Optus confirms development of in-call digital assistant

Optus is developing and running lab tests on a proprietary 'in-call assistant', but said it could not tell what the capabilities of the technology are as yet.

Telecommunications provider Optus has confirmed that it is in the preliminary stages of developing and lab-testing an in-call digital assistant for customers.

"Optus is in the very early stages of testing a technology for an in-call digital assistant," an Optus spokesperson told ZDNet.

"We are working with developers to build our capabilities. The technology is being developed and tested within a laboratory setting.

"As development is in its early stages, the capabilities of the technology are not yet clear."

The confirmation followed a report by IT News that Optus was working on its own version of Apple's virtual assistant Siri.

With the move to digitise all industries, Optus earlier this month announced that it is opening a cybersecurity centre in Sydney to help secure customer data stored online by its government and enterprise customers.

In September, Optus also added cybersecurity prevention, detection, and monitoring capabilities to its government and enterprise managed security services portfolio.

For the second quarter of FY16, Optus reported a 10 percent year-on-year decline in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) down to AU$633 million and revenue down almost 9 percent to AU$2.1 billion as a result of its Sports launch and the regulator's decision in August last year to reduce the rate that mobile network operators can charge each other and fixed-line network operators for calls and SMS.

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