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Smartbots AI Chatbots Conference


Chatbot conference organized by Chatbot Life is among the best conferences for all the chatbot enthusiasts, bot entrepreneurs, and bot investors. It gave a perspective on where the market stands today and where it is heading in the future. As a co-founder of a chatbot company, I found the sessions to be useful to make the right business and technology decisions. Following is an attempt to summarise my learnings from the session. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Date added: 25 June 2020
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Title: Smartbots AI Chatbots Conference

Smartbots AI Chatbots Conference - 2019
  • Chatbot conference organized by Chatbot Life is
    among the best conferences for all the chatbot
    enthusiasts, bot entrepreneurs, and bot
    investors. It gave a perspective on where the
    market stands today and where it is heading in
    the future. As a co-founder of a chatbot company,
    I found the sessions to be useful to make the
    right business and technology decisions.
    Following is an attempt to summarise my
    learnings from the session.
  • Though the chatbots market is cluttered with
    over 1000 players, only a few companies are
    adding real customer value
  • Over the past 3-4 years, a wave of
  • AI-based companies has emerged, of which a good
    portion are into providing chatbots solutions.
  • However, currently, theres a massive gap in
    what these companies promise and what they
    finally deliver.
  • The expectation gap has resulted in
    dissatisfaction among the customers and resulted
    in a bad reputation for the chatbot industry.
    Companies that have no real AI expertise are
    claiming to have AI in their product, whereas
  • what they have is a simple rule-based responding
    engine. Also, companies are trying to provide
    end to end solutions without a specific focus
    area. I am an AI company, and I can solve any
    problem kind of approach is turning out to be
    a difficult problem to solve.
  • There is a small portion of companies that are
    providing real value to the customers. More than
    the technology edge, companies are striving
    towards the right business model and thus seeing
    success. Their solutions are backed by the right
    technology to meet customer needs.
  • Eventually, the market will get corrected with
    companies settling down to their niche and evolve
    as an ecosystem.
  • Chatbots are best fit for external customers
    than internal customers.
  • Enterprise applications of chatbots can be
    bucketed into four categories

Smartbots AI Chatbots Conference - 2019
  • While Conversational IVR Contact Center Use Cases
    are external facing, the remaining use cases are
    for internal users, who could be either sales or
    operations teams or any employee. The value-add
    that chatbots bring to external customers is
    higher than that for the internal customers.
  • The reason is very simple. For internal
    customers, chatbots are more of an additional
    layer of comfort which they can live without. In
    contrast, with the increasing number of customers
    and the fundamental need to satisfy customers,
    contact centers find great value in using chat
    and voice bots. To summarise, there is a greater
    demand for contact center chatbots than for HR or
    sales bot.
  • State of the art chatbots are at Level 3
    capable of handling variations of conversation
  • Rulai (listed among the top 50 promising AI
    firms) has come up with a mode to assess
    chatbots, which they have termed as VAAM
    (Virtual Assistants Ability Model). There was a
    need for someone to come up with a standard, and
    I sincerely appreciate the effort taken by Rulai
    in coming up with VAAM. Yi Zhang, CTO of Rulai,
    made the presentation.
  • As per VAAM, there are five categories into which
    each bot can be classified.
  • Human-agent assistant
  • Partial automation
  • Conditional Automation
  • Fully automation in designed domain
  • Human-like automation
  • The categories can be as Level 1 (Human-agent
    assistant) classified as simple, and level 5
    (Human-like automation) classified as
    sophisticated and smart. Rulai CTO, Yi Zhang says
    that most of the chatbots in the industry are in
    1st or 2nd class, and the state of the art
    chatbots are in level 3 conditional
  • Level 1 virtual agents (VAs) assist human agents
    but do not take control.

Smartbots AI Chatbots Conference - 2019
  • Level 5 is human-like automation, where VAs are
    recruited and trained. Humans only manage VAs.
  • I believe the high-level categorization of VAs
    based on ability is excellent and helps in
    communicating the right message to the client.
  • Start small and take along the customer through
    the journey. And dont over-promise.
  • Over the past three years, the hype for AI-based
    chatbots has created a sense of urgency among
    the customers and vendors. The expectations about
    the ability of chatbots have gone high. Vendors
    promised to their customers that bots will learn
    and can operate independently over some time.
    However, in many instances, bots failed, and the
    vendors were unable to meet the expectations.
  • The realization that many chatbot developers have
    today is to add real value to the customers,
    which gives long term benefits, instead of riding
    the hype wave. It is the responsibility of the
    vendors to educate the customers about the
    ability of chatbots and provide the right
    measures to ensure there is a value add. This
    approach will separate the winners and losers in
    this game.
  • Here I have summarized the approach that was
    discussed in the conference. I took the liberty
    of adding my interpretations and understandings.
  • Start small with a measurable proof of concept
    with a very well defined scope. Understand the
    real problem area of the client where bots can be
    of value instead of imposing unwanted
    technology. Use technology as per the business
    need. Have a shorter timeline and minimum budget
  • Come up with the following documents
  • POC scope document
  • POC success criteria
  • POC timeline

Smartbots AI Chatbots Conference - 2019
  • The full project rollout, in some cases, takes
    from a few months to over a year, depending on
    the use-case. Sensitizing the customer about
    these timelines is very important to set the
    right expectations and tight budgets.
  • We are still at the evolution stage in
    Conversational AI space, and therefore the
    timelines are so long. Soon, there will be a day
    when technology will solve many of these hurdles
    and standardize the approaches with the right
    amount of data, and thus, reduce the project
    execution time. I am looking forward to a bright
    future for conversational AI.
  • Conversation design is a very crucial step in
    bot building
  • Hans Van Dam, CEO of Robot copy and co-founder of
    Conversational Academy, gave a fascinating talk
    about the importance of conversation design. Ill
    write a separate article on conversation design
    here, Ill try to provide a high-level overview
    of the topics covered during the session.
  • What is conversation design?
  • Conversational design is the first step in
    building a conversational agent. Just the way
    blueprints and wireframes help in developing web
    and mobile applications, it is essential to
    design conversations before initiating any
    technical implementation. Conversation design is
    the process to identify possible scenarios where
    a VA interacts with humans and models appropriate
    VA responses keeping in mind human emotion and
  • Three mistakes in Conversation design
  • Three mistakes, as identified by Hans, are as
  • Start with technology
  • Focus on knowledge management
  • Start with business process

Smartbots AI Chatbots Conference - 2019
  • 6. Expert rewrite
  • Use-case Identification
  • Identifying the right use-case is the first step
    in the design process. Use-case is defined well
    if we capture the following details.
  • Use-case name Ex IT help desk assistant
  • Description
  • Target user persona
  • Identifying the scene when a user would interact
    with VA
  • Identifying user needs and bot needs
  • Identify user needs and bot needs separately.
    Following is one example.
  • User Need
  • The user, who works for the finance department
    wants to reset her outlook password. She is in
    the middle of a busy day and doesnt want to
    waste much of her time in this process.

Smartbots AI Chatbots Conference - 2019
Expert Rewrite Once the dialogues and the flows
are in place, use a professional copywriter to
improve the conversations. Detailed
Conversation design In the detailed conversation
design, identify the intents and
entities. Human-centric design process ensures
cost and time saving during implementation, and
also provides good CSAT post-implementation. Imp
ortance of having a bot persona Emotion is one
of the key components of conversation. Making
sure the right emotion gets communicated can be
handled by the use of appropriate words in the
bot messages. The next question is how do you
define the right set of words? We can do so by
first deciding the bot persona which helps in
picking the right word. Some of the common
personas used in bot building are friendly,
empathetic, professional, complete assistant,
assistant cum analyst, analyst, etc. Adding
demographic features like age, sex, name,
nationality, etc will help further in response
building. To summarize, the chatbot conference
was successful in bringing the right set of
industry leaders in conversational AI space
under one roof. This helped in sharing knowledge
and helped the industry take a step forward into
the future. Author Jayaprakash Kommu,
Co-Founder of Smartbots.AI About
Smartbots.AI SmartBots is a cohesive chatbot
development platform that designs, develops,
validates, and deploys AI-powered conversational
enterprise chatbots that suit the unique needs of
your business.