Bank Of America Launches AI-Powered Assistant, Erica

'Erica' will allow mobile users to issue commands via voice, text, or gesture in a bid to make the in-app banking experience quicker and easier.

Bank of America has rolled out its AI-powered assistant, “Erica,” a move aimed at simplifying the mobile banking experience by allowing users to issue commands via voice, text, or gesture — and one that evidences the proliferation of so-called intelligent assistants across verticals.

In order to get started with Erica, users simply log in to their existing Bank of America mobile app, tap on Erica, and watch a short demo. Then, per Bank of America’s statement, they’re set up to use voice or text assistance to help them check routing numbers, schedule payments, send money to friends, and more.

In other words, voice assistance has moved beyond asking Alexa to play a song — and it appears that brands of all stripes are beginning to explore how AI-powered assistants can make the mobile experience easier and more intuitive.

Voice Across Verticals

If you’re wondering how “futuristic tech” like AI can make an experience more intuitive, check this out: According to neuroscience research backed by JWT and Mindshare, study participants’ brains worked harder when processing information via text than voice. This makes sense; voice-based communication is the original mode of human interaction. And as human beings tend to follow the path of least resistance, it stands to reason that more and more of them will flock to voice as the cognitively simpler option over time.

Additionally, while it’s still early days, Bank of America’s move to offer intelligent voice-based assistance to its 25 million mobile customers further evidences why marketers need to think about building a voice strategy now — or risk being left behind.

“In this overwhelming, desperate battle to be relevant, we’re [always] looking for every bit of context so that we can create something that has real value for consumers,” Lou Paskalis, SVP, customer engagement and media investment at Bank of America, told GeoMarketing in 2016.  “The bottom line is that the banking center can be a solution center. It must be.”

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Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.