Pizza fanatics, meet “Dom.” It’s kind of like “Siri,” Apple's voice-activated digital assistant, except it only has one function: taking orders from the Domino’s mobile app.
No longer will college students, crazed with hunger after a 10-hour “Call of Duty” marathon, be forced to interact with human beings when ordering a pepperoni pizza.
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Instead, they can just open the iOS or Android app on their phones, press a button, and tell "Dom" the virtual assistant their order. Domino’s promises a “human-like, conversational customer service experience,” which should complement its pizza-like, food experience.
Users still have to type in their addresses and payment information — a total drag for someone whose fingers are covered in Mountain Dew. (Domino's also needs to convince people that their personal data is safe after hackers in Belgium and France announced that they broke into hundreds of thousands of customer accounts last week).
Still, it could help Domino's hook more digital-savvy customers. Around 40 percent of the international chain's sales come from people ordering either online or through its mobile app.
That comes out to around $3 billion in global digital sales. Domino's is betting that Dom, made by Massachusetts-based speech-recognition company Nuance Communications, can fatten those numbers up.
Domino's first introduced online ordering in 2007. Hopefully, this means we are headed toward a future where customers can simply imagine a Cali Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza and have it materialize in front of them.
First published June 16 2014, 12:05 PM
Keith Wagstaff is a contributing writer at NBC News. He covers technology, reporting on Internet security, mobile technology and more. He joined NBC News from The Week, where he was a staff writer covering politics. Prior to his work at The Week, he was a technology writer at TIME.
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He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.