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At Annexa, collaboration and innovation is at the heart of our business, so we were excited to be involved in our strategic partner REA Group’s quarterly hack event known as REAio!

A core component of REA’s Inventorship Program, REAio (formerly known as ‘Hack Day’) is all about moving concepts into working, usable inventions. REAio provides an open collaborative forum in which REA Group staff & expert industry partners can get together to explore and experiment with new, exciting technologies. After two and a half days of developing ideas, teams get together to showcase their work to the business with the aim of fostering a normalised culture of creative ideation and invention.

Annexa partnered with REA’s finance team, along with Microsoft’s technical specialists. The concept was simple, to provide customers with a great experience when managing their account.

After some brain storming, ‘FinnBot’, the friendly automated customer service bot was born. FinnBot allows REA customers to ask any question within a chat box and FinnBot both understands the question and provides helpful feedback.

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The team utilised Microsoft’s new Artificial Intelligence tools connected with REA Groups cloud ERP platform NetSuite.

FinnBot’s responses to the first few questions were far from helpful, but after loading the bot with more and more questions and applying machine learning, FinnBot began to understand the user’s intents. From here, the team were able to start returning relevant live information from NetSuite back to the customers.

At the showcase event, FinnBot received questions such as “whats my account balance?”, “can you send me a receipt?”, “i’m missing my statement, can you please send me the latest?” and the bot was able to respond with the relevant information.

The creative team also injected a bit of humour. One customer asked “can you tell me a joke?” in which FinnBot replied with, “I’m a robot, I don’t understand humour – try siri”.

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Hack Day was a great chance for Annexa, REA Group and Microsoft’s talented people to work together, and fuse their passion and creative ideas into new innovations.

You can follow @AnnexaPtyLtd and @hackday_rea on Twitter to stay up to date on future collaborations and innovations.

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