Chatbots continue to be the first line of offense for AI-powered apps. Facebook recently announced that it has over 300,000 business bots on its Messenger platform, and the growth of conversational user interfaces isn’t slowing.
But most of these bots aren’t using AI at all. Even with today’s artificial intelligence advances, chatbots aren’t good enough to answer anything more than simple, frequently asked questions.
Today Wysh announced the launch of its concierge and rewards platform, after two years in stealth mode. The startup’s answer to the AI problem? Combining artificial intelligence and real intelligence in a single platform and building the solution on blockchain technology to provide transparency.
When we say “concierge,” we don’t mean the kind that tells you about a local restaurant or takes your bags to your room. Wysh is an AI-powered multi-channel messaging platform for the enterprise — a “digital concierge as a service.”
Wysh provides instant communication between users and businesses through AI and blockchain technologies. This isn’t just about allowing businesses to engage with customers, though. The solution will also facilitate payments, which is why the company recently landed $2 million in a round led by Park Capital, a strategic investment firm focused on fintech.
Wysh provides its digital concierge as an API to service providers. It combines AI technology with human concierges and customer service teams, recognizing automatically when a customer needs a real person to answer more complex questions than a chatbot alone can solve.
“Wysh is B2B in terms of client acquisition strategy,” executive chair Alexander Lopatine told me. “We work with corporate clients to provide them the technology, allowing their customers to access their internal services through a chat interface.”
If a support request cannot be fulfilled by a chatbot, Wysh scans its network for vetted local merchants or service providers to answer the customer’s question instantly. The Wysh Intelligent Network (WIN) sits on the blockchain, and this “concierge-as-a-service” platform can be integrated into any web or mobile platform through the available API and SDK.
“The WIN allows businesses and service providers across the globe to fulfill customer requests on a completely decentralized platform,” Lopatine said. “The protocol maintains reputations, service contracts, payment records, and reward balances. Businesses will be able to generate more revenue and increase their service ratings by providing their users with top quality service.”
This combination of blockchain technology, AI, an API, and an SDK gives businesses the ability to add concierge services and support systems to any website or app.
“We basically combine an ‘Uber for concierge services’ — a marketplace approach — with an automated virtual assistant, while providing multichannel access for consumers,” Lopatine said. “These can be white-labeled bots.”
The platform also provides reports to track and optimize employee performance. Developers can integrate services with Wysh, as well as creating chatbots and mini apps. The resulting service is multichannel.
“Access could be through a mobile app, through Facebook Messenger, Telegram, SMS, or even voice transcribed into text,” Lopatine said. “It could also be provided as a widget on the user’s website.”
The company has been building Wysh while in stealth mode over the last two years, gaining feedback from private beta testers who have been creating a wide range of test projects.
“We are initially focusing on residential buildings,” Lopatine said. “Seventy percent of people have said they don’t want to call someone or talk face to face — but they will chat to their building. We have even created a specific app for that. Funnily enough, locksmith services and dog walking are among the most popular requests. People love to tip through the app instead of giving cash.”
Those initial test cases have led Wysh to expand this area of the business.
“We are creating a widget for an online city guide,” Lopatine said, “one where visitors will be able to register and access concierge services, starting with events and concert tickets.”
So what’s next for Wysh?
“Wysh will do a security token sale for fund-raising purposes,” Lopatine said. “Later, Wysh will offer Wysh tokenized loyalty points (essentially, a second utility token, which will be used to transact. The higher the transaction volume, the higher the cashback in Wysh points. Wysh is working on a partnership with a bank in the U.S. to enable end-user transactions that are compliant, which will save on card processing fees and exchange fees. And we’ll allow users to fund the wallet from a traditional fiat bank account.”
The company counts the likes of Steven Nerayoff, CEO of Alchemist.com; Dean Pemberton, former president of Quintessentially.com; enterprise chatbot veteran Noah Rafalko; Jeff Pulver, vice chairman of Alchemist.com; and cryptocurrency attorney Katya Fisher as advisors.