Chapter III

AI today and tomorrow

A conversational AI with personality

Telefónica’s new vision for AI technology is one that could extend everyone’s capabilities.

With 350 million customers worldwide, the company needed a name for its conversational AI that represented what Aura truly is. A name that would resonate with customers around the world.

“It was a complex decision because we wanted to have a name that worked in multiple countries,” explains Chema Alonso, Telefónica’s Chief Data Officer.

Telefónica landed on the idea of a halo…a digital second self that you can access when you choose.

“It’s the data all around you; it’s your Aura,” says Alonso. “It’s this information living across digital services, and we want to give our customers total control of the data they generate through Aura.”

Speaking your language


Through simple, natural interactions, customers can use Aura to manage the relationship with Telefónica and the products and services they have with the company.

“We want our customers to love us,” says Irene Gómez, Aura global director at Telefónica. “And by using Microsoft and Azure to make engagement with our services more human, we will certainly increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.”

While specific Aura services vary by country, most Telefónica customers can ask Aura questions about the products and services they use, including getting real-time support, reviewing billing information, or creating and tracking a claim.

Customers can also ask Aura to change the TV channel, find information about their favorite shows, program recordings or request movie recommendations.

Telefónica’s also developing Aura services specifically for people with disabilities.

Microsoft AI provided the necessary tools for Telefónica to manage data in a way that customers could easily interact with. And with the power of LUIS, customers could do this in their own words.

“LUIS allows Aura to continuously improve and grow in functionality and customizability as it gets to know you,” says David Carmona, Microsoft’s General Manager of AI Marketing. “The more consumers talk to Aura, the smarter and more relevant Aura can be.”

Building trust


By creating intuitive technology that makes clients’ lives easier, Aura is a product that can improve Telefónica’s relationship with their clients and set a foundation of trust.

“With Aura, we want to transform data into knowledge and place it into our customers’ hands so that they are able to know, decide and act, and so that they can make the most of their relationship with Telefónica,” says Alonso.

Each customer will also have a “personal data space,” which will store the digital traces they leave when using Telefónica products and services.

For instance, through Aura’s Timeline feature, consumers will be able to easily and chronologically see the data generated as they use the company’s products and services, providing greater transparency.

Each customer will also have a “personal data space,” which will store the digital traces they leave when using Telefónica products and services.

The future of Aura

More human interaction provides Telefónica the opportunity to reach new consumers, including older adults who wouldn’t typically use AI. The company is also exploring how Aura’s capabilities can be extended to assist persons with disabilities in new ways.

We’re looking to create something using cognitive services that can be adaptable to our customers’ situations. — Irene Gomez, Aura Global Director

“It is not always easy to know how to use technology,” says Julia Llanos, Aura’s Data Science Manager. “But with Aura and Microsoft AI, someone who has a limited understanding of what artificial intelligence is can still use it.”

Telefónica is also working to tailor how Aura will respond, depending on the context. “We’re looking to create something using cognitive services that can be adaptable to our customers’ situations,” says Aura Global Director Irene Gomez.

Building easy-to-use technology to create a deeper relationship with clients is a successful business strategy that’s applicable to multiple industries.

“AI empowers innovation and is helping to transform businesses like Telefónica,” says Carmona. “AI can create a new type of organization that’s more efficient, and capable of offering better products and new experiences for customers. With Microsoft AI, companies have the tools to join this conversation in a way that makes sense for their business and customers.”

We are connecting millions of people. We want to bring them into the future. — Chema Alonso, Chief Data Officer
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