PRESS: Global media coverage on Daimler’s investment in Soul Machines™

The world is responding to the announcement by Daimler Financial Services of their investment in Soul Machines™. Read all the latest media coverage here.

Emotional Intelligence: Daimler Financial Services invests in Soul Machines

Daimler Financial Services makes strategic investment in New Zealand-based company Soul Machines™ to further develop artificial and emotional intelligence for multi-channel, customer-service pilot.

Daimler Financial Services Invests in Soul Machines

Daimler is one of the first premium brands in the automotive sector to develop emotional intelligence use cases based on Soul Machine’s technology.

Kiwi digital avatar creator Soul Machineswins Daimler investment

Leading New Zealand digital business avatar creator Soul Machines™ has a “significant” new shareholder, the financial services arm of German premium carmaker Daimler AG.

Daimler invests in NZ avatar developer Soul Machines

The investment would put the company in a better position to quickly develop and test its technology in the automotive sector.

Digitale Menschen als Kundenberater: Daimler investiert in Emotionale Intelligenz

Daimler Financial Services, die Finanzsparte des deutschen Autokonzerns, beteiligt sich am neuseeländischen Start-up Soul Machines™.

German automotive giant Daimler invests in Soul Machines

Daimler Financial Services, a subsidiary of vehicle company Daimler AG, is investing in Auckland-based intelligent and emotional avatar developer Soul Machines™.

Customers could someday work with avatars to finance with Daimler

Through Daimler Financial Services’ investment in Soul Machines™, customers may be able to make their purchase and finance decisions with advice from an avatar.

Daimler investiert in Emotionale Intelligenz

Daimler Financial Services investiert in das neuseeländische Startup Soul Machines™.

Daimler Financial Services trials avatar in customer call centre

Following satisfactory trials, DFS has now invested in the New Zealand-based company Soul Machines™.

Daimler Financial Services invests in New Zealand start-up Soul Machinesfor advanced avatars

Daimler’s financial and mobility services division has made a strategic investment in Soul Machines™

Daimler investe in Soul Machinesper sviluppare l’intelligenza artificiale emotiva

Dopo aver intrapreso con successo la strada dell’intelligenza artificiale, introdotta sui propri veicoli a partire dall’ultima generazione di Classe A, Daimler accelera nello sviluppo della tecnologia investendo in Soul Machines™.

Daimler Finance Services invests in avatar-based customer service

Daimler Financial Services has made a strategic investment in Soul Machines™, the New Zealand start-up that is a world leader in digital avatar-based customer service.

Daimler Financial Services makes strategic investment in Soul Machines; artificial and emotional intelligence

Daimler Financial Services, the financial and mobility services arem of Daimler AG, has made a strategic investment in Soul Machines™ further to develop the combined use of artificial and emotional intelligence.

Daimler Financial Services beteiligt sich an Soul Machines

Die Daimler Financial Services investiert in den Bereich Emotionale Intelligenz und geht eine strategische Beteiligung bei der neuseeländischen Soul Machines™ ein. 

HOT OFF THE PRESS: Daimler Financial Services announces investment in Soul Machines™

 

  • Daimler Financial Services makes strategic investment in New Zealand-based company Soul Machinesto further develop artificial and emotional intelligence for multi-channel, customer-service pilot.

  • Chief Information Officer Udo Neumann: “After successfully testing how artificial intelligence helps our employees better service customers, we are now investing in a disruptive technology to further enhance the customer experience.”

  • “The New Zealand start-up Soul Machinesis a world leader in the field of Emotional Intelligence for use in machines and digital avatars.”

Orlando, Florida – Daimler Financial Services, the financial and mobility services captive of German premium car and commercial vehicle company Daimler AG, announced at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando (FL) a strategic investment in Soul Machines™, a ground-breaking New Zealand company re-imagining how humans connect with machines, to further develop the combined use of artificial and emotional intelligence. Daimler is the first premium brand in the automotive sector to develop emotional intelligence use cases based on Soul Machine’s technology.

“After successfully testing how artificial intelligence helps our employees better service customers, we are now investing in a disruptive technology to further enhance the customer experience” said Udo Neumann, global CIO of Daimler Financial Services, during his keynote presentation at the Gartner Symposium. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Customer Experience: Use Case for Call Centers

Daimler and Soul Machines™ already presented digital avatar “Sarah” in February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Since then, “Sarah” was successful in answering most frequently asked customer questions during an internal pilot at one of the company’s call centers in the USA. Daimler Financial Services plans to use Soul Machines™’ technology to optimize the customer experience through artificial and emotional intelligence. Digital avatar “Sarah” will be able to support customers like a personal concierge. Thanks to Emotional Intelligence, the machine will be able to recognize the most diverse individual customer needs and offer the right information at the right time. For customers, this means communicating with a convenient, voice-controlled and emotionally intelligent touchpoint. This brings Daimler Financial Services at the forefront of a changing environment, as the share of online business is increasing significantly and customers are making their purchasing decisions on digital platforms. Benedikt Schell, Chief Experience Officer at Daimler Financial Services: “Customers expect intuitive, time-saving services that are available 24/7 through the channel that is most convenient for them. With the investment in Soul Machines™ we are laying an important foundation to not just meet, but exceed these customer expectations.”

Digital Avatars: Machines with emotional and cognitive intelligence

Soul Machines™ is a New Zealand company, founded in 2016, specializing in the space of digital avatars, emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence. The company brings technology to life by creating incredibly life-like, emotionally responsive, artificial humans with personality and character that allows machines to talk to humans face-to-face.

“As we continue to lead the world in advanced AI technology and development of digital humans across a broad spectrum of industries, this strategic investment from Daimler Financial Services puts us in an even better position to quickly develop and test our disruptive technology in the automotive sector together with our great partner,” stated Greg Cross, Chief Business Officer, Soul Machines™.

CIO Udo Neumann adds: “Emotional intelligence will play a crucial role in adapting services, such as car financing, leasing and insurance, car-sharing or ride-hailing to customers. Different from today’s voice-based, assistance technology, “Sarah” will be programmed to recognize non-verbal behavior in real-time using face recognition.”

About Soul Machines

Soul Machines™ is a ground-breaking, high-tech company of AI researchers, neuroscientists, psychologists, artists and innovative thinkers; re-imagining how we connect with machines. The company brings technology to life by creating incredibly life-like, emotionally responsive, artificial humans with personality and character that allow machines to talk to us face-to-face. Their vision is to humanize artificial intelligence to better humanity. Soul Machines™ is now deploying the world’s first digital avatars with some of the biggest corporate brands in the world in Banking and Finance, Software and Technology, Automotive, Healthcare, Energy and Education industries.

Further information from Daimler is available at: www.media.daimler.com and www.daimler.com

HOT OFF THE PRESS: emotional intelligence daimler financial services invests in soul machines

“It will be a game changer,’ says CIO Udo Neumann

By Sara Castellanos and Kim S. Nash | The Wall Street Journal | Mar 1, 2018

 Udo Neumann, global chief information officer for Daimler Financial Services, standing next to Sarah, the 'digital human,' at 2018's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Photo: Daimler AG Udo Neumann, global chief information officer for Daimler Financial Services, standing next to Sarah, the ‘digital human,’ at 2018’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Photo: Daimler AG

Digital assistants on the market now can help customers with tasks like finding the right pair of jeans and making payments to credit cards, all while being polite, helpful and sometimes witty.

Udo Neumann, global chief information officer for Daimler Financial Services, is exploring how digital assistance could go even further.

An assistant with a human-like “face,” with instant access to helpful data and programmed to detect how people are feeling and respond accordingly, could help gain customer and employee trust, Mr. Neumann said. “It’s clearly the next step in the development of an evolving technology, (where) emotions come into play.”

 Daimler Financial's Sarah can react to spoken and typed words as well as non-verbal queues. Photo: Daimler AG Daimler Financial’s Sarah can react to spoken and typed words as well as non-verbal queues. Photo: Daimler AG

Daimler Financial Services, a division of Daimler AG, announced this week it’s partnering with New Zealand startup Soul Machines on a proof-of-concept project to see how a digital assistant with a face and a name could give personalized help to employees and customers.

The companies, which have worked together for several months, are developing a “digital human” built with AI software from IBM Watson that can be programmed to answer questions related to car financing, leasing and insurance, and capabilities to recognize non-verbal cues using face recognition technology.

“It will be a game changer. I think we humans love to have interactions on an emotional basis,” Mr. Neumann said.

Neural networking and machine learning tools lets an early version, named Sarah, react to spoken and typed words as well as non-verbal queues such as a loud noise or a nodding head in agreement.

Sarah can be programmed with highly specialized knowledge about, for example, the latest Mercedes models and information about leasing options, said Greg Cross, chief business officer at Soul Machines.

“They learn to recognize you, learn about your personality type and respond and create conversational content that matches you,” Mr. Cross said.

The project is in the early stages of development, with no date set for when Sarah could be deployed to employees or customers, Mr. Neumann said. “We want to combine artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence and see how these capabilities come together,” he said.

The digital human could eventually act as a “companion” for employees at a call center or training center, he said. For customers, talking to such an avatar might increase purchases among those who feel intimidated by high-pressure sales staff, said Mr. Cross.

“Some people don’t feel comfortable in a sales room. They will have a conversation in their living room,” he said.

Then, when a customer visits a dealership for a test drive, the customer and the salesperson could converse with the avatar at a kiosk, sharing information, Mr. Cross said.

Unlike humans, Soul Machines’ digital assistant can be programmed only with traits that help it perform a job, he said. Anger and frustration, for example, will not exist. “The digital sales person simply will not have these traits,” he said.

The goal isn’t to replace a human salesperson, though. “It becomes another way a customer can interact with the company,” he said.