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  • February 13, 2002
  • News

Virtual agent, man

eGain Communications has just released Assistant 5.0, a conversational agent that can help Web site visitors search, solve problems and purchase items via typed exchanges in conversational English.

The company says the new virtual agent learns faster and more efficiently than its predecessors, automatically converting existing knowledge--typically in the form of FAQs--into the "cases" in its knowledge base with a claimed success rate of 90%, nearly double the previous rate. The company explains that a case is a set of questions such as "Do you accept credit cards?" "Which credit cards do you take?”, for which there is a unique answer, such as "We accept VISA, MasterCard and American Express."

Case-building is aided by Assistant 5.0's expanded dictionary of 30,000 words, which now includes basic retail terminology. This larger vocabulary also enables a more colloquial style of conversation with site visitors, reports the company. Assistant 5.0 also has performance and scalability enhancements. Under typical conditions, claims eGain, it is capable of handling over 1,000 simultaneous conversations on a single PC. Also, it can be deployed over multiple servers.

Assistant 5.0 is available as a stand-alone product or as a integrated module of eGain eService Enterprise. As a module, 5.0 can escalate a conversation to an automated e-mail management system via eGain Mail or to the appropriate live assistant via eGain Live.

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