Emotional Intelligence: Daimler Financial Services invests in Soul Machines

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 18, 2018

Daimler Financial Services has made a strategic investment in groundbreaking New Zealand-based company Soul Machines to further develop artificial and emotional intelligence for a multi-channel, customer-service pilot.

Daimler is the first premium brand in the automotive sector to develop emotional intelligence use cases based on Soul Machine‘s technology.

“After successfully testing how artificial intelligence helps our employees better service customers, we are now investing in a disruptive technology to further enhance the customer experience,” said Udo Neumann, global CIO of Daimler Financial Services.

Daimler Financial Services and Soul Machines had already presented digital avatar ‘Sarah‘ in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Since then, ‘Sarah‘ has been successful in answering the most frequently asked customer questions during an internal pilot at one of the company‘s call centres in the USA. Daimler Financial Services plans to use Soul Machines’ technology to optimise the customer experience through artificial and emotional intelligence.

‘Sarah‘ will be able to support customers like a personal concierge. Thanks to Emotional Intelligence, the machine will be able to recognise the most diverse individual customer needs and offer the right information at the right time. For customers, this means communicating with a convenient, voice-controlled and emotionally intelligent touchpoint. This brings Daimler Financial Services to the forefront of a changing environment, as the share of online business is increasing significantly and customers are making their purchasing decisions on digital platforms.

“Customers expect intuitive, time-saving services that are available 24/7 through the channel that is most convenient for them,” said Benedikt Schell, chief experience officer at Daimler Financial Services. “With the investment in Soul Machines we are laying an important foundation to not just meet, but exceed these customer expectations.”

Soul Machines was founded in 2016 and specialises in the area of digital avatars and emotional intelligence. The company brings technology to life by creating incredibly life-like, emotionally responsive, artificial humans with personality and character that allows machines to talk to humans face-to-face.

“As we continue to lead the world in advanced AI technology and development of digital humans across a broad spectrum of industries, this strategic investment from Daimler Financial Services puts us in an even better position to quickly develop and test our disruptive technology in the automotive sector together with our great partner,” said Greg Cross, chief business officer, Soul Machines.

Neumann said that emotional intelligence will play a crucial role in adapting services, such as car financing, leasing and insurance, car-sharing or ride-hailing to customers.

“Different from today‘s voice-based, assistance technology, ‘Sarah‘ will be programmed to recognise non-verbal behaviour in real-time using face recognition.”