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Everyone needs a helping hand — or a paw — now and then. Even our AI-powered personal benefits assistant, Sofia, has her limitations.


While she’s very good at helping employees enroll in and manage their benefits, Sofia (Greek for “wisdom”) was designed to meet the needs of humans, not their pets. That’s why we’re introducing, Calix, the first AI-powered cat with cutting-edge animal speech recognition technology.

Calix (Greek for “very handsome”) uses many aspects of the ground-breaking technology already embodied in Sofia, such as recognizing a user’s emotional state and demonstrating a sense of humor. But Businessolver’s scientists have gone a step further with Calix: they have tail-ored certain algorithms that give him the ability to interpret meows, barks, chirps, bleats, and even moos into actionable information pet owners can use to keep their furry family members healthy.

Just like Sofia is able to use both chat and voice recognition, Calix can use the microphone in employees’ mobile devices to listen to their pet and interpret their otherwise indecipherable utterances using his vast database of zoological linguistic data. Then, Calix provides the pet parent with a direct translation to help them diagnose conditions such as vet visit anxiety, chronic cat napping, spring fever, hairballs, and whether they’re simply dog-tired.

Similar to Sofia's ability to speak several languages, Calix understands most pets regardless of their language or dialect, including French bulldogs, Persian cats, Irish setters, and Netherland dwarf rabbits.

“We love Calix! Like Sofia, he’s so empathetic, even when we had to contact him in the middle of the night,” said Earl E. Bird, a pilot project customer from Wolf Point, Montana. “You see, my hedgehog Darlene had an upset tum tum, and I was just beside myself! So, I launched the MyChoiceSM Mobile App, contacted Calix and handed the phone over to Dar Dar. (Sometimes, I call her Dar Dar Binks.) After answering a few short questions, Calix told us it was nothing more than an allergic reaction to the salmon I’d given her the night before. So, it’s back to crickets. Thanks, Businessolver!”

While Calix’s “human” counterpart is unable to provide medical diagnoses, Chief Product Engineer Moe Skeeto says Sofia is available anytime day or night, and can easily tell users whether they have telemedicine benefits, how much their co-pay would be, and much more.

“Calix is a happy addition to our family of robust benefits administration tools,” Skeeto said. “And, with the recent update to our MyChoice mobile app, it seemed like the purr-fect time to introduce this fantastic feline to our users who have pet insurance or want to add this increasingly popular employee benefit.”

“And I thought my squirrel monkey was smart!” said Jim Panzy, a pet parent from Eagle Grove, Iowa. “Even with his opposable thumbs, there’s no way Prince Norman could have enrolled himself in his pet insurance as quickly as Calix did. He just opened the MyChoice mobile app, answered a few simple questions, and before you know it, his enrollment was complete, and he was back to swinging from the chandeliers.”

Businessolver Pet Linguist, Anna Mull, says developing Calix wasn’t easy. “We went through eight iterations with Calix,” Mull explained. “Now on his ninth life, I think we got this cat working properly.”

Calix’s machine learning technology helps him get smarter and smarter in the same way Sofia expands her knowledge base with every employee she interacts with. As of April Fool’s Day 2019, Sofia has saved members 1.8 million minutes thanks to first chat resolution and no wait times. (That part is true.) She also recently launched her latest capability of completing tasks on behalf of the employee, like updating their dependent’s information or launching an enrollment. (That's also true.)

What’s next in speech recognition technology at Businessolver? “For Calix, goldfish and hermit crabs,” Skeeto said. “And for Sofia, baby noises.” 

Disclaimer: While most of this article is made-up April Fool’s fun, Sofia's ability to delight employees through superior service is no joke. Check out how she made a huge difference during the last annual enrollment below. 

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