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Geico adds virtual AI assistant, Kate, to mobile app

Geico is hopping on to the artificial intelligence bandwagon with a new virtual assistant mobile application that helps users make decisions and purchases through their mobile device.

The assistant, named Kate, will live in the Geico mobile app for iOS and soon Android as well. Kate can understand natural language and will assist customers make purchases and solve inquiries.

"Interactive voice assistant technology has altered the way customers interact with their mobile devices,? said Pete Meoli, GEICO mobile and digital experience director. "Kate is very intuitive and has been programmed to connect with policyholders at a deeper level."

Virtual assistant
With big names such as Google and Facebook all getting into using artificial intelligence, the field has been set for brands from all different industries to start reaping the rewards of what artificial intelligence can do.

One of the most prominent ways it is used in a retail setting is through the use of chatbots and virtual assistants such as the kind used in Facebook Messenger or Google Assistant.

These virtual assistants use AI technology to understand natural language and parse complex requests from consumers in an organic and natural way.

Now, Geico is taking advantage of these new capabilities with the release of its virtual assistant, Kate.

Kate is integrated into the standard Geico mobile app. Once consumers have downloaded the app, they simply tap a button to bring up the Kate interface and ask her a question.

At this moment, Kate is only available on iOS but Geico does have plans to bring Kate to Android devices this year.

Kate has been programmed by Geico?s engineers to be able to offer sound advice and information about insurance rates, helping consumers make smart decisions and check on their own information with ease.

Artificial intelligence
While chatbots and virtual AIs can provide a large number of functions, they are typically used in the retail world for standard commerce and retail options.

For example, most retail chatbots provide little more than allowing customers to make purchases and to return and refund products already purchased.

Recently, however, there has been an effort to use chatbots for other functions. These chatbots and virtual assistants are being used to provide information and help customers in the same way that a sales associate or call center would in the past.

In addition to Geico?s Kate, Sky Sports in the UK recently attempted something similar with a chatbot that discussed Premier League soccer games with fans, providing them with up-to-date statistics and facts about the players and teams (see story).

By using chatbots and virtual assistants in innovative ways, brands such as Geico are pushing against the boundaries of what this still-young technology can do.

"We wanted her to be friendly with a natural interaction,? said Meoli. ?She is always learning from our customers and will be an integral part of enhancing their experiences with GEICO.?