Professional services firm Accenture and the Indian arm of the non-profit Grameen Foundation have jointly built artificial intelligence- and augmented reality-based applications to help low-income women in the country access financial services.
The two applications -- EASE and Grameen Guru -- were developed at the Accenture Labs in Bangalore over the course of the past year.
Emotional Analytics for Social Enterprises (EASE) is an AI-based web and mobile app that helps microfinance advisors gain real-time insights on the emotional and cognitive status of their clients, based on video and audio inputs.
The tool provides deeper insights on precisely what topics or keywords attract attention, or cause clients to disengage, the companies said.
For instance, the tool could help detect whether a woman applying for a loan is being pressured to do so by someone or whether she would find the financing to be of genuine use.
The other app, Grameen Guru, is a smartphone-based multilingual chatbot that uses augmented reality technology to help clients who can’t read or understand written material.
Using the app, a user can hold her phone over a brochure detailing available financing options, for example. The Guru virtual assistant will then pop up and prompt a conversation in the local language to explain the material.
Grameen Foundation India said it plans to roll out the applications across 300 villages in Maharashtra and Odisha.
“Barriers - ranging from illiteracy to a lack of bank branches in rural areas, coupled with a lack of confidence and access to information - hinder adoption for millions of low-income women in India,” said Prabhat Labh, chief executive officer of Grameen Foundation India.
Grameen Foundation said that the new applications were developed after the implementation of its new e-learning platform, G-LEAP, which it claims is being used by more than 1,000 frontline microfinance workers who have trained and equipped over 58,000 women beneficiaries to use digital financial services.