Niki.ai, an Indian chat bot firm, is set to roll out its virtual assistant on Amazon Alexa later this month.
“We are developing ‘skills’ for Amazon Alexa so that users can book cabs and pay for utilities on Alexa using Niki assistant,” the firm’s chief executive officer, Sachin Jaiswal told Business Standard.
Alexa is Amazon.com’s voice assistant made popular through Amazon Echo line of speakers. With Amazon’s smart speakers and those supplied by Google and Apple, voice assistants are populating Indian households.
Niki.ai, which specialises in transactional use-cases, will be available on Alexa assistant. Users may download Niki.ai skills and use it for functions like booking cabs, travel tickets and paying bills for utilities like mobile and electricity.
The move is an attempt to give mass market appeal to Niki assistant among customers. The company, which also has a mobile app packed with the complete feature set, primarily targets banks and clients in the financial services for its assistant.
Among one of the early Indian AI firms to use Natural Language Processing (NLP) for a mainstream chat-bot solution, Niki.ai was setup in 2015. It is founded by Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur alumni Jaiswal, Keshav Prawasi, Shishir Modi and Nitin Babel.
The company is backed software major SAP and Unilazer Ventures. Ratan Tata’s RNT Capital Advisors is also an investor.
Jaiswal said Niki.ai has about 20 enterprise customers including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and LazyPay, and reaches about 8 million unique users monthly.
“We have worked to create an assistant solely for transactional use-case. There are others in the market that make custom chat-bot solutions for things like setting an alarm and giving users information on company products,” said Jaiswal.
With a sharp focus on e-commerce transactions, Niki.ai has, over the years, trained the chat-bot through millions of interactions on the platform and attuned it to enable transactions with little hassle, the CEO added.
The company has added two new functionality to the assistant- it now supports the Hindi language, both text and voice. The other feature is- the assistant now understands “context” in conversations.
For instance, explained Jaiswal, a user may query for an Ola cab from point A to B. Later if the user asks for Uber cab, he or she does not have to enter the pick and drop location again. “Niki remembers the context of the conversations and makes the exchange, and in turn the transaction, simpler,” said Jaiswal.