‘Optus Call Effects’ lets you ask AI what to get for dinner

Optus Call Effects AI announcement

Optus is one of the latest companies to turn to AI-powered features, this time for some quirky voice functions you can use during phone calls. Labelled “Optus Call Effects”, the feature is meant to be a light-hearted way to change things up while on the phone, and will apparently help you decide on dinner.

Optus Call Effects joins the range of additional services offered through what the telco refers to as the “Optus Living Network”. It’s not the first AI feature from Optus in recent months, either, recently rolling out an AI-powered voice assistant to direct customer support calls.

As for Optus Call Effects, there are several functions you can access once enabled via the My Optus App. Once you’ve done that, you can say “Hey Optus” during a phone call, prompting the AI tech to kick in. These range from asking AI for help deciding what to get for dinner, and the answers to deep and meaningful questions. Stuck on a call with an indecisive friend or family member? You can also use a function to help make a decision for you.

How does Optus Call Effects work?

All the information we know so far comes from an official announcement. Meant to make calls more entertaining, the feature uses Natural Langauge Understanding (NLU), a technology also used in other Optus Living Network functions, like translating languages on calls and converting conversations into text.

At launch, Optus Call Effects includes the following four AI prompts:

  • Crystal Ball – Request answers to life’s deepest questions;
  • Coin Toss – Flip a coin and let fate decide;
  • Dinner Roulette – Can’t decide what to eat? Spin the wheel;
  • 21 Questions – Get to know each other.

Beyond that, details are limited on how it actually works in practice. Does the AI chime in via a synthesised voice to answer your questions, or does it spit out responses in text form? It’s unclear based on the announcement alone. Thankfully, it’s an opt-in feature if you’re concerned about accidentally triggering the technology. Not that “Hey Optus” is a common phrase in regular conversation anyway.

On the announcement, Matt Williams, Optus Managing Director, Marketing and Revenue mentioned that Call Effects will expand with more functionality over time, emphasising the focus on fun over all else.

“As part of creating an innovative network experience, our latest Living Network feature uses AI technology in the traditional phone call, delivering a fun experience exclusively for our customers,” Williams said. “Our advanced calling features in the Living Network to date, Optus Call Translate and Optus Call Notes, solve specific challenges, but Optus Call Effects is all about just having some fun. As the product evolves, we plan to add more new experiences.”

At the very least, Optus Call Effects is free to play around with. Other Optus Living Network features are available on post-paid plans, with access reportedly opening up to pre-paid customers later this year.

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