Telefonica launches AI-powered Aura digital assistant

Monday 27 February 2017 | 08:56 CET | News

Telefonica announced at Mobile World Congress a 'fourth platform' called Aura that it says will form the basis for a new relationship model with costumers. The digital personal assistant was created with Microsoft's artificial-intelligence expertise and will enable users to manage their digital experiences with the company and control the data generated by using Telefonica’s products and services in a transparent and secure manner. "With Aura we want to transform data into knowledge and place it into our costumers’ hands so that they are able to know, decide, and act, and so that they can make the most of their relationship with Telefonica," said Chema Alonso, Telefonica’s chief data officer, during the presentation.

Aura is designed to work as a mobile app and interact with Amazon Echo and Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality glasses and can be used for basic customer service inquiries, creating and tracking a request, managing access to Wi-Fi routers, getting information about shows and programming recordings, or receiving alerts when data consumption is greater than usual. Each user will have a “personal data space” and Aura will also be able to make recommendations about products and services, the installation of security or the detection of fraudulent apps.

"Cognitive intelligence will allow us to understand our customers better, so they can then relate to us in a more natural and easy way, and generate a new relationship of trust with them based on transparency and the control of their data," said Telefonica CEO Jose María Alvarez-Pallete at the event. He added that Facebook and Unicef have joined Microsoft in supporting the technology, with the former confirming that Aura could be used to improve the effectiveness of its ‘Safety Check’ service that checks in on users during an emergency, while the United Nations agency said Aura will be able to improve the quality of its predictive models and help it track the spread of diseases.

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