[New York – July 26, 2018] Today, Alpine is announcing that the PetCoach Google Assistant Action and Amazon Alexa skill are live, giving pet owners assistance whenever their beloved furry friend eats something suspect. Just say “Hey Google, talk to PetCoach” or “Alexa, ask PetCoach.”
To make the applications a delightful consumer experience, Petco partnered with Alpine.AI to employ novel voice user experiences and unique technology. By leveraging Alpine’s solutions for marketers and product leaders, PetCoach was able to transform their extensive database of pet health knowledge into conversational experiences on leading digital assistant platforms, including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
PetCoach’s certified veterinarians are able to contribute, in real-time, to the conversational applications, making PetCoach a first-of-its-kind voice application on digital assistants.
“Voice is making consumer access to information much easier in every area, including our pets,” said Brock Weatherup, EVP Strategic Innovation and Digital for Petco. “By partnering with Alpine, Petco and PetCoach are leading the way for the many pet health and wellness questions that pet parents ask us, and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, every day.”
The genesis of Alpine’s platform
Alpine.AI started as VoiceLabs, and created the #1 Analytics solution for Google Assistant Actions and Amazon Alexa skills. After helping analyze 3,700 apps, Alpine uncovered an opportunity in the market to transform structured knowledge into intelligent conversational applications, and give customers the control to evolve the conversation based on consumer demand.
While experiences built with decision tree logic were first mover solutions, consumers expect more from their interactions with digital assistants.
“During the mobile revolution, Venmo, Uber, and Instagram were all adopted by users because of their innovation on the new mobile interface. Building a decision tree for smart speakers is like squishing down a website for mobile. The companies that win in voice computing will be those who disregard the decision tree paradigms of the past, to create new voice-first consumer experiences that are more convenient. Those are the products consumers will choose to use.” – Matt Hartman, Partner, Betaworks Ventures.
That is where Alpine’s dynamic application platform comes into play. In conjunction with the application, the Alpine SaaS dashboard gives customers visibility into activity, the ability to add content based on consumer demand, and control over the content delivered to the consumer.
Simply by using the Alpine SaaS dashboard, customers augment Alpine’s Machine Learning algorithms and improve the company’s applications – no data science knowledge required.
Advanced natural language understanding leads to better consumer experiences
Utilizing Alpine’s Question & Answer application module, Alpine automatically ingested PetCoach.com’s extensive pet health knowledge base and made it available on both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant with natural conversational applications.
Behind the scenes, Alpine’s Natural Language Understanding (NLU) platform does the heavy lifting to match incoming spoken word or written text to PetCoach answers.
For example, a common question pet owners ask is whether they can give their cat or dog human medicines. It turns out that people will ask that in 20 different ways – handling that requires a probabilistic approach to understanding and matching. While built-in NLU tools for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant focus on intent classification and input of known synonyms, Alpine brings complementary value by using customer knowledge bases to improve the NLU. This provides Alpine customers with a scalable solution for brands and retailers to serve the hundreds of millions of consumers that are using digital assistants today.
A new paradigm from Alpine: constantly evolving applications for digital assistants
Alpine’s background of working with over 3,700 conversational applications gave inspiration to a new way to develop applications – the “always improving application.” Alpine’s platform uncovers opportunities to augment the PetCoach application and allows non-engineers to play a critical role in evolving the “intelligence-inside.”
“Alpine has been amazing to work with. Not only for the great product and support, but also how quick they turn things around and innovate. The company’s dashboard is a great solution for us to learn more about customer behavior, when it comes to voice and digital assistants.” – Thais Andrade, Digital Product Manager, Petco.
Together, PetCoach and Alpine created an initial conversational knowledge base, and consumer testing uncovered 100’s of additional questions. With Alpine’s platform, adding to the application is easy and doesn’t require re-submitting apps to Google or Amazon – the app improves automatically and in near real-time.
Here are some great new questions PetCoach received from users, and can now understand and automatically respond to:
- What can you give a dog whose teeth are weak?
- What’s the recommended food for a young Corgi?
- What ages do puppies get shots?
- Is there any food I can add to a diet to help with my dog’s B12 levels?
- Can my kitten have vitamins?
- Is ham good for cats?
Utilizing emerging Digital Assistant SEO and cross-channel capabilities, Alpine.AI delivers industry leading application discovery and usage
Alpine has baked in automated Voice Assistant SEO capabilities into every application it builds, leading to major improvements in discovery and usage of the PetCoach app.
“It is impressive how much organic traffic the PetCoach app is getting. Voice Assistant SEO is going to be a BIG deal,” said Adam Marchick, CEO of Alpine.AI.
The ability to generate more traffic and transform top-of-the-funnel conversations into real business impact is a core focus of the Alpine solution. By using Alpine’s cross-channel capabilities, Petco has been able to leverage the digital assistant channel, and continue conversations through other high-value channels like SMS and web.
“As digital assistants continue to become a ubiquitous starting point, consumers will expect brands and retailers to work seamlessly in an omni-channel way. We are fortunate to be partnering with Petco to innovate and move our space forward.” Alexandre Linares, CTO, Alpine.AI
The start of much more innovation
It is important to remember we are just getting started with applications for digital assistants, and calibrating to the new distribution engines that Google and Amazon are providing. Expect more technology and products coming out of Alpine.AI, and more customers benefiting from these innovations.
“The future is bright for voice computing. With over a billion hardware devices live featuring Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant by the end of this year, this digital channel is meaningful for every brand and retailer. We are excited to deliver solutions that our brand and retailer partners are proud of, and be their partner in leading in this emerging digital channel,” said Adam Marchick, CEO Alpine.AI.
Alpine.AI is connecting consumers with businesses in the new, voice-enabled digital assistant world. With the growing popularity of voice-first devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home and now over 1B Android phones conversationally enabled, consumers are increasingly expecting brand experiences to deliver valuable answers on these devices. Alpine offers a SaaS solution for marketers and product leaders, to help them deliver conversational apps that are discovered and valuable on digital assistants.
About Petco and the Petco Foundation
Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer with more than 50 years of service to pet parents. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,500 Petco and Unleashed by Petco locations across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico; prescription services and pet supplies from the leading veterinary-operated pet product supplier, Drs. Foster & Smith; complete pet care services and veterinary advice through PetCoach; and petco.com. The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has invested more than $200 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, help find homes for more than 400,000 animals every year.
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