MTN launches internal AI chatbot inspired by Siya Kolisi

  • MTN South Africa has outlined its latest local strategy, focusing on AI and APIs in particular.
  • Part of the new push involves an internal AI chatbot called SiYa, to assist with immediate, contextually relevant support to employees.
  • SiYa is accessible to the company’s employees via Microsoft Teams.

As many companies prepare to wind down for the end of the the year, MTN South Africa is detailing what the coming year has in store. Like many big tech outfits, the local network operator is focusing on generative artificial intelligence (AI) and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

The company explained in a release shared with Hypertext, that key to this new push will be an AI chatbot called SiYa.

If you’re wondering what inspired the name, you may be surprised that two-time Rugby World Cup winning captain of the Springboks, Siya Kolisi was cited by MTN South Africa.

To that end it, “draws inspiration from Siya Kolisi, the revered Springbok captain, renowned for embodying unity and a service mentality, through all he does. By choosing the name SiYa, MTN aim to capture the essence of unity, harmony, and effective communication that has become synonymous with our national rugby team, a team that MTN is deeply proud to support, as the principal sponsor.”

As for the capabilities of SiYa, it will pull data primarily as a means of assisting employees with inquiries, offering information on company policies, and sharing insights from MTN’s knowledge base. The company adds that knowledge gained from SiYa’s interactions will be instrumental in shaping the future of customer engagement at MTN. 

“SiYa opens up employee-company interactions. It’s designed to offer immediate, contextually relevant support to employees, enhancing their experiences and reducing the friction often associated with traditional interactions,” highlights MTN SA. 

“For MTN, significant AI opportunities lie in Customer Value Management, Network Operations, and Customer Service, areas that are crucial for improving customer experience, reducing costs, and driving revenue growth. Our AI strategy builds on existing programmes that already drive six of the eight foundational capabilities required to become AI-native. However, we recognise the need for a step change in AI culture, AI ethics, AI studio funding, and AI skills development,” adds MTN SA CEO, Charles Molapisi.

Whether a version of SiYa will make its way to general customers remains to be seen, but it’s clear that MTN SA is looking to build more tools in-house to assist its workforce. It will therefore be interesting to see whether other telcos operating in South Africa will have similar AI and API-focused announcements on the way.

[Image – Springboks on X]


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