Google Duplex not only represents the tech giant’s newest capability – it turns the page on how customers and businesses will interact going forward. Artificial intelligence (AI) has officially gone to the next level, and the relevant use case is directed towards a task that’s seminally indispensable to both businesses and consumers: appointment scheduling.

In his keynote at the Google I/O 2018 Conference last month, CEO Sundar Pichai sent shockwaves through the technology and business landscapes with a demo of Google Assistant that stunned the audience by making an actual phone call and booking a hair appointment with a human assistant.

Sundar’s jaw-dropping demo featured a new Google Assistant feature – called Google Duplex – that the company will launch on a limited basis this summer. In the demo, the automated Assistant called a hairdresser and conducted a scheduling discussion with a salon receptionist, replete with standard twists and turns typical of such appointment-booking dialogue. The result was a successfully scheduled appointment – and an amphitheater full of totally impressed conference-goers.

This is a crossing-the-Rubicon moment. We have entered the age of the appointment-driven economy. Scheduling has officially gone mainstream

AI systems like Google Assistant and Engageware Reserve with Google make interactions much more efficient by “seeing” patterns that people can’t easily recognize, applying customized resources, and suggesting live conversations when they’re most valuable. Pairing AI with scheduling – the basis of Intelligent Appointment Scheduling™ (IAS) – will help companies achieve new levels of customer engagement. This new IAS-based world lets businesses deliver the right level of branded engagement and meet the expectations of today’s on-demand consumers, who value instant gratification and expect personalized interactions tailored to their unique needs.

IAS will also benefit the innovators who carefully design and optimize these personalized approaches. Companies in the financial services, technology, and retail industries are using IAS to establish the right connections, with the right customers, at the exact moment when their interest is highest.

The integration of AI and Engageware’s IAS platform makes it possible, and practical, for businesses to connect highly qualified internal experts with high value prospects. For the first time, companies can reliably deploy the exact right resources and experts to engage 1-on-1, in real time, with qualified prospects.

We’ve been quietly building to this moment. Big brands like Wells Fargo, Prudential, IBM, Lowe’s and BestBuy have for some time powered marketing, sales and services with IAS. Smart Matching technology checks the calendars of relevant staffers to deliver your requested service while integration with IBM’s Watson AI and Salesforce Einstein AI drives optimized engagement over the full customer lifecycle.

Incorporating Duplex within Google Assistant means consumer-driven self-service scheduling is going to the next level, bringing appointment booking into the mainstream. Indeed, the idea that you can schedule an appointment and book something is fast becoming an indigenous part of the search process. Duplex reinforces Google’s belief that intelligent appointment scheduling is – like Google itself – about more than just search. It is a seminal part of conducting commerce in today’s economy. This means that businesses will need to capture the increased demand for scheduling; fortunately, Engageware is a cost-effective way for business to scale to meet the demand without hiring additional staff.

Make no mistake: Intelligent appointment scheduling is now a category. Google has shown how AI can make scheduling easier for consumers. Engageware has helped business drive over half a billion appointments. Together these approaches make commerce a whole lot more productive. Amazon and other would-be market leaders are girding themselves for the challenge.

Intelligent Appointment Scheduling is a trademark of Engageware, Inc.

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