Russian financial giant Sberbank’s background continues to inform the features it adds to the Salute voice assistant. Sber’s voice assistant can now exchange currency when asked on the bank’s mobile app, the first to do so.
The Sberbank Online mobile app displays currency exchange rates as a matter of course, and users could handle turning rubles into other denominations and back, but the process is sped up by simply asking the Salute virtual assistant, regardless of whether its set to the Sber, Joy or Athena personality mode. For instance, getting $50 American just requires asking Salute to buy that much, then deciding what account to pay from and where to put the new money. The AI can understand the names of 11 currencies, all of the ones available on the app. The company is already planning to extend the feature by getting the voice assistant to keep track of exchange rates and related news to trip automatic currency purchases depending on what the exchange rate is.
“We are the first Russian bank that has trained its assistants in [currency] exchange,” Sberbank director Sergei Shirokov said in a statement. “Exchange rates is a top question users put to Athena, Joy, or Sber. Of all the skills the Salute virtual assistants have, this one ranks 8th among the top questions that Sber users ask.”
Sber AI Banker
Sber’s has tied its new features to entice people to use its mobile app and buy SberPortal smart display and the SberBox TV set-top streaming device. Currency exchanges are low-key compared to interviewing Russian President Vladimir Putin at an AI conference hosted by Sber, where it also launched Russia’s first Artificial Intelligence Institute in Moscow. New financial elements to the AI have continued to appear, like the recent option to move around and invest pensions for users with the right kind of accounts. The company’s exclusives aren’t just tech, of course. For instance, Sber recently made a deal to offer exclusive beverages from Unilever and Pepsico for purchase by voice.
The appeal of voice AI to financial services is not restricted to Russia. Most recently, Wings Financial Credit Union, Minnesota’s largest credit union, began working with Nuance to add voice AI and vocal biometric security to its services. Last year, U.S. Bank launched a voice assistant for its mobile app to allows users to carry out their banking requests using conversational language and imitating the experience of talking to a bank teller. And Bank of America saw its existing virtual assistant, Erica, become increasingly popular and more often used around the same time.