August 08, 2012

San Antonio-based USAA became the first financial services company to offer a new speech-enabled virtual assistant to its mobile app.

Nina, created by by Burlington, Mass.-based Nuance Communications, virtual assistant for mobile customer service apps. Similar to Apple's Siri, Nina combines speech recognition, Text-to-Speech (TTS), voice biometrics, and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology hosted in the cloud to deliver an interactive user experience that Nuance says can not only understands what is said, but also can identify who is saying it.

USAA will adopt Nina for use within its mobile app, with pilot planned for August and a full launch to all USAA members early next year.

“USAA’s innovative solutions are designed to make life easier for our highly mobile military service members, and increasingly for all members who now expect to get things done when, where and how they want.” said Neff Hudson, assistant vice president of emerging channels for USAA, in a prepared statement. “We believe that the virtual assistant has tremendous potential to make it simpler, faster and more satisfying for our members to manage their financial affairs on their mobile devices.”

Nuance claims that Nina is different from Siri and other virtual assistants because it incorporate both speech recognition and voice biometrics into a single integrated solution, and provides an open software development kit to support the integration of virtual assistant capabilities into existing mobile applications.

[Related: A New Customer Experience Leader: Q&A With USAA]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as ...