It’s true: Everything old can – and will – be new again! Home delivery of glass-bottled milk is making a comeback. Sales of vinyl records are surging. Even food trucks, which date back to the days of cowboys and chuck wagons, have turned into a worldwide fascination in recent years.
And now chatbots are quickly becoming the rage in the tech world. Kik is using them to change how teens communicate. Facebook is a haven for more than 10,000 developers creating them. And one university professor is improving his students’ interaction with teaching assistants with one.
With their growing popularity, you would think that chatbots were a never-before-seen innovation. But in reality, the chatbot is a 50-year-old concept that merges artificial intelligence with natural language processing. Over time, interactions have moved from the straightforward – like asking for a weather report or sports scores – to the more complex – such as troubleshooting a problem with an Internet service or making travel arrangements.
Which begs the question: Why is our world, which values innovation, progress, and forward thinking, so enamored with chatbots right now?
Gimmick or revolutionary transformation?
According to Sam Lakkundi, senior vice president and CIO of Kore, chatbots offer an opportunity to simplify how people use the digital technology that transforms how they work and interact with each other.
“If you look at the tools that we use and the work that we do, we are spending a lot of time with mobile apps, Web applications, email, and text messages. With these innovations come a lot of distractions that are shifting our energies away from getting work done,” he noted during the Americas’ SAP User Group (ASUG) webcast “Meet Your New Digital Workforce: Chatbots for the Enterprise.”
When you consider the constant wave of new digital competitors, technology innovations, applications, and resulting processes, digital transformation isn’t easy. It involves a lot of processes and forces people to evolve how they work and think.
“Naturally, the way we work today is very different from the way we worked 5 or 10 years ago. In the past, we may have been comfortable with communicating through e-mail. But with the advent of bigger screens, mobile and social collaboration, and increasing processing power, people are working and interacting with each other much differently,” Lakkundi observed. “People prefer to talk or use text messaging when they need support because it is the simplest and most innovative way to communicate. They want a shot at automation.”
However, there’s also a downside with such transformation in a short amount of time: Employees are overwhelmed. With so many applications, mobile apps, and systems to access, their brains are flooded with a variety of usernames and passwords.
With a chatbot, there is no need to remember these bits of information. Technologies such as the Internet of Things, natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence have now matured to the point where they can be combined to make chatbots smarter on our behalf. Through unique voice and speech-pattern recognition, users can ask the chatbot to run a report, provide a list of contacts, make a phone call, arrange services, schedule a meeting, or even call up an Uber – all by simply talking or texting to it.
That’s the beauty of chatbots: Getting work done with ease and immediacy by having a conversation in your native language to connect and run your applications.
Find out how you can use chatbots can or further your business’ digital transformation. Watch the replay of “Meet Your New Digital Workforce: Chatbots for the Enterprise” in a series of Webcasts hosted by ASUG.