Meet the virtual assistant for the data science world

Meet the virtual assistant for the data science worldIt’s Monday morning, the boardroom is crowded, the coffee cups are full and the questions are flowing.

Sales targets, revenue forecasting and monthly figures are high on the agenda, yet as is commonplace across organizations of all shapes and sizes, straight questions seldom yield straight answers.

Because a simple request such as getting an answer from a question asked to a colleague can take several minutes.

With so many options to communicate these days, businesses can often take the longer step of sending an email instead of addressing a person directly.

The industry today however has become accustomed to asking questions virtually, to assistants such as Siri from Apple, Cortana from Microsoft or Alexa from Amazon.

But a disconnect still exists—organizations have quickly realized the value of data, yet remain challenged to maximize such information, with blockades in place when attempting to extract insight.

Coupled with a lack of data scientists active in the local market—especially within financial services—one Australian start-up is facing industry giants through game- changing software.

Introducing Hyper Anna, a machine learning virtual agent that works as a data scientist.

Launched in February 2016, the Sydney-based business operates as a modern-day artificial intelligence company, with interacting with Anna akin to interacting with a work colleague.

Specifically, users can quiz the virtual assistant via text, email or by asking a question to a mobile interface, in the same way as current market offerings.

Housing the capability to address several requests at any given time, the software returns insights to a user in as little as six seconds.

“A lot of the problems that we solve with Hyper Anna today were problems that we witnessed first-hand,” Hyper Anna co-founder and CEO Natalie Nguyen said. “Many organizations globally are struggling to find data scientists to do the analytics and get the insights they need.”

Alongside fellow co-founder Sam Zheng, both hold experience as data scientists, which in turn provided the inspiration to develop an application in the form of Hyper Anna.

“For us the secret sauce is that our team are all data scientists,” Nguyen added. “It’s different from tech start-up teams where the majority of people come from engineering backgrounds. Our approach is data analytics for everyone–not just the select few.”

According to Nguyen, the software automates analytics processes, allowing employees to ask complex questions without the need to reach out to a data scientist.

User engagement

Currently, the application—which is built on the Microsoft Azure platform—is designed to answer questions in plain English but, with plans of expanding into China and other Asian markets, other languages will be available soon.

“There are three ways to interact with Anna, you can either go into a website and basically the data has been piped directly to Anna’s brain and sits in an Azure cloud, then you can ask a question in the website,” Nguyen added.