Virtual Vet Nurse has launched ‘Sophie’, a digital human, allowing pet owners to access credible health and nutrition advice directly from a clinic’s website.

The New Zealand-based veterinary practice technology company has launched Sophie – a first of its kind AI-powered digital human – at selected practices across New Zealand and Australia. Sophie communicates with non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions or tone of voice, to provide a dynamic, emotionally responsive, and informative experience to clients via a practice website.

Steve Merchant, CEO, Virtual Vet Nurse, says that Sophie will help to ease the burden of an increase in pet ownership and the national shortage of vets.

“People turned to pets for companionship during the pandemic and rely on vets for credible answers about animal wellbeing and nutrition, yet clinics are facing the added pressures of COVID-19 protocols and staffing shortages. Sophie allows busy practises to provide that vital education and engage clients, while freeing up vets to spend more time treating animals.”

Sophie’s avatar was developed by UneeQ and uses a self-learning conversational brain, developed by Ambit, to converse with a clinic’s customers.

“Pet owners often need a little extra empathy when seeking answers around their pet’s health and wellbeing. When they can’t get that directly from their vet, Sophie is now available to chat – providing curated, expert advice, online and in real time. This is the beginning of what we can expect from a new era of web 3.0 experiences,” says Danny Tomsett, CEO and Founder, UneeQ.

Sophie has been supported by Royal Canin and Zoetis and will next enter the US and other international markets.