This article originally appeared on Retail News Asia.
Visitors to the recent Retail Asia Expo in Hong Kong found themselves taking part in a unique experience – chatting to Antony, an AI bot fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin and eager to help them find their way around the expo.
Built by connected retail technology specialist Red Ant, Antony was developed as a proof of concept AI and speech recognition platform. Attendees interacted with him as a virtual concierge, getting details about food and beverage options, key locations within the expo and background information on Red Ant.
Antony was created by using a speech to text API for the input – voice commands are sent to an AI platform where they are processed – and output generated using a text-to-speech API. Users simply walked up to his terminal and were prompted to greet him. Then, through a series of guided questions, Antony was able to give information about the venue and catering arrangements.
He proved very popular among the visitors, generating enquiries from a number of representatives from malls, office blocks, transport hubs and hotels.
Jonathan Cummings, Managing Director of global creative agency StartJG, said: ‘It was brilliant to have Antony and his Red Ant colleagues be part of our Interact Zone at the Expo. We curated the space to demonstrate the best and most innovative things happening in retail right now and Antony was a huge hit with visitors. We hope to see much more of Antony and bots just like him in the future.’
Elisa Harca, Red Ant’s Regional Director for Asia, said: ‘The Retail Asia Expo attracts more than 10,000 visitors from 60 countries – it was the ideal arena for showcasing Antony and what he can do. The right technology in the right place is key to ensuring customers have a first-class experience, and Antony demonstrates just how innovative and engaging the latest tech can be.’