans can benefit from this transforming paradigm.

This full day of education, networking, and sharing is for top level executives, presidents, CIOs, VPs, or anyone interested in learning more about the IoT as it relates to their business. Register here to attend.
Topics being discussed at the event include:
  • Opening Keynote: The Future of IoT
  • Industrial IoT: Perception, Reality, and the Way Forward
  • Trust in IoT Manufacturing
  • IoT and the Field Service Industry
  • Platforms in the IoT
  • A Business Approach to IoT
  • Maximizing IoT (Panel)
  • IoT Security Threats in the Billions (Panel)
  • Cisco: Trust in the IoT Supply Chain
  • IoT Roundtable: The Ups and Downs

Register for this event, as my guest, for half price by using coupon code IoTD. Even better, if you have a fellow colleague that would benefit from this event, bring them along as well as your guest for no charge—while space is available. You can register here.

I look forward to seeing you in person on September 9!

Diego Ventura

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Trends to Look for at Rio's Summer Olympics

There is much anticipation building as we wait for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio summer Olympics to start this Friday, August 5th. Top athletes from all around the world will make their way to Brazil to compete for the ultimate prize, a gold medal. This year, more so than others, technology will play a huge role in a variety of aspects at the games. Here are some of the major tech trends that can be spotted at this years summer Olympics. 

According to multiple articles, wearable technology will be all over Rio, from helping athletes train, to improving the overall experience for the Olympians. Here are a few examples of what kinds of wearable tech you'll see.

  • Visa's NFC-enables payment ring- this ring, mostly used by athletes and Visa employees, allows payments to be made with a simple wave of the hand.

Visa logo on table with credit card reader and persons hand wearing payment ring being scanned by machine
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  • Solos- these augmented reality glasses are being used by the US cycling team to provide data driven training. These glasses are able to collect information such as power, speed and pedal revolutions from bike sensors and in real time, relay that information to the cyclists straight on their glasses. "With the ability for the athlete to reveice real-time feedback via the Solos smart glasses, they can now adjust on the fly," says Ernesto Martinez, a director at Solos.
Point of view from a Cyclist showing the interface they see wearing the Solo smart glasses
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  • WHOOP- Being used by athletes for some time now, WHOOP is unlike traditional wearable devices. It tracks more than your heart rate and steps taken, it goes a step further and reports on "how travel is affecting them, how close they are to a potential injury, and how much training is too much training." (
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Another trend you will notice this year is the attention large tech moguls are placing on the games. Google, Comcast, Twitter, Facebook, etc are all finding ways to make all the games (and relevant information) easily accessible to you. "Google announced on Monday that it's tuning up Search, YouTube, Trends, and Google Maps for a better mobile and online experience that helps fans find event information, official broadcaster videos, and user-generated content." (ZDNet) Twitter is also take part in the movement, launching a live Rio Olympics moments button, providing live content, highlights, and lots of new emojis. (digitaltrends)

Lastly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be highly used this year. Some of the products mentioned above and more utilize some form of AI to extract the pertinent data, and turn it into practical information that athletes can use when training. Virtual Assistants are one way to augment the way athletes interact with these different technologies. Connecting Virtual Assistants to these wearable devices makes for a simplified approach to analyzing data collected by these devices. Athletes can easily ask the VA some a question regarding their health, and the VA will use the information from the wearable device to give an appropriate response. See the video below for a short demonstration.

I am looking forward to seeing how these different technologies will impact the games this year. What are some other types of tech you are hearing about in Rio? Is it fair to be using these types of technology, does it give some countries an unfair advantage? What's your opinion? 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

noHold’s AI Platform Integrates with ServiceNow’s Knowledge Base

July 28, 2016, MILPITAS, CA – Earlier this month, noHold created a new connector integrating with ServiceNow®. To date, noHold has completed a dozen integrations, with plans to continue creating connectors to Facebook, Alexa, and more. 

ServiceNow is a company committed to changing the way people work, offering service management for every department in the enterprise including IT, human resources, facilities, and more. Using an open API set, noHold was able to develop a connector that enables a seamless integration between Virtual Assistants and ServiceNow’s knowledge platform. 

A multi-billion dollar company that produces oil and gas is using the Virtual Assistant and connector to streamline content management operations. The connector allows content to remain in its current location, without having to duplicate it to noHold’s platform. The benefits of this connector include: 

  • All content can be managed from one repository of information. 
  • Improve customer satisfaction by providing the most accurate information from a single interface.
  • Personalization of the customer experience.
  • Expands the Single Point of Search vision.

The addition of the ServiceNow connector has added great value to the list of integrations done by noHold. Moving forward, noHold is continuing to develop more connectors to further integrate with various platforms and other Virtual Assistants. Diego Ventura, Founder and CEO of noHold, explains, “Virtual Assistants are designed to decrease the level of effort required by end users to complete a task. Connecting Virtual Assistants to other platforms is key to make sure end users can transparently tap into the capabilities of a company’s back-office systems and devices.”

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, Intel and a host of industry leaders. More information can be found at or subscribe to noHold’s vlog to hear more from CEO, Diego Ventura.

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