We are very excited to publicly announce the Lola project, and the future of Virtual Personal Assistants for banking. This project, which we’ve been working on with BBVA for several years now, is the first application of what we see as the next generation of virtual personal assistant technology beyond Siri.
For BBVA, Lola is a cornerstone of its customer-centric banking vision, which includes bringing the simplicity and reassurance of in-branch banking to the online world. The goal of the Lola project is to achieve that simplicity and reassurance by integrating human-like interaction into the user experience.
Creating more human-like interaction means understanding the user’s intent and then acting upon it. Since users usually can’t express their intent in a single sentence, Lola needs to understand conversation. To act on the user’s intent, Lola must reason about what to do, and know how to do it in the online banking system. These are difficult challenges, but when BBVA came to us with these needs, we saw them as a great fit for SRI’s next generation virtual personal assistant technology, which is based on conversational natural language understanding, reasoning, and in-depth knowledge of specific applications.
BBVA Compass (their North American franchise) will be testing Lola over the next months internally with employees and their families. We will be using that experience to improve Lola’s natural language capabilities while simultaneously expanding the range of banking services and capabilities it supports. When the system is customer-ready, it will be deployed more widely. BBVA sees VPA-based banking expanding to all of the bank’s touch points with customers, and to ever more sophisticated assistance such as suggesting ways for customers to make better use of the bank’s evolving products and services.
With Lola we are seeing a fundamental step toward the future of banking, and a key milestone for SRI’s next generation of VPA technology.