Why we need chatbots
(Video only in German)
innogy opts for artificial intelligence to increase customer satisfaction
Will machines replace people in the future? Scientists and academics have been posing this question for decades and chatbots could be one answer to it. But the development of this highly complex technology is still in its infancy. To increase customer satisfaction, innogy is now working on developing intelligent chatbots.
Robots for communication purposes
Developers promise to deliver all kinds of support options for customer service in particular. The idea is to use them at innogy too, to answer simple questions and – where they cannot provide the right help – refer them to the appropriate contact person. The aim is to increase customer satisfaction and take the pressure off employees, but not replace them.
But what exactly are chatbots? In addition to robots that can assemble cars or vacuum your living room, there are so-called bots, who can communicate with people.
Use in customer service
These are nothing more than text-based dialogue systems in the form of a particular kind of software which is programmed to recognise contexts and give meaning to them. However, it is only with the aid of a functioning speech recognition system that bots actually making any sense.
Various test forms
innogy is currently testing various technologies for this. As well as collaborating with established external providers, the energy company is also working with young start-ups and testing one of its own developments.
Some initial success has come in the form of Sophie, the youngest staff member of innogy subsidiary eprimo’s customer service team. The chatbot filters customer enquiries on the energy provider’s website.
innogy Consulting already has a chatbot in place too. This is one of the most advanced forms of artificial intelligence. Via a deep learning process, the communication experience of the chatbot is fed back into the system so that it constantly develops and learns as it goes.
“eSport is the home of digital natives”
Why innogy is a pioneer of eSport and digital hiring
innogy is the first and only DAX-listed German company to have an eSport team, “Origin of Power”. Alexander Bochert and Carsten Schulte dreamed it up in 2017 – with astonishing success. Two of the players are now among the best in Germany.
The “Origin of Power” team competes for titles in the Hearthstone and FIFA games. In this interview, Bochert and Schulte explain why they decided to form their own innogy team.
Fresh Energy opts for Big Data to make life easier for customers
Imagine there was a product that measured the daily power consumption of your dishwasher – so you would know when to buy new tablets. To cap it all off, the app orders them for you automatically. That idea, which sounds like pie in the sky, could soon become a reality. Berlin start-up Fresh Energy, supported in 2017 by the innogy Innovation Hub, is working on digital aids for daily life.
Electricity no longer a black box
“We are creating real added value for our customers”, says Christian Bogatu. The CEO of Fresh Energy wants to be more than just another run-of-the-mill energy company, which is why only your actual power consumption is billed for, without any advance or back payments. “Electricity is no longer a black box commodity”, explains Bogatu. “We are creating transparency for customers with our app, where they can see the consumption of individual appliances and identify their own power guzzlers.”
Smart meter detects power consumption
To determine actual consumption, Fresh Energy has opted to replace standard power meters with intelligent measuring devices, so-called smart meters. With the aid of self-learning algorithms, they can detect the individual power consumption of each electrical appliance. For instance, washing machines use a lot of power once they are switched on and during the spin cycle. They reveal a distinctive power profile which distinguishes them from a fridge or any other household appliance.
Christian Bogatu is keen to stress: “We are continually working on refining the algorithms.” To do so, Fresh Energy uses adaptors mounted between the plug and the power point in trial households to measure the power consumption of an individual appliance. These serve as the database for the algorithms.
Start-up help from the Innovation Hub
Digital experts who can optimise these new products are very much in demand at Fresh Energy: “We are giving digital natives the opportunity to change processes that have stayed the same for decades.”
The idea for Fresh Energy came from the innogy Innovation Hub. Daniel von Gärtner, joint CEO of Fresh Energy with Christian Bogatu, has been with the project from the very start. Bogatu joined in April 2017 when the start-up was formed. He knows his way around the start-up scene. In 2012 he set up KIWI – a young company developing keyless front door systems that has been an innogy partner since 2016.