SRI International, the Menlo Park-based company that developed the technology behind Siri, is working on a new project in partnership with Spanish banking group BBVA. According to a report from TechCrunch, the browser-based system — dubbed "Lola" — is specifically designed to help users with online banking, imitating the style and manner of a human bank teller.
Beatriz Lara Bartolomé, BBVA's Chief Innovation Officer, claims that Lola will help you "love your bank" by radically simplifying some of the more complex, if common, online banking tasks. TechCrunch recounts a live demonstration in which a user determined the amount and due date of a loan payment, then set up a regular mortgage payment, all via voice control. Lola, which is named after a real BBVA sales agent in Madrid, is even sophisticated enough to catch corrections — when the demonstrator said "sorry, my mortage" after accidentally saying "loan," the system reportedly modified his previous statement.
BBVA will be conducting field trials with Lola over the "next few months," but has not yet revealed a date for commercial rollout. It will be interesting to see if SRI has any other context-specific systems up its sleeve — further fragmentation could seriously disrupt the market for all-encompassing personal assistants such as Siri, as well as Android 4.1's improved speech functionality, showcased at Google I/O yesterday.