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Sep 4-5, 2018: Training
Sep 5-7, 2018: Tutorials & Conference
San Francisco, CA

How Autodesk is humanizing customer support with AI: Meet AVA

Rachael Rekart (Autodesk )
4:00pm-4:40pm Thursday, September 6, 2018
Secondary topics:  Interfaces and UX, Platforms and infrastructure, Text, Language, and Speech
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Who is this presentation for?

  • Everyone will find value in this session.

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A high-level understanding of machine learning and artificial intelligence

What you'll learn

  • Explore the benefits that machine learning and artificial intelligence can bring to customer service
  • Learn how to begin to humanize machines to better understand, react to, and learn from people


Artificial intelligence and machine learning are currently hot topics, but it’s sometimes difficult to understand how this technology impacts our everyday lives. Rachael Rekart discusses the creation and evolution of Autodesk Virtual Agent (AVA), a customer service agent created by 3D design software maker Autodesk. Built on IBM’s powerful Watson cognitive technology, AVA is the prime example of how AI can benefit everyone, from employees to consumers of technology.

The results with the current version of AVA have been impressive, with Autodesk reducing time to resolution from an average of one and a half days to literally minutes, a jump in speed of 99%. AVA handles over 100,000 customer help requests a month and can provide over 500 different types of customer solutions.

This year, Autodesk will introduce a new version of AVA with extremely human-like features, including learned emotions provided by New Zealand AI and effects startup Soul Machines. Originally built last February as an avatar sketch, the final version turns AVA into a lifelike, 3D character—a true digital human.

Today, AVA acts as a first point of contact for customers seeking assistance from Autodesk and has been able to direct customers to content and further information, complete customer transactions, and help customers get in touch with an Autodesk human agent using the modality of the customer’s choice (chat, phone, scheduled call, etc.). AVA also learns from conversations with customers on an ongoing basis. She doesn’t just help Autodesk customers but has also become an important asset to service agents, helping answer questions they receive and freeing up their time to work on more complex issues.

Join Rachael to explore AVA’s journey and learn how Autodesk is working to make her more human-like. You’ll also discover the benefits this provides as you explore a true case study of artificial intelligence being applied to assist humans in our daily lives.

Photo of Rachael  Rekart

Rachael Rekart


Rachael Rekart leads the machine assistance team at Autodesk, responsible for developing and delivering the Autodesk Virtual Agent (AVA). AVA currently has over 100,000 conversations with customers per month and has reduced call resolution times for its most repetitive support contacts by 99%, enabling Autodesk’s agents to focus on more complex customer issues. Rachael believes that AI and machine learning will continue to redefine the way Autodesk engages with customers for their service and support needs. She’s an active evangelist of AI both inside and outside the company and speaks about AVA’s evolution and capabilities at conferences and internal engagements and as a consultant for companies getting started with AI. Previously, Rachael led Autodesk teams focused on implementing process optimizations and system improvements to ensure sustainable business growth. Prior to Autodesk, she worked in demand planning and supply chain management.