After the recent F8 conference, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to share this new emerging trend: chatbots. What is it and why you should care? You can think of a chatbot as your digital helper, bringing a whole new interacting way to engage with people and businesses. Conversations will be instant, proactive and mostly personal.
There is a new trend where applications integrate third-party tools seamlessly into their own app, without the need of you installing them. The best example I can come with is Slack. Slack is obviously not the only business that proceeds this way, Facebook is joining the parade as well. Actually, the case of Facebook is pretty interesting due to their scale. With 1.59 billion monthly active users, there are 1 billion messages between consumers and businesses flooding Facebook every month.
We are in the middle of this huge paradigm shift of how people communicate with businesses. Mark Zuckerberg told his audience “I’ve never met anyone who likes calling a business“. Consumers want to feel connected with their favorite brands, and a simple conversation is a great way to get in touch. It’s a new opportunity for businesses to reach their audience better, and they will have to reinvent their strategy in the very near future, whether they are ready or not. It’s time for them to think to abandon their old 1-800 lines in favor for conversational support.
Chatbots are very interactive, and they are fun to use. You can perform most of your lifestyle’s actions, such as shopping for clothes, requesting a taxi, sending flowers, ordering a pizza, planning your travels, etc. It’s interesting to note that you won’t download any application, it is seamless through Messenger. On a side note, there are many startups raising capital to build intelligent chatbots, for example Amy (personal assistant), Pana (travel planner) or Nikabot (hands-free team tracking). Don’t be surprise if it becomes part of your day-to-day life, these bots are meant to improve your decision making.
Developers, you can start building a bot using the Facebook’s engine today. If you want to contribute to the bot engine, Facebook decided to open-source the project here. Nexapp will certainly look forward to this emerging trend!