When I was a kid, one day my father, who was then working with postal department of India, explained about the planned usage of computers in his department. He was not able to comprehend the idea of a machine replacing his work (sorting mails based on address and group them in different bags) and was worried about learning this new thing, downsizing etc. Come 2017, in his 70s, he is on a smartphone now doing video calls with his grandchildren.
The trends are changing so fast and at times I used to think that no one can afford to miss the trends in the technology – be it a common man or business houses. Some of the trends that have crossed us already in near past are:
1. Mobile – SmartPhones have taken over and you cannot afford to think of an ecosystem without that
2. Social networking – The way in which people think/interact/relate are manipulated strongly by social media and networking and this is very true for millennials. Increasing people are looking for images/videos than textual presentations (don’t ask why I am writing this article. I am not good for videos 🙂
3. Fatigue: Too much of information and data floating around with thousands of apps has created a state of fatigue for many
4. Outsourced thinking: With the above three trends, people find it difficult to assimilate too much of data and want someone to think and take decisions on behalf of them. People always look for recommendations and crowd sourced ideas for any decision making (be it dating to high value investments)
5. Self-service: People want everything available 24 X 7 and want to solve any issues by themselves either by textual or social media based interactions with business entities
The last two trends that has tuned our thought process is leading us to the world of Artificial Intelligence with voice or text based BOTS.
What are Bots and AI?
In simple terms, Bots are software programs that include AI components to interact with people over text or voice messaging. Backed by AI, bots today are being used for ordering food, listening to music, finding information about your favorite author, checking the weather, etc. The AI component of bots helps in recommendations and making decisions for you. Built on NLP and Machine Learning, bots are based on the human ability to learn and absorb information.
Why are they big trends?
1. AI thinks for us and delights us as they know more about us and makes life better both for service providers and service seekers.
2. Bots are backed with intelligence based on data and the interaction is very simple either via text or voice.
3. The ability of bots to be available 24 x 7 without any emotional quotient and to scale at peak times makes them an excellent support resource for an enterprise environment.
4. Amazon Echo, Google Home, MS Cortana, and Apple Siri have become more of personal assistants than bots and with increased learning and progress in data science, they are bound to grow in various spaces.
5. The progress in the fundamental science via NLA and ML is widening the application areas via AI. Natural language processing (NLP) helps in linguistic application and machine learning assists with statistical power to perform clustering and classification.
Though I said earlier that I am writing this article as I am not good for videos, the real reason is that at OptiSol we have built couple of Alexa skills that are accessed via Echo and we are excited with the impact it has created for our enterprise clients. We have also done few chatbots for service booking and restaurants and it has got excellent patronage from consumers. Do you want to test the water and explore how voice and chat bots can help in your business? Talk to us for a free PoC!
Prem Kumar – Co-founder & Director of OptiSol – Providing digital services for startup and enterprises with a team of 150+ experts.