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Amazon Web Services just unveiled a new service for running call centers, dubbed Amazon Connect, leveraging the same technology used by Amazon.com’s own customer service system to route and manage calls using automatic speech recognition and artificial intelligence.

The announcement is the latest move by the cloud giant beyond its core infrastructure technologies and into higher-level cloud services. Amazon says the service incorporates its Lex technology, an artificial intelligence service for speech recognition and natural language processing, which also powers the company’s Alexa virtual assistant.

The company says Amazon Connect works with existing AWS services such as DynamoDB, Amazon Redshift, or Amazon Aurora, as well as third-party CRM and analytics services. Salesforce says it’s integrating its Service Cloud Einstein with Amazon Connect. It uses a graphical interface to let companies set up a workflow for calls without coding.

Amazon Connect uses a traditional cloud pay-as-you go pricing model, charging companies depending on their usage, rather than an up-front licensing fee. AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr does a deep dive on the technology in this post, and AWS GM Matt Wood provides an overview in this video, noting that the service will ultimately expand beyond the U.S. and Europe to other markets around the world.

The call-center technology market includes many existing players such as Seattle-based Spoken, as well as ZendeskCisco Systems, AvayaGenesys and many others.

“Ten years ago, we made the decision to build our own customer contact center technology from scratch because legacy solutions did not provide the scale, cost structure, and features we needed to deliver excellent customer service for our customers around the world,” said Tom Weiland, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide customer service, in a news release. “This choice has been a differentiator for us, as it is used today by our agents around the world in the millions of interactions they have with our customers.We’re excited to offer this technology to customers as an AWS service – with all of the simplicity, flexibility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of the cloud.”

Amazon’s announcement confirms a report by The Information news site last month.

Developing story, more to come.

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