Amazon's voice-controlled digital assistant, Alexa may be gaining more ground, thanks to some new innovations from Capital One Financial Corp., JP Morgan, and New York Life that bridge the gap between novelty and productivity. For clarity, it would be difficult to argue that Alexa-enabled products aren't already productivity-focused. It's also already the most popular A.I. assistant on the market but the projects being undertaken by those companies show real potential for taking that to the next level. Capital One was among the first to provide insight into that with its customer-focus voice-controlled banking features. Users can simply ask about their credit card or bank accounts for information about their spending and debt. The introduction of those kinds of tools appears to have opened more users up to taking advantage of them, too. In fact, as many as 27-percent of consumers are now open to that kind of A.I. interaction according to some estimates. However, Capital One's experiment is really more of a convenience feature when compared to the follow-up ideas from JP Morgan and New York Life.
JP Morgan's take on Alexa productivity ties directly in with its position as an investment-focused banking firm. Thanks to a new Alexa Skill it started offering this month, users can now access tear sheets for various companies, in addition to analyst reports. The Skill effectively provides real-time market predictions on request, without the need to open up a web browser or download another app. Moreover, it provides reports centered around individual analysts, as well as short biographies of those analysts so that users can follow those analysts they trust the most. While more of a curiosity for the average user, that gives market participants at every level quick and easy access to the information they need to make smart trading decisions. Beyond that, a partnership between Amazon and JP Morgan hopes to eventually allow real-time buying and selling in that same Alexa Skill – opening new possibilities for those seeking to participate and a powerful tool for more prominent participants to act on new information immediately.
Looking further ahead, New York Life reportedly plans to begin utilizing Amazon's A.I. to assist as many as 12,000 of its agents with their jobs at some point later this year. The Skill will be used to help the company's insurance agents access details about clients in order to better assist with answering customer queries. But it will also serve as a way to brief employees about policy changes, agency-wide offers or products, and other information that may be pertinent to their day-to-day tasks. By using A.I. to assist its employees, New York Life seems to be providing a glimpse of how the technology can augment workers without replacing them – increasing efficiency and cutting costs without eliminating jobs. Meanwhile, Amazon's position in the digital assistant market could be cemented by these efforts to drive next-generation productivity.