AIA Singapore welcomes two new robotic hires

Two robots, one from Japan and another home-grown in Singapore, recruited to man the frontlines

AIA Singapore welcomes two new robotic hires


By Gabriel Olano

AIA Singapore has brought in two robots, Pepper and Nadine, to join its ranks of customer-facing staff. The two are the first humanoid robots to take on customer service roles in Singapore’s insurance industry.

They engage with customers by responding to general enquires about the insurer and its customer service centres, providing details on customers’ policy loans and submissions on some policy transactions requests, as well as other common enquiries while promoting AIA Singapore’s customer portal, AIA eCare, to encourage self-help.

Pepper was developed by Japan’s Softbank Robotics and has seen duty in customer service roles for other insurers. He is stationed at AIA’s newly renovated Finlayson green customer service centre, where he shows off his signature dance moves.

Meanwhile, home-grown Nadine was created by scientists at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). She is modelled after her creator, NTU professor Nadia Thalmann, and can be found at AIA’s Tampines centre.

According to AIA, both are socially intelligent humanoid robots with the ability to perceive emotions and adapt their behaviours to respond in an appropriate manner. They will evolve continuously through acquiring new knowledge to become more effective to customers.

“Incorporating artificial intelligence with Pepper and Nadine is just one of many digitally-driven efforts at AIA Singapore,” said Melita Teo, chief operations officer of AIA Singapore. “On this, we are single-minded in creating a customer-centric digital ecosystem that establishes a whole new standard that goes beyond how customers are typically serviced to deepen engagement with our customers, supporting them in leading healthier, longer and better lives together with their families.”

“Strategic partnerships with industry leaders such as AIA Singapore build on NTU’s strengths in AI and data science, and are key to strengthening NTU’s cross-disciplinary research in social robotics technologies, including engineering, computer science, linguistics, and psychology,” said Thalmann, who is the director of NTU Singapore’s Institute for Media Innovation.

“Such collaborations pave the way for tangible tech-enabled solutions to real-world business challenges, as Singapore pushes the frontiers in our Smart Nation drive. Through Nadine’s four-month stint at AIA, we hope to define new humanoid features that are necessary for jobs in the insurance and banking industries.”

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