American Express Acquires Virtual Travel Assistant Mezi
American Express announced on January 30, 2018, that it has acquired Mezi, the AI-based virtual travel assistant.
Mezi figures out what users want to do and forwards requests to human assistants to finalize bookings. Users can send requests for flights, hotels, and restaurant reservations through the app’s SMS-like interface. It will become completely owned subsidiary of American Express. The technology is already powering AskAmex, a personal concierge app for cardholders that launched pilot program in 2016.
Founded in 2015 as a personal shopping chatbot, Mezi builds its own deep learning and natural language processing systems instead of using services by IBM Watson and other providers. Its co-founders, CEO Swapnil Shinde and his twin brother, CTO Snehal Shinde, previously launched Indian streaming music service Dhingana, which was acquired by Rdio in 2014. After selling Dhingana, the Shinde siblings created Mezi with the idea that while people might like to shop for fun, they rarely enjoy tracking down out-of-stock items, researching large appliances or making hotel and restaurant reservations, and would prefer to have a chatbot take over those tasks for them.
According to Natural Language Processing Market report published by Coherent Market Insights, Natural language processing is a branch of artificial intelligence, which is developed to make machine understand words or statements written and spoken in human language. Mezi can be used for various purposes for better lifestyle. In a press statement, American Express Digital Labs vice president Phil Norman said “With messaging emerging as the channel of choice for many, and the demand for unique experiences increasing, we believe the combination of Mezi’s capabilities with our global network of expert travel counselors creates a differentiated, high-touch service experience for our card members.”
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