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in Europe Technology News - 18 Oct, 2012
by Tech Journalist - no comments
hybrid virtual assistant launched by French startup I-DISPO

There was a certain debate whether the  Google Now was better than Siri or not, both automated virtual assistants embedded in the smartphones whether it is iPhone or android based, to be honest both lacked a major element… that is the human intelligence. It is no surprise that we are still far from the levels of artificial intelligence required to be able to simulate the human reasoning. I-Dispo a french startup decided to launch a hybrid assistant “Sara” that uses the best of both worlds, the technological tools combined with the human intelligence.

Founded by Ismael Nzouetom in 2010, I-Dispo provide virtual assistance through mail, facebook or smartphone apps, the systems works in a way that requires the human input whenever the task is hard for the machine to execute, so instead of getting the boxed responses based on wolfram alpha (Siri) or not found, Sara will alert a search expert that will do the task and report back.

here’s how the site presents Sara

Imagine you have a personal assistant at your service 24/7, in your pocket, on your desk and even in your car while driving, that can do or get things done for you by just asking. It contacts your doctor or your bank to organize your next appointment, tailors your next travel from A to Z (flights, accommodation, activities…), collects and selects quotes from home improvement professionals, tracks and classifies your personal expenses and much more.
  Looks like a dream ? All this becomes possible with Sara, a smart and hybrid personal virtual assistant powered by I-DISPO.With Sara, completing a task becomes as simple as a snap: you ask, you relax and Sara takes care of it for you.

She alerts you when your favorite band will perform in your city. She remembers your latest appointment with the dentist and offers you to schedule another one.  No plans for the weekend ? Sara could suggest activities around you… She gets to know you better and better with time. Sara anticipates your needs and tailors her suggestions to your taste and habits.

When looking into purchasing an item, Sara will provide you with the absolute best deals and exclusive offers available. She will even carry out product comparisons customed to your interests and price point. She can do it all since she relies on I-DISPO aggregating technology to track and detect online deals. Sara can also negotiate volume discounts with providers for all her customers.

Some might say, this is not new, Google Answers offered paid assistance back in the days, and a lot of sites offer online assistants on hourly basis, maybe the concept itself is not new, but the new element is the automation part, the experts are no longer in contact with the client, and the client is only in contact with Sara, also an important element is that the data that might help get the client a good solution, like home location, work location, etc are all stored in the client’s file, so he won’t need to provide them again.

in June 2011 closed a funding round (The amount not disclosed) from Kima Ventures, Jacques-Antoine Granjon (founder and CEO of Vente Privée), Fabrice Grinda (founder of OLX) and NestadioCapital.

In French:

idispo

i dispo

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