Accenture’s Peter Lacy with Pepper the robot

Accenture and SoftBank Robotics combine to offer insight into future of customer relations

Accenture’s Peter Lacy with Pepper the robot
Accenture’s Peter Lacy with Pepper the robot

In the future, all customer relations could be managed by robots. That’s what science fiction films have been telling us for decades. And now, perhaps more than ever, that vision is becoming more real than ever. 

As part of a newly announced collaboration with SoftBank Robotics to reimagine the future of digital customer interactions, Accenture Interactive demonstrated a new prototype based on the Pepper robot in Paris at Pepper Partners Europe event during InnoRobo (May 24-26), one of the world’s largest robotics events.

Pepper is the ground-breaking humanoid robot with the ability to read emotions that was developed by Softbank Robotics (previously Aldebaran Robotics) and first introduced in Japan in 2014.

The enhanced Pepper-based platform blends human and artificial intelligence, provided by Accenture Interactive, to deliver omni-channel customer service and commerce capabilities – including social media, mobile and in-store applications. 

The goal is to enable businesses around the world to use robotics to provide sophisticated, but user-friendly, customer service capabilities.

Accenture Interactive, one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing digital agencies and part of Accenture Digital, has been working with Softbank Robotics since 2013, bringing patent-pending hybrid intelligence to robots’ brains and designing innovative business applications.

The collaboration is part of Accenture Interactive’s commitment to continue to invest in research and development to explore the future of customer experience, incubating the next generation of solutions.

“We believe that the future of digital customer service will be about striking a balance between human and artificial intelligence to deliver superior and seamless customer services, at scale,” said Inés Guzmán, a managing director and Digital Customer Service lead with Accenture Interactive.

“The ability for us to enhance Softbank Robotics’ platform with enriched social intelligence, awareness and machine learning, in addition to its promising ability to scale, is consistent with our mission at Accenture Interactive to enable clients – across a variety of industries – to provide their customers with a first-class experience and build brand loyalty.”

In June 2015 Accenture Interactive used a Softbank Robotics robot to showcase its work on digital customer service R&D at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France. In addition, over the past year Accenture Interactive has demonstrated and explored interactive robotics applications with hundreds of clients at the Accenture Interactive Innovation Center in Sophia Antipolis, France.

Anatoly Roytman, Accenture Interactive lead in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, said, “We continue to work with Softbank Robotics to break new ground, exploring new and innovative ways to help our clients solve their biggest challenges and discover new opportunities.”