Bots — software designed to automate human tasks — are having a moment. As we approach what Recode calls “app fatigue,” the tech community is focusing its attention and resources on bots — and chatbots in particular. Chatbots afford a new path for reaching customers via simulated conversation, providing service and in some instances even curating and communicating news. In the near future, bots could well replace the core components of apps — if not replace them entirely.
The Bots Boom
Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Google are jumping on the bots bandwagon. Given that these leaders have to date created (and dominated) the app ecosystem — and are making rapid strides in artificial intelligence — the recent emphasis on bots is in many ways a natural progression.
According to Recode, Facebook has shown particularly strong interest in communicating with their 900 million Messenger users via chatbots, for sharing curated ads and news updates, or providing personalized customer service. In lieu of these developments, leading media companies are feeling the pressure to keep up and embrace bots as the next big trend in user engagement.
The Wizeline Bots Team
We asked Matt Pasienski, who leads the Services team at Wizeline, whether the bot revolution was real. “Building bots instead of apps is a great option,” says Pasienski. “You spend much less time focused on building navigation and UI. This leads to more focus on new functionality and faster product delivery.”
Bots have been front of mind here at Wizeline largely due to some recent and exciting work we’ve been doing with a few of our customers. One in particular — a large media company — is making big strides. Our bots team began as three developers, but has since expanded quickly due to demand.
Heading up the bots team is Gustavo Córdova, who says they are currently focused on building a brand-new bot trained in machine learning and processing. Gustavo is a bit tight-lipped about what, exactly, the bot will do for users. He did reveal that, “it will have broad applications within news media and leverages exciting natural language processing technology.”
Matt added that bots also enable and even closer immediacy between your brand and your users:
“One of the key values of bots is that they leverage a built-in user base. Instead of your users downloading your app, they’re instantly interacting on Facebook or Slack.”
Results So Far
This customizable bot built by the Wizeline team can be adapted to various needs across different parts of the media business, and is paving the way for the development of features that leverage advanced natural language processing (NLP) technologies.
As artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to improve — and become far more accessible to developers everywhere — will chatbots become the de facto option for communicating with and engaging users?
In the coming weeks, we’ll be polling a number of industry veterans on exactly this question, and we’ll be sure to share our results. In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates from Inside Wizeline and our bots team!