TD Bank acquires enterprise AI firm Layer 6

TD Bank Group’s digital transformation strategy has led to the acquisition of Toronto-based artificial intelligence (AI) firm Layer 6.

In a Tuesday statement Michael Rhodes, TD’s head of innovation, technology, and shared services, said Layer 6 will add personalized and real-time advice to the bank’s existing AI capabilities.

Layer 6 was launched in Toronto in late 2016. Its signature platform provides enterprises in sectors such as the e-commerce and financial industries with improved deep learning and personalization capabilities. It also helped found the Toronto-based incubator  Vector Institute, which is trying to commercialize AI research, and has received funding from the Royal Bank of Canada and Google.

TD announced last October that it was working with New York-based Stanford Research Institute spinoff Kasisto to build an AI platform that will power its mobile chatbots and, in time, its smart assistants. The bank also recently collaborated Vector to develop new AI technologies, in addition to voice banking skills on Alexa with Amazon.

The bank’s efforts fit into a larger industry trend of adopting AI technologies to deliver an improved customer experience, as noted in a recent report by Forbes Insights.

While only a fraction of companies are currently using AI technology (37 per cent) the report predicts that next year, the percentage of companies with proposed concepts or projects involving AI will reach 72 per cent in North America. Only 14 per cent of companies described themselves as leading-edge when it comes to harnessing AI to improve customer service.

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