Manthan, the Bengaluru-based analytics and big-data firm, has created the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered conversational agent that provides business answers to CEOs within seconds.

While voice-based personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant have broken new ground, Maya is the first conversational agent invented for Business Analytics that targets Business Heads of corporations.

In a live demo of Maya’s capabilities, this reporter introduced herself as Megan Johnson, CEO of a chain of super stores, and received answers under five seconds for each of the following questions: ‘What is my sales and margin for this month? Which is my most profitable category? Which are my top 3 profitable regions? and what is the stock-to-sales ratio for this month?’

Maya, which is currently integrated with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice-based conversations, sifts through millions of data points in real time, including company business data, weather data, social media data and macro-economic data. It analyses them and responds within seconds.

Integration plans

Maya will be integrated with Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana over the next six months.

“While voice is used for browsing and as a personal assistant today, Maya is an industry first, a voice agent to be integrated with a business information system, which puts Manthan firmly on the path to lead the transformation to zero-touch user interfaces (UIs) and voice-based interactions. “CEOs can speak to Maya while sipping their morning coffee, having a shave or even while commuting for instant updates on their business, which will help them make decisions and resolve problems faster,” said Atul Jalan, founder-CEO, Manthan.

Maya is powered by AI technologies such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), intent analysis and deep machine learning that are embedded in Manthan’s Analytics Suite of products, added Jalan.

Manthan’s AI R&D team, which invented Maya, was set up three years ago and Jalan has pumped in $7.5 million toward setting up and maintaining the team, which has 30 members who have majored in NLP, Machine Learning, Mathematics and Statistics.

“We are perhaps one of the few companies that invests 12-15 per cent of our revenue in R&D annually. The result is a disruptive innovation like Maya, which was touted as the ‘coolest invention of the year’ at NRF’s biggest Retail Technology conference, held in New York earlier this month,” he said.