Natural Language Technology is Here

Advanced software that allows computers to understand the exact meaning of questions and answer them with speed and precision has just become available, through an alliance between Andersen Consulting and answerFriend.

AnswerFriend develops natural language processing technology to improve e-commerce. QuestionEngine can understand requests in everyday language and specialist jargon. It can provide an answer in plain English by retrieving information instantaneously from large bodies of text, tabular data, numbers, or a mixture of both. Answers are immediate, precise and concise. This means, for example, that calls routed to a call center can be handled by fewer people and in a fraction of the time it takes to use old-fashioned keyword-based tools.

"The personal computer became ubiquitous in businesses and in homes when the green screen computer interface was replaced by graphical user interface. Likewise, answerFriend’s technology eliminates all barriers to using the Internet. If you can ask a question, you are computer literate. Or as we think about it, the computer has now become literate," said Gary Mekikian, chief executive officer of answerFriend.

"We knew we had a powerful product that could redefine the customer experience, but to be truly successful, we needed more. That’s why we turned to Andersen Consulting. Together, we will establish a new computing standard in the global marketplace," added Mekikian.

"Our clients recognize that they must reorient themselves to deliver exceptional customer experiences," said Robert Frerichs, managing partner at Andersen Consulting. "By teaming with answerFriend, we will be able to provide a leading-edge solution that makes it easier for companies to respond to their customers and deliver improved services."

Andersen Consulting plans to use answerFriend’s technology across its practices in the areas of customer relationship management, e-commerce, knowledge management and wireless portal implementations.

"The answerFriend technology is revolutionary in terms of the range and breadth of data it can manage," said Thomas Fischer, a partner with AC Ventures. "It can change the way people work and the way companies do business."

AnswerFriend’s technology is applicable to online, offline and wireless interactions between companies and their customers.

"Our technology will also help companies forge better relationships with customers through Internet interactions," said Mike Murphy, answerFriend’s chief operating officer. "Today, two-thirds of all e-commerce orders are abandoned, often because customers can’t get good product information fast enough. Potential customers just give up and log out, often switching to a competitor’s web site."

Based in Palo Alto, California, AC Ventures, the venture capital unit of Andersen Consulting, works with entrepreneurs to build companies that transform industries and generate superior economic returns. It also provides a venture capital option that can help start-ups.

You may like these other stories...

You probably don't want to think about how many times you access the File menu in Excel 2010 or 2013. Personally I think Excel 2010 has the best possible File menu arrangement, other than having Print Preview grafted...
Following other recent high-profile hacking events, investigators discovered yesterday that hackers broke into the draft work paper files of several famous CPA firms. Revealing images of the scantily clad documents have been...
For bitcoin users, the taxman cometh. And you best know how to calculate taxes owed on what the IRS calls convertible virtual currency.In March 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-21, which declares virtual currency will be...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Sep 18
In this course, Amber Setter will shine the light on different types of leadership behavior- an integral part of everyone's career.
Sep 24
In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards. A dashboard condenses large amounts of data into a compact space, yet enables the end user to easily drill down into details when warranted.
Sep 30
This webcast will include discussions of important issues in SSARS No. 19 and the current status of proposed changes by the Accounting and Review Services Committee in these statements.
Oct 23
Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.