On Wednesday December 13th, the Global Open Innovation Network organized a Techmeeting in San Francisco focused on chatbots.

A panel of experts opened the event to share their perspective on chatbots and how they are addressing this growing technology within their organization. The panel composed of

  • Lauren Kunze, CEO of Pandorabots
  • Anamita Guha, Product Manager at IBM
  • Anand Arivukkarasu, Product Growth Manager at Facebook
  • Clement Anthonioz-Blanc, Head of External Innovation and Partnerships for Telco & Media Activities at Winnovation
  • Jay Vasudevan, Lead Product Manager, AI Shopping Assistants at eBay

agreed that voice and visual search are the trends of the future and conversational interfaces are going to be the new user interface. Indeed, Garnter predicts that

  • by 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%
  • by 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will spend more per annum on bots and chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development.

For this reason, eBay has fully embraced the future relevance and transformation potential of chatbots on their business. They have decided to invest in the whole stack, from developing their own natural language processing to computer vision, and making sure they are training their artificial intelligence to be the most competent possible. This has materialized into the Personal Shopbot, a smart personal shopping assistant, available on Facebook Messenger and Google Assistant.

The most important aspect to take into account when developing a bot is to know your users, who will be using it and what it is for. It is then crucial to consider where your bot will sit and what medium it will be on (Messenger, Slack, sms, etc) and choose the ones that will be most conducive to what you want to do. As Anamita from IBM emphasized, bots will be very powerful when they are personalized. Companies should consider use cases beyond customer service and how they can provide tailored services to individuals such as in individualized learning, or personal concierge. Moreover, chat is a powerful tool because of the consistency and persistence of the conversation between a brand and its clients. This is where Anand at Facebook comes in. He works with developers and brands to empower them to tap into the bot and AI ecosystem and build impactful experiences on the Messenger Platform. Finally, Clement from Winnovation made the point that when developing a bot, companies should not only approach it as a technical project, but include project managers, marketers, designers, user experience professionals, since they know how to talk to customers.

To illustrate the breadth of solutions that can be developed with chatbots, the following 6 startups presented during this Techmeeting:

 

 

We will be at CES from January 9 to 12, booth 50041 at Eureka Park. Stop by to see our Paris Region Hub for Innovation. Then join us in San Francisco on January 15th for our Techmeeting post-CES on Consumer Tech.