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Getting Personal with Intelligent Avatars

Guest article | Dr Peter Catt

I first met Dr Peter Catt through his son Alex Bartley-Catt, Managing Director and co-founder of Spacetime. I was impressed with this powerhouse duo and their elegant insight and application of AI in business. Dr Pete (not sure he likes me calling him that) has recently founded and launched a new business, replikr® digital humans. With the power of Conversational AI, as business people we have the ability to create new touchpoints and opportunities to engage. These digital humans are artificial intelligence-powered representations of people that provide natural, empathic conversations with intelligent virtual agents through SMS (text), chat, email, phone, social media, and digital humans.

We asked Dr Pete if he could share some insight off the back of the work he has been doing at replikr® and Spacetime what our RetailX community should be aware of and consider with the changing pace of technology and customer needs.



Shoppers today often struggle to find the information they need. While simple purchases may be easier online, more complex transactions such as product returns can leave shoppers uncertain about getting the support they need. Increasing customer engagement requires greater investment in innovation. The IBM Customer Experience Index reveals that:

  • 67% of retailers do not provide any means for shoppers to compare products in-store.

  • 49% offer no access to additional product data.

  • 61% do not provide online chat options.

  • Only 28% provide responsive help options 24/7.

Give your customers what they need, wherever they are

In a world of seemingly limitless options, retailers rely on customer experience as the primary way to define and differentiate their brands and build and maintain customer loyalty. In fact, according to a recent report from NTT,

More than 80% of organisations say customer experience offers a competitive edge, and more than half consider it their primary differentiator.

SPACETIME Intelligent Avatars, powered by IBM’s world-leading Watson artificial intelligence, provide customers with fast, straightforward, and accurate answers to their questions across any application, device, or channel. In addition, our Intelligent Avatars reduce costs by automating responses to both common and complex customer inquiries, allowing your people to focus on more complex issues – not repetitive questions.

Dave, the Intelligent Avatar

The Intelligent Avatar offering is a “plug and play” avatar-based virtual agent (AI chatbot). The platform allows retailers to select an avatar of their choice, ranging from simple animated cartoon characters right through to hyper-realistic digital humans. Avatars make chatbots far more engaging and help retailers represent their brand to customers better. To further enhance the customer experience, the avatars use machine learning to respond to user emotions and sentiment dynamically. This emotional responsiveness provides a much richer and authentic experience than using text-based chatbots. 

Check out Dave in the video below.

How are Intelligent Avatars different?

Today’s customers demand more than simple text-based chatbots with canned answers and limited lifespans. SPACETIME Intelligent Avatars use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to elevate customer experiences and accomplish much more than just relaying basic information from a website. Intelligent Avatars can be easily embedded on your web page and interact with existing content or even retrofitted to existing text-based chatbots. They can also seamlessly integrate with CRM and ERP systems for highly personalised customer experiences like product recommendations, stock level checks or order histories.

They remember who they are talking with and can surface information based on their previous interactions. They use machine learning to ask follow-up questions to understand customers better and can seamlessly hand them off to a person when needed, all within the same channel.

Works across any channel

We’ve all had poor customer service experiences where we must relay the same information to a series of bots and people, getting more frustrated by the minute. Customers need a virtual agent that remembers them, wherever they are and however they choose to interact. What’s more, customers expect the same calibre of service at every touchpoint, whether that’s in their Facebook Messenger app, your website chat window, or a phone call. They want to quickly pick up where they left off without having to repeat themselves. Since the Intelligent Avatar is a single solution that works across any channel, retailers can simply train the Intelligent Avatar once and deliver a consistently great omnichannel experience, no matter where the customer chooses to interact.

The SPACETIME Intelligent Avatar solution is available now for around the same price as a basic text-based chatbot. For more information on Intelligent Avatars, please visit:

What will you do with yours?


Dr Peter Catt is Director of Customer Solutions with SPACETIME.

SPACETIME was founded in 2017 to help businesses apply AI technologies for improved products, services, and experiences. We take a design thinking approach to create innovative solutions that combine user needs with business objectives. These solutions, such as intelligent virtual agents, document OCR, and natural language search, allow businesses to automate and scale processes, saving money and providing better team and customer experiences.


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