By Tania Anderson on October 28, 2013
We’ve long talked to our TVs. (If you’re a ‘Skins fan, you scream at yours.) So why shouldn’t our computers be able to talk to us? CodeBaby has designed human-like virtual assistant technology that the company says can help health insurance exchange users navigate the chore of shopping for insurance. CareFirst is its first big customer and the Colorado company is targeting state and federal exchanges.
CEO Dennis McGuire, who was in DC last week, says once the federal exchange works through its problems, a virtual assistant could be a great sell considering that many users of the exchange will be first-time insurance buyers. The company’s 3D avatars have natural human movements and voices and can answer complex questions. (Just don’t try to “friend” them on Facebook.)
Kate, the avatar, will help people sign up for healthcare coverage. CodeBaby was launched in 2006 by a group of physicians who also founded Bioware, which was sold to Electronic Arts in 2007. The 35-employee company started using video game animation for e-learning products, but over a year ago realized there was a market for any service or product that required a complex sign-up process like health insurance.
Dennis says consumers also want more control over the products and services they buy and have slowly started rejecting the 1-800 customer service model. A recent study also says by the end of 2015, over 50% of online self-service experiences will have a virtual assistant.