If you run in techy circles, you will already know about the rise of the bot to mainstream stardom—and how apps, which have recently been all the rage, are on the back foot.
As technology blogs, the Economist and international newspapers agree, the world of the conventional app is on the verge of extinction. In place of the app, we will see bots – intelligent “beings” that reside within fewer apps and communicate via chat. Interacting with a bot is a bit like typing something into Google, except you can go beyond asking questions—you can get it to do things for you.
Depending on what the bot is made for, it could book flights or dinner reservations for you, make appointments, send emails on your behalf or order a pizza to be delivered to your home. You just have to send it a message in an app like Whats App or Facebook Messenger. In a way, it is a return to human conversation, except the other human isn’t actually human.
But is this really better? Is this an actual advancement in technology vs the build-an-app-for-everything-approach?
To answer this question we must appreciate that many people feel like they have “app overload”. In March last year, technology research firm Gartner published a report saying that app usage is going to plateau, as many smartphone users were becoming fatigued, and didn’t want to increase their current app usage levels. People feel like there are simply too many apps, and as such, are becoming very selective. And it is no wonder – with more than 4 million apps available across mobile stores, “app overload” is a real thing.
Add to that the fact that 75% of the world’s smartphone users use a mobile messenger service like Skype or WhatsApp already, and that most people feel that messenger platforms are a smoother way to interact than downloading a range of specialist apps.
Messenger companies are already trialling bot chat services that will help customers reach out to companies to get exactly what they need, as well as function much a like personal assistant. And Microsoft, a partner of BTA, is leading the way as was announced at its annual Build event a few weeks ago.
As Chief Executive Satya Nadella said, “Human language is the new user interface.”
Response has been positive, and we couldn’t agree more. At BTA, we are able to solve hundreds of IT issues a week for our clients via human chat, or live chat / screen-sharing. Yet virtually none of these issues that we resolve via chat conversations, could be solved by an IT help app. Conversation, whether it be face to face, on the phone, or via instant messenger, is by far the most efficient and effective way to communicate with customers, and amongst ourselves internally (we love Slack!). So simply put, we warmly welcome the era of the bot. While it may not be based on human to human conversation, it is certainly a positive step closer.
(Unless that conversation is with Microsoft bot, Tay! Then it may not be so positive.)
BTA is a leading IT provider based in Wandsworth London, and a purveyor of new technologies that help businesses. As the Business IT Experts, BTA have the breadth of experience needed to solve nearly any IT issue, IT support request or IT project. Engineers have years of experience and BTA’s help desk is considered second to none, helping employees across client companies solve IT issues every day. But don’t take our world for it…
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