Three Partners Launch a Customer-service Demo Using a Digital Human

NTT Com, Toei and NTT QONOQ Begin Demonstrating Customer Services Implemented With Digital Human

NTT Communications Corporation, Toei Company, Ltd. and NTT QONOQ, INC. jointly announced the immediate launch of a customer-service demonstration using a digital human to communicate with people. In the demonstration, a realistic digital human, named "CONN," created by combining human-like visuals generated by Toei Zukun Laboratory’s digital human technology and human-like personalities (behavior and voice) developed with NTT Human Informatics Laboratories' body motion-generation and voice-synthesis AI technology, will interact with people visiting NTT Com's OPEN HUB Park virtual space. The results will be used to determine the possibility of using digital humans as new points of contact for commercial services.

CONN was developed from the faces of nine real people, or "catalysts," who were scanned with the latest version of LightStage from Toei Zukun Laboratory, based on which a realistic human (digital human) was created using computer graphics.

For CONN's personality, including behavior and voice, the motion-capture data and voice data of the catalysts were used to train an AI engine developed with NTT Human Informatics Laboratories, which reproduced the behavior and voice characteristics of real people in CONN.

In the final step, proprietary software developed by NTT Com converted the feature points of the captured facial and personality data to 3DCG.4 The software then generated digital motion and voice based on a learned program.

When people visit the OPEN HUB Park, CONN will communicate with them in a natural style, exhibiting various facial expressions, behaviors and voice tones, as if it were actually thinking, while guiding people through the various zones of the virtual park.

Reception zone: CONN will introduce the OPEN HUB Park concept using information displayed on seven LED monitors that visitors will view while wearing AR glasses.

Presentation zone: CONN will appear on a life-size LED monitor to explain the video content displayed on the monitor, and also will conduct a brief interactive Q&A session with the visitors.

Library zone: Animals symbolizing Smart World's initiatives will appear in the visitors' AR glasses to guide people through the library zone.

The 3DCG CONN digital catalyst will be optimized for multiple devices to be able to move seamlessly between the AR glasses, seven LED monitors and life-size monitor.

For the demonstration, each company has been assigned specific roles:

  • NTT Com: Provision of the OPEN HUB Park demonstration site, preparation of the evaluation scenario, architecture and infrastructure, and management of quality control
  • Toei: Supervision, production, and construction of digital catalyst system
  • QONOQ: Development of software, demonstration content and future business opportunities

The three companies will use learnings from the demonstration to explore opportunities for using digital humans within their own companies and in solutions for customers in a wide range of industries and sectors, such as event/ showroom attendants, corporate receptionists, and clothing store clerks.

As the challenges of labor shortages and needs to improve productivity grow in Japan, companies are attempting to create solutions that incorporate advanced technologies such as XR, the metaverse and robotics. Chatbots and virtual characters, for example, have been widely deployed in contact centers and stores. But many people still prefer to deal with real people, or at least virtual characters that can move and communicate like real people.

Against this backdrop, the three companies created CONN, a digital human that behaves like a natural human. CONN combines the digital human generation technology of Toei Zukun Laboratory with the body motion-generation AI technology6 and voice-synthesis AI technology7 of NTT Human Informatics Laboratories. CONN will serve as a digital catalyst8 to deliver customer services in the OPEN HUB for Smart World,9 based on which possibilities will be explored for using digital humans, developed mainly for entertainment so far, as new points of contact for corporate services.

Source: NTT com Toei, OONOQ media announcement


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