There’s an awkward moment at the outset of every new technology when marketers and agencies begin spasmodically craving it. This craving is often blind to whether the investment would solve a business challenge or if that money would be better spent by letting junior staffers roast marshmallows on a giant burning pyre of cocaine. Read more
Chatbots are starting to make their way into all aspects of our online lives.
According to CB Insights, funding for startups in the chatbot and voice assistantsspace has seen a lot of major VC backing, primarily due to advances in the artificial intelligence (A.I.) that is behind them. One only has to look as far as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri to see the power of bots to make our lives easier and more fulfilling. Read more
It was a recent rainy Saturday afternoon when I found myself seated in the lobby of Niki.ai’s new office located at Bengaluru’s startup hub-Koramangala. Although it was the start of the weekend, I found two employees in the lobby with me, discussing animatedly in hushed whispers. After a few minutes, Sachin Jaiswal, CEO of Niki, came out to greet me and also collect an order of burger and fries from a delivery boy, who had just arrived.
Recalling their most recent integration, I enquired, “Did you order that through Niki?”gesturing at the package he had just accepted. “Obviously,” he replied with a smile, as I was ushered into an adjacent boardroom to meet two of the others co-founders, Nitin Babel and Shishir Modi. Read more
The dawn of the Internet at the end of the 20th century was one of the first significant shifts seen by the recruiting industry in decades.
Online job boards, resume databases, and applicant tracking systems rapidly replaced rolodexes, newspaper classifieds, cold calling, and piles of paper resumes. The abandonment of the archaic “head hunter” model significantly broadened the candidate pool and fundamentally changed the way recruiters sourced talent prospects. The digital generation of the 2000s refined this important evolutionary step. LinkedIn, launched in 2003, brought resumes and talent profiles onto a universally searchable database. Read more
Much has been written recently about the rise of chatbots and their potential to change consumer interactions with businesses.
However, all that discussion seems to have missed the radical implications this has for the current mobile ecosystem and the nature of competition in digital services. As an increasing number of companies investigate chatbots to sell their services and automate customer service, the messaging services they integrate into have an opportunity to become the new mobile platforms. Read more
Chatbots offer the promise of frictionless access to goods, services and information, but creating effective bots can be deceptively tricky.
The flip side of the opportunity to interact with users in a seamless, natural way is that user expectations can be prohibitively high. Bots need to be smart and provide greater convenience than apps — a very effective UI paradigm tailored for today’s mobile devices that has been carefully refined for more than a decade.
The good news is that the belief that bots must master human language or replace apps to succeed is false. Bots will engage with consumers in new ways that combine the strengths of humans and machines to allow both structured and unstructured information to be exchanged naturally and efficiently. Read more
Chatbots are technically not a new invention. Simple forms of intelligent digital assistants have been around for some time now. Remember the Microsoft Office Assistant ‘Clippy’? He was first introduced in November 1996 to help Microsoft users when using their software products. And then there was ‘SmarterChild’ in the 2000’s, an intelligent bot that was nestled into messaging services like AIM and MSN. However, since the introduction of Apple’s Siri in 2011, digital assistants have been rising in prominence. In April 2016, digital assistants grabbed the headlines again with the launch of Facebook Messenger chatbots. Read more
Eleven years ahead of Apple’s Siri, SmarterChild proved in 2000 that consumers were ready for bots. The mastermind behind the world’s most popular bot experiment so far, Robert Hoffer, notes that SmarterChild had 30 million users in its IM buddy list, and the hundreds of millions of messages it sent every day accounted for 5 percent of all IM traffic. Yet, it’s taken the last decade for the rest of the world to catch up. Read more
Chatting is becoming big business – chatting with robots, that is. A report released earlier this month by Transparency Market Research has pegged the value of the global virtual chatbot market at US$627.7 million (S$850 million) last year. Read more
Artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP) have already come a long way, yet many users tend to focus on the limitations of these technologies and are quick to judge bots based on the holes in their user experience. Product designers encourage a hybrid of text, buttons and other interactive features to compensate for limitations of NLP and A.I.
However, in every text-based messaging interface, the text input field is the primary mode of interaction. Bots should be prepared to provide a response to any type of input they receive. There are a number of strategies developers can execute to help mitigate dead ends that lead to user frustration and instead optimize their conversational experience. Read more