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Sherpa climbs into SA market

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Sherpa, a virtual personal assistant for the Spanish speaking world, is now available in beta for the South African market.

Android smartphone users will be able to use the platform’s many features including searching for information, completing transactions, managing schedules and operating the device itself.

Sherpa is free and arrives to the South African market with a broader knowledge base and more proactive and predictive capabilities than current market offerings and includes transactional capabilities that are unique in the virtual personal assistant category.

‚”Sherpa has been designed to be the interface to our digital lives,‚” commented Xabier Uribe-Etxebarria, founder and CEO of Sherpa. ‚”The personal assistant has vast knowledge, can predict your needs and learns about you over time.‚”

Technology Overview:

Sherpa is the result of 10 years of research and development by Uribe-Etxebarria in advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) and semantics technologies. Sherpa users can interact with the application through instructions given via voice, type or touch for a richer user experience

Sherpa’s capabilities were recently analysed in a Gartner research note titled ‚”Sherpa: The End of Search as You Know It for CRM,‚” by Johan Jacobs, research director.

Sherpa is able to deliver highly accurate results in response to consumer queries and requests due to its Natural Language Processing and advanced semantic technology. Sherpa relies on five levels of linguistic analysis, which include morphological, syntactic semantic, pragmatic and functional analysis. Building on Sherpa’s strong linguistic foundation, the platform algorithms further enhance the user experience, interactivity and capabilities.

Today, the beta version of Sherpa incorporates the following technology capabilities to deliver a highly functional personal assistant platform:

· MultiKnowledge System: Draws information from several sources to deliver relevant and targeted content, minimising dependency on search engines. Instead of simply providing search results, Sherpa takes users directly to the information requested, removing a step in the information-gathering process. Sherpa searches across many sources and finds relevant results that are displayed to the user. The MultiKnowledge system can also retrieve information such as sports results, Yelp-based searches, LinkedIn profiles, translations and dictionary definitions.

¬∑ Interactive Information Card: The platform delivers the right information based on Sherpa’s ability to contextualise the topic at hand, delivering a rich, natural user experience. For example if the user asks, ‚”Who is Jacob Zuma?‚” Sherpa will know that this is a person and will provide relevant, deep information gathered from LinkedIn profiles, photos, informational pages and websites.

¬∑ Transactional: Sherpa’s sophisticated transactional capabilities enable users to conduct searches and complete related transactions. Users can search for airline tickets and. For example, the user can ask Sherpa, ‚”I want a flight from Johannesburg to London tomorrow‚” After getting the results, Sherpa helps navigate the user to purchase tickets for the selected option. Users can also complete full PayPal transactions. These functions are completely unique to Sherpa and not available through any other personal assistant application on the market today.

¬∑ Proactive: Sherpa learns from user habits and provides timely alerts. Sherpa’s proactive knowledge is not based on what the user tells it to do, it is based on the history of what the user does. Sherpa’s proactive capabilities will continue to expand to anticipate additional user needs with future releases.

· Operations and Device Interaction: Sherpa allows users to perform simple tasks and interact with the mobile device itself. Users can turn the ringer volume up or down, set alarms, make calendar appointments, update their Facebook or Twitter status or retrieve Twitter mentions all from the Sherpa app by voice command.

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