HDFC Bank launches new version of its humanoid IRA

IRA, robot, HDFC Bank, Nitin Chugh

HDFC Bank recently launched IRA 2.0,its interactive humanoid. In its new avatar, IRA will enhance user experience for customers visiting the Koramangala branch in Bengaluru. IRA will interact with customers, answer bank-related queries,frequently asked questions, and guide them inside the branch with voice-based navigation. HDFC Bank also launched its virtual assistant‘EVA’ on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

IRA 2.0 has been developed by HDFC Bank in collaboration with its technology partners InventoMakerspaces and Senseforth Technologies. HDFC Bank became the first bank in the country to introduce a humanoid for customer service when IRA was first launched in January 2017 at the Bank’s Kamala Mills Branch in Mumbai.The first version of IRA is currently stationed at the Palarivattom Branch in Kochi.

To offer the simplicity and convenience of a voice conversation to banking transactions,HDFC Bank’s virtual assistant ‘EVA’ has been successfully integrated with Amazon Alexa, making it the first bank to offer voice banking experience on Alexa. Since its launch, EVA, which stands for ‘Electronic Virtual Assistant’ has addressed over 65 lakh queries onvoice and chat-based channels with over 85 per cent accuracy.With this integration, HDFC Bank customers can now chat with EVA using voice from the comfort of their homes, without having to pick up a phone, tablet or laptop.

In the first phase, customers can ask EVA on Alexa about bank’s product features, fees and charges, interest rates, credit card reward points / payment date / expiry date, and branches (address, IFSC).Customers can also enquireabout how to block / unblock card,what to do if one forgets pin, and updating personal information.

Going forward, EVA on Alexa will support banking transactions and deliver hyper-personalized services using voice. HDFC Bank collaborated with Senseforth and Amazon to build India’s first Banking skill on Alexa.

To give the experience of conversational banking using voice to the masses, EVA has been integrated with Google Assistant, making it available on millions of Android devices, as well as on Google Home. Customers can directly ask their queries to EVA on Google Assistant using voice, instead of manually typing on Google search.Users can just say “Ok Google, talk to HDFC Bank” to their Google Assistant to interact with Eva.

With these technological demonstrators, HDFC Bank aims to deliver a truly omni-channel experience to their customers by placing EVA at every customer touch point like web, mobile, social, and other channels so that customers can use the channel of their choice and will get a consistent experience as they move across channels.

The latest voice integration through the Google Assistant will enable HDFC Bank’s customers to interact with Eva through simple and intuitive voice interactions through their smartphones instead of using a desktop, laptop, application or screens.

“The launch of IRA 2.0 and EVA on Alexa and Google Assistant in Bangalore is a testament of the Bank’s endeavor to move from convenience to giving an experience to our customers using cutting-edge technologies,” said Nitin Chugh, Country Head – Digital Banking, HDFC Bank. “Today, technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are being deployed across all touch points, including branches. We want to adopt the same technologies and platform that our customers are becoming accustomed to in their daily lives. We foresee a future where these technologies will complement the Bank’s physical network and help our employees add value to our customers.”