‘What does inflation mean?’: UBS teams up with Amazon’s Alexa for finance chat

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amazon echo

Amazon’s Echo
speaker.

Amazon

UBS is piloting a new service with Amazon’s voice-enabled speaker
Echo that lets people ask financial questions to the device’s
artificial intelligence helper Alexa.

“Ask UBS” will let customers pose questions such as: “How is the
economy of the US doing? What does inflation mean? What should I
know about a yield curve?,” according to a release from the Swiss
investment bank. UBS is hoping the service will help the bank
engage with a new generation of wealth management customers.

Alexa is the A.I. “virtual assistant” built by Amazon as a key
part of its “smart”
speaker system, Echo.
The device can play music, read the
news, give updates on the weather, and answer complex questions
all through voice command.


3.5 million Echo devices have been sold across the US
and the
product was
recently launched in the UK, with a German roll-out coming
soon.

Dirk Klee, COO UBS Wealth Management, says in an emailed
statement: “Ask UBS could become an innovative way to cut through
the jargon clutter and bring financial expertise in a new and
appealing way directly into people’s lives. Our pilot with Amazon
Alexa is an exciting start into the journey towards virtual
assistants and improved client interaction.”

The initiative will be piloted with “a select group” in November,
UBS says, but the bank does not give specifics as to how many
people will be involved and which countries the trial will take
place in.

“Ask UBS” has come out of the Swiss bank’s “Wealth Management
Innovation Lab,” which was set up in 2014 to help UBS identify
next-generation products and services for customers.

Alongside “Ask UBS,” the bank’s wealth management arm also

recently announced the launch of SmartWealth, an online
“roboadvisor.”

The product acts as a digital wealth manager, tracking investment
performance and adjusting depending on goals.

The cost is lower than traditional wealth management offerings
because much of the service is automated and people can invest
through SmartWealth with just ¬£15,000, compared to UBS’ usual
threshold of £2 million.

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