Bot proliferation began in early 2016 and in less than six months, each of the major tech platforms either launched a Bot platform, created a messaging app, or both.
Despite all the investment, bots are still in their infancy, with real challenges to functionality, discovery, adoption and monetization. But even so, the bot battles are about growing each company’s messaging services – and stopping Facebook’s march total world domination.
Bot are software applications that run automated tasks (scripts) over the internet. Messaging bots can read and write messages just like a human would. Bots can be programmed to carry out automated actions. Bots can both initiate action as well as respond to requests from other users. Bots are of different kinds, too; they automate conversations, transactions or workflows.
E-commerce bots enable buying of goods and services. Food bots order dinner. Content bots share relevant content with you (e.g., news, weather). Watcher bots notify you when specific events happen (e.g., your flight is delayed, this car needs servicing). Banking and trading bots provide financial services. Workflow bots automate business workflows in sales, HR, operations, admin, finance, etc. Chart bots summarize data in charts suitable for small screens. IoT bots connect us to our smart homes, cars and devices. Concierge bots provide a wide range of services implemented by other bots. And when all of these bots get to be too much, your Personal Assistant bot manages the communication with the other bots for you escalating only the high-priority requests for which you’ve trained it.
Messaging wars are being fought to control the consumer relationship and interaction path to functionality and content. And what is at stake? This goes far beyond messaging – it is all about defending each major platform’s core revenues and consumer bases.
Companies entering the enterprise messaging space anticipate that the workplace will adopt messaging and use it as the primary interface for internal communication and collaboration. But in 2017 hybrid sharing/messaging platforms will also gain traction and capture daily digital behaviour.
Amazon’s strategy is the opposite of every other player: price subsidized, reliant on ecommerce and no text messaging platform. Alexa could be the foundation for building or acquiring a messaging service through voice interaction.
The bots that matter today are largely recognizable brands that rely on messaging apps and major platforms for distribution (called first party bots), which promise to reshuffle and deck in search, as well as the way users discover information and services.
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