Interactive Web Site Concierge Systems

Web sites are now the ubiquitous way to reach customers. For companies with many different products and services, it can be very difficult to quickly provide a wide range of site visitors with materials that are of interest to them.  Various web site search and navigation techniques can be used, but if the appropriate content for a visitor is spread over many pages are not effective. A better solution is a "Virtual Concierge" that can assist each visitor in finding what will interest them, and dynamically building a custom page for them.   Exsys Corvid® Knowledge Automation Expert Systems do both of these. Designing the page for the visitor is just a matter of having logic to determine what material they would be interested in, and the ability to dynamically build and display a web page.  Exsys Corvid does both of these.

Often expert systems are thought of as a program that will give a specific answer - "What is the diagnosis, how do I fix it". But expert systems are really just a way to capture and deliver expert knowledge on how to make decisions. Rather than the knowledge coming from a diagnostics expert, it can come from a "concierge" or librarian that can direct the visitor to the information and content most relevant to them. Conceptually, this is a somewhat different way to use an expert system, but is a very effective way to handle situations where the visitor needs help in finding content.

Web sites often have a wide range of information on a company's products, services, case histories, and many other subjects.  If a site visitor knows precisely what they want, "Search" can be an effective approach, but in many cases, the visitor is simply looking at the site (and company) to see if they have anything relevant to their needs.  Web site designers struggle with this situation, trying to create site navigation options that will be understandable by all visitors, and get them to the relevant pages. However, what works for one visitor may confuse another, and another may need more obscure content many pages deep. If the visitor was talking to a "concierge" familiar with the site and company, they would ask a few questions and direct them to the appropriate content. Exsys Corvid does this by dynamically building a custom HTML page for the visitor with the relevant content, or links to it.

EXSYS terms this type WINK (What I Need to Know), and it is a highly effective way to help visitors find their information from complex sites using an interactive series of questions. Some systems may build full custom HTML pages, others can provide simpler links and references to materials appropriate for the end user, but the visitor gets the materials they need quickly and easily. The more complex a site's content and navigation, the more effective a Exsys WINK system is.

Building site concierge systems is one of many ways to use Exsys Corvid. Instead of writing rules that make a diagnosis, they probabilistically select the content most appropriate to the end user. Simple rules may be used, or use Corvid's unique Metablock approach allows defining "criteria" for sections of content in a spreadsheet or XML file, using "generic" rules to select what is best for a user. This approach makes it easy to maintain WINK systems as content changes.

Imagine having your most knowledgeable staff available to answer your prospects' questions, and providing specific information. Corvid makes it possible to build a "Virtual Concierge" that can assist each visitor in finding the content that will interest them and dynamically building a custom page for them.  A few interactive questions are asked to determine the customer's "profile".  The logic in the Corvid system analyzes that to determine which content would be most appropriate.  Corvid's Inference Engine dynamically builds a web page with that content, stores it on the server and displays it for the visitor.  The visitor can even bookmark their page and come back to it later. 

For Web developers, laying out pages and trying to come up with appropriate linking navigation that will work for all customers is very difficult.  Instead, the site content can be indexed based on how likely it would be to interest each type of visitor.  Probabilistic logic can be used to rank various possible items and then display only the ones with the highest ranking to keep the custom page length short. The visitor gets a custom page with the materials most likely to interest them, which prompts them to make a purchase or examine the site (and company) in more detail.  

For example, at Exsys Inc our site has information on using Corvid in many different ways, along with case studies on a very wide range of systems that have been built with our tools.  The overall list is impressive, but what a visitor prefers to see are case studies in their specific industry and related to the types of systems they are considering.  They don't want to go through 100s of case studies, potentially missing the ones that are most relevant. By answering a few questions on their industry and type of system being considered, the Corvid system can probabilistically select the best case studies.  Likewise it can select a product description based on their experience with knowledge automation and type of system being considered.  It then builds and displays a custom page which the visitor can view, print and bookmark.  Links in the generated page then allow them to navigate to other parts of the Exsys site by more traditional site navigation.

To see this technology in action, click here to run the Exsys WINK system. This system integrates Exsys Corvid with an Adobe Flash front end to dynamically generate an HTML page.

Contact us today for a free Web conference. We'd be happy to discuss your WINK "Virtual Concierge" projects, to provide practical and realistic solutions.


Some case studies of Exsys WINK systems.
(Click on the titles for more details):

  • Aircraft Material and Process Design
    Rockwell International
  • Agroforestry Design and Planning
    United Nations University
  • International Employee Pre-Assignment Profiling
    International Assignment Profiles
  • National Fire Code Advisor
    Dynalytics Corporation
  • Improving Operational and Financial Performance
    Cytec Industries Inc.
  • OSHA Hazard Compliance
  • Wine Selection Advisor
    MenuVino Inc.
  • Environmental Protection Measures
    Salix Applied Earthcare
  • Materials and Process Characterization
    Sandia National Laboratories
  • Identification of Chemical, Biological and Radiological Agents
    US EPA
  • Individual Development Plan Advisor
    Human Technology, Inc.
  • Environmental Compliance Systems
    Argonne National Laboratory
  • Electronic Legal Assistant for Judges
    The Georgia Magistrate Court Judges Training Council
  • Choosing a Legal Business Structure
    Small Business Administration
  • MBA Class Selection Advisor
    East Carolina University

"The systems differ from commercially available regulatory databases in several important ways. They include process and material alternatives, compliance program templates, pollution prevention and waste minimization strategies, safe operating procedures, and material attributes such as physical properties. They are also used to monitor user profiles over time to report the impact of changing and new ES&H regulations"

Sandia National Laboratories