Oracle’s digital assistant is now available in Microsoft Teams, the cloud hosting and services provider announced today. Oracle’s AI assistant got several other updates today, including the ability to interact via voice commands, enterprise-grade security for voice recordings, and the ability to respond to more complex voice commands.
The news was announced today at Oracle’s OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. As part of the Microsoft Teams integration, Microsoft Teams and Office 365 users will be able to access Oracle enterprise bots from the Microsoft Teams App Store.
“For enterprise customers, what we’re enabling [them] to do now is they can easily try to use Microsoft Teams to collaborate with their employees and colleagues and so forth with Microsoft Teams,” Oracle VP of AI and digital assistant Suhas Uliyar told VentureBeat in a phone interview. “So now what we’re making possible is the ability for them to just sort of interact with the digital assistant using the same Microsoft Teams tools, and getting access to all the Oracle applications as part of that.”
In June, Oracle and Microsoft announced a partnership for interoperability between Microsoft’s Azure and Oracle Cloud Applications so a customer could, for example, operate a database in one cloud and applications in another. Another recent OpenWorld announcement: Oracle plans to open 20 new cloud region datacenters around the world by the end of 2020.
The Oracle Digital Assistant platform — first introduced at last year’s OpenWorld event — gives enterprise employees a conversational way to complete a range of tasks associated with marketing, sales, customer service, IT help desk, HR management, recruiting, and ERP.
Since then, Oracle has forged integrations with Slack, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat, as well as popular assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant.
“While we had integrations with all the available virtual personal assistants’ voice APIs, the challenge for the enterprise customers was definitely [people thinking] ‘I don’t want my data to go to these clouds,'” Uliyar said. “What we are doing is providing an SDK where the voice part can be part of the enterprise’s application, whether it’s a web application [or] a mobile application.”
This approach may work for customer service scenarios but may be insufficient for enterprise customers who provide the Oracle digital assistant to their employees. These clients may need the ability to maintain GDPR compliance or protect personally identifiable information or provide enhanced security or privacy.
“Now there are a lot — you can read it in the press — of privacy concerns. I mean, yes, that is a concern, but the bigger concern is if, for instance, I say as part of GDPR compliance: ‘I want all my records deleted.’ Our enterprises are not going to be able to knock on the door of Amazon or Apple or Google and say, ‘Can you please delete any records for an individual, because he doesn’t want his records to be stored?’ That’s not going to happen,” he said.
Oracle digital assistant is able to respond to more complex voice commands and do things like reply to follow-up questions with semantic parsing and sequence-to-sequence vectoring, Uliyar said.
The assistant’s speech SDK also received an upgrade so it can understand more expressive conversational exchanges in voice interactions and the particular kinds of words enterprise users typically employ while at work. For example, terms like “annual recurring revenue” or “ARR” and “key account director” or “KAD” are now part of the Oracle assistant’s vocabulary. Companies can also manufacture and incorporate their own conversational data. Previously, the assistant might have heard KAD and interpreted it as cat, card, or Canadian dollar.
Vocabulary for Oracle’s AI assistant is built for verticals like finance and banking, hospitality management, construction management, utilities, and telecommunications.