Will.i.am’s tech start-up, I.am+, has raised $117 million in venture capital, according to Reuters, and it’s swiveling toward corporate tech. The startup is entering into the corporate computing market with a voice assistant called Omega that does customer service.
The I.am+ brand lines up with will.i.am’s peculiar Black Eyed Peas persona of being a futuristic yet fashion-savvy rapper. But what has I.am+ ever achieved since its founding in 2012? Its consumer gadgets have all been terrible, like its questionable line of smartwatches or its Bluetooth earbuds that resemble gauges. It’s hard to imagine the company having better luck in the already difficult smart assistant field, where we’ve seen even major tech companies struggle.
I.am+’s first corporate tech client is Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile, and the company has apparently been using Omega since July to power a customer support chatbot. That kind of makes sense, in a sad way? Chatbots still aren’t that smart, and it’s possible Deutsche Telekom was just swept up by the will.i.am persona, which is what the I.am+ company essentially boils down to.
The company also released this video showing what Omega looks like as a standalone voice assistant. Some of the requests are pretty basic — looking up pizza places, for example — but others are more complicated commands than any of the major smart assistants can handle, and it’s hard to imagine that somehow I.am+ is the company to crack the code.