Imagine a long morning car commute where you want to check your email before arriving at work. Not only do you need a hands-free voice interface to read your emails, but you also need a way to pick out the most urgent ones. Once at work, it’s more of the same—an overwhelming number of messages and only a few minutes before your next meeting to figure out which ones to read.
Founded in 2014 in Tel Aviv, Israel, Knowmail aims to keep email as relevant and efficient as possible. The company’s three founders were struck by the constant need to monitor emails and the enormous amount of time lost by reading irrelevant messages. They resolved to fix the problem of email overload in organizations by using personalized artificial intelligence (AI).
The Knowmail solution filters the most important emails in your inbox and also summarizes actionable conversations. It learns a user’s habits quickly to determine priority emails and commuting patterns. Oded Avital, COO and Cofounder of Knowmail, says, “Using our Knowmail AI solution, people can identify the one single email that they must react to—right now!”
AI is not the future anymore—it’s here
Knowmail set out to develop an AI solution to assist with email via an onscreen experience for desktop and mobile devices, working with Microsoft for more than a year. Knowmail became an early developer partner for Cortana, the intelligent digital assistant, and connected its email solution to the Cortana Skills Kit as soon as the kit was available.
Working closely with the Cortana team, Knowmail used the Microsoft Bot Framework to create a bot and published the code to Cortana. Knowmail CTO and Cofounder Avi Mandelberg says, “You can publish your bot to Azure in seconds and have it working in Cortana. Develop once to reach multiple platforms, and get access to 60 million potential users in the US.”
For the “intelligence” part of the AI equation, Knowmail uses Microsoft’s Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) to build language models to understand and respond to users. Mandelberg says, “Through LUIS, we can understand a user’s intent, which helps us create a multi-turn experience that feels like a real conversation with a colleague.”
An adaptive experience
Knowmail uses the intelligence in Cortana to help determine which experience (voice or screen, short summaries or detailed messages, etc.) is better for an individual user at the moment. For example, the Knowmail service may use voice only for urgent email while a user is commuting. At other times, it may prompt the user on a mobile or PC device to respond by typing.
Mandelberg sums up, “With Cortana, you get tools for speech recognition and language understanding, along with the Bot Framework, so you can focus on your product and let Cortana be a familiar interface to your users.”
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