It’s been less than a year since David Marcus, VP of Facebook’s messaging products in an interview on stage at the Web Summit in Lisbon said that here are now 33,000 developers who have written 34,000 chatbots for Messenger. Marcus also acknowledged that there were growing pains, with many of the early offerings being “really bad.”
But Facebook is more and more confident of bots. And so is the Internet industry in general. Throughout 2016, there were many discussions on AI and Bots in particular. However, many experts claim that it is only scratching the surface, and there’s much more to be done and accomplished when it comes to AI and bots.
In 2017, we are definitely in for newer breakthroughs and more democratization of the Bots ecosystem. Here are the 5 trends about bots which are pegged as the next big thing on mobile.
1. Chatbots are leading the way:
For the first time, people are spending more time on messenger apps than on social media. And that’s perfect news for chatbots – the lightweight apps which live within messengers such as WhatsApp, Facebook, WeChat, Kik, Viber, LINE, Telegram, etc. The aim of chatbots is to provide a fully conversational and human language like interfaces either powered by voice or text. And it seems they will soon, at least partly, succeed in this task. “Bots are getting so good, it’s hard to know when you’re talking to one. Some genius will find a clever way to say, ‘I am a bot, how can I help you?’,” says Dr. Thomas P. Keenan from the University of Calgary.
2. Industry-specific bots:
2016 was the year of generic bots with some early success of performing simple tasks and easy solutions. But to continue to chart the growth, bots will become industry specific and plug into toolchains and CRMs where they’re assigned to solve very focused activities. Adoption from the media, e-commerce, travel, hospitality, and fashion industries will be the key.
3. The rise of Social Bots:
The more people turn to Bots to take care of everyday tasks, the more they’ll want to share their favorite Bots with family and friends. So there’s a strong need for more innovation from both the platform and the developer side. Just imagine Bots that do your accounting for you or spring up a new recipe for dinner every day at 7 pm.
4. Bots are going to get easy:
Finding, building and using a bot in 2017 is going to an easy and hassle-free process. Whether you’re looking to build or experience one, the ecosystem will mature and there will be more to showcase and more tools to use to address problems “AI Bots will become more accessible and increasingly better at dealing with natural language processing (i.e. day to day language with all its quirks). Chatbots in travel and telco helplines are paving the way for this trend,” says Fredric Chanut from In Marketing We Trust.
5. Mobile Webview Integration:
Bots will continue to leverage existing mobile frameworks in order to offer richer browsing capabilities. This is especially valuable for Commerce Bots, where implementing structured messages can become cumbersome. Webview allows a Bot to offer a full product catalog without overcomplicating the interaction; there’s bound to be more adoption on the front.
6. Human Supervision still needed:
If you thought that Bots will put people out of jobs straight away, you couldn’t be more wrong. Bots and AI will redefine how businesses interact with consumers and role of the customer service managers will also evolve. They will be the gatekeepers and supervise the bots as they interact with humans and step-in only when matters are escalated.