Conversational AI: Interview with Dr. Catriona Wallace, Founder and Executive Director of Flamingo AI

Dr. Catriona Wallace is the founder and executive director of Flamingo AI, an AI knowledge sharing and collaboration hub for enterprises. Their goal is to increase individual productivity and team agility by delivering accurate, compliant and up-to-date knowledge using artificial intelligence natural language search.

This interview has been featured in the Conversational AI Initiative 2019.


What is your background and how was Flamingo AI started? 

I founded Flamingo Ai in 2014. At the time I owned and ran two other firms: ACA Research, a full service market research organization & Fifth Quadrant, a human centered design consultancy and analyst organization. Through these organizations I saw that there was still a need for large enterprises to have better relationships with both employees and consumers and that an opportunity existed to invent a technology platform that augmented humans and amplified existing systems. 

What is Flamingo AI’s mission?

Flamingo Ai’s purpose is to power human capability using AI and to do this by providing AI based tools such as our Knowledge Sharing Hub to enhance employees for better performance. In this way we believe the customer is ultimately better served.

Walk us through Flamingo AI’s products, and what problems they solve. 

Flamingo Ai is an AI native Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration Hub for Enterprise. 

The ‘Knowledge Sharing Challenge’ is the inability of employees and teams to locate, retrieve and provision accurate, compliant and up-to-date information efficiently, resulting in sub-optimal productivity, poor experience and risk of non-compliance. In the US alone this is a $240billion problem.

Flamingo Ai increases individual productivity and team agility by instantly delivering accurate, compliant and up-to-date knowledge using artificial intelligence natural language search. We retrieve and deliver the right information at the right time.

Think of our product as an AI based Subject Matter Expert & Collaborator.

What are the biggest challenges that you are currently facing at Flamingo AI?

The two biggest business challenges Flamingo faces is 1) the slow pace of enterprise procurement so long sales cycles and 2) passing an organization’s security audit to be able to handle customer data. Flamingo has invested 2 years and over $500,000 to be SOC2 Type 2 accredited which allows us the ability to pass the security audit much easier than other AI companies that may not have this level of security. 

Additionally, in Australia it is always a challenge finding skilled staff as they are snapped up by the bigger tech companies such as Google, Atlassian, Canva. 

We humans will be freed up from the mundane administration tasks which currently take up an inordinate amount of time.

How can enterprises leverage conversational AI to make their customers happier and more satisfied?

Conversational AI can be used by enterprises to:

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  • Answer questions from customers and employees
  • Guide customers or employees through simple workflows or journeys – these might include sales, service, complaints, general enquiries
  • Act as a Subject Matter Expert to provide fast, accurate, compliant information easily

Good Conversational AI should be able to be used either fully automated or in HAVA mode – Human Assisted Virtual Assistants where the machine augments the human.

Conversational AI can be used in many ways by organizations to help speed up Customer Service and Employee satisfaction. There are many use cases to allow customers to use conversational AI to self serve and find answers to their queries faster and 24/7 without having to have human interaction or call the contact centre. 

In our case, Flamingo allows employees within any organization to use our Conversational AI Knowledge Hub to find the answers to the questions they don’t know the answer to and that is blocking them from completing their role/task. Organizations have so many department silos, cumbersome legacy knowledge systems; and knowledge sometimes isn’t even captured in any corporate system and difficult for an employee to know or understand where to search for information. Sometimes it can take days to get an answer to a question about a process or product – which is frustrating and costly for a business. Flamingo can capture this information in its AI brain and it is never lost, perfect for compliance as well as you know the answer that is provided has been approved and correct. 

There are many use cases to allow customers to use conversational AI to self serve and find answers to their queries faster and 24/7 without having to have human interaction or call the contact centre. 

How can enterprises get started with their conversational ai strategy?

Enterprises need to start experimenting asap if they aren’t already. Pilot programs shouldn’t cost more than $50,000, should be contained to a small department or around a specific product and service and organizations should look for a real life use case examples which AI could be a solution for to prove out the hypothesis and test against KPIs set at the beginning of pilot projects. AI should only be deployed where other technology solutions have been resisted.

What are the biggest opportunities for enterprises to leverage Conversational AI?

The biggest opportunities for enterprises are to reduce mundane routine tasks by automation using Conversational AI, freeing up their workforce to concentrate on higher value, customer facing relationships and tasks which provide greater satisfaction and return. 

Organizations have so many department silos, cumbersome legacy knowledge systems; and knowledge sometimes isn’t even captured in any corporate system and difficult for an employee to know or understand where to search for information.

Which Conversational AI-related technology trend do you think will have the biggest impact in your industry in the coming years?

Very soon everyday people will have their own AI Virtual Assistant in their smart phones or devices that are able to talk and transact with their essential service provider’s AI completing routine tasks such as annual product renewals, new purchases, appointment bookings etc. We humans will be freed up from the mundane administration tasks which currently take up an inordinate amount of time. AI should be controlled by voice and gestures. Data sovereignty will be a big item in this application of Conversational AI. 

What are the most interesting conversational AI use cases for business that you see emerging in 2019?

2019 should be the year when employees are better empowered using AI tools. This should be for Knowledge Retrieval, Collaboration, Workflow Automation and Data Analytics for fast, better decision making. 

Essentially AI should make things for enterprise faster, bigger and cheaper. Equally, AI will break things faster, bigger and cheaper – so the future is not without peril!

The mission of AI Time Journal is to divulge information
and knowledge about Artificial Intelligence, the changes that
are coming and new opportunities to use AI technology to
benefit humanity.

About AI Time Journal Editorial Staff

The mission of AI Time Journal is to divulge information and knowledge about Artificial Intelligence, the changes that are coming and new opportunities to use AI technology to benefit humanity.

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