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UK robotics startup Emotech has just landed $10 million in Series A funding to continue building a prototype virtual assistant that has a more varied personality than existing assistants, such as Siri and Amazon’s Echo, according to TechCrunch.
Dubbed Olly, the virtual assistant should be able to adapt to a user’s personality – Emotech claims that, for this reason, no two Ollys will be the same.
Demand for emotive bots is already high among consumers in certain markets. Microsoft’s Chinese chatbot XiaoIce, for example, garnered more than 40 million registered within months of its launch, with the average user interacting with the chatbot around 60 times a month, according to Amigo Bulls. XiaoIce can tell jokes, recognize photos and, more importantly, remember your mood and stories from past conversations via “sentiment analysis,” Microsoft’s blog states.
Creating a personalized and empathetic virtual assistant could serve to attract brands and businesses looking for new and innovative ways to engage with consumers. The high levels of intelligence of empathy in virtual assistants could be used to incite more interactions with consumers. That engagement could then be turned into product promotion for brands looking to reach consumers via connected devices like smartphones and home hubs like the Echo.
Advancements in artificial intelligence, coupled with the proliferation of messaging apps, are fueling the development of chatbots – software programs that use messaging as the interface through which to carry out any number of tasks, from scheduling a meeting, to reporting weather, to helping users buy a pair of shoes.
Foreseeing immense potential, businesses are starting to invest heavily in the burgeoning bot economy. A number of brands and publishers have already deployed bots on messaging and collaboration channels, including HP, 1-800-Flowers, and CNN. While the bot revolution is still in the early phase, many believe 2016 will be the year these conversational interactions take off.
Laurie Beaver, research associate for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on chatbots that explores the growing and disruptive bot landscape by investigating what bots are, how businesses are leveraging them, and where they will have the biggest impact.
The report outlines the burgeoning bot ecosystem by segment, looks at companies that offer bot-enabling technology, distribution channels, and some of the key third-party bots already on offer. The report also forecasts the potential annual savings that businesses could realize if chatbots replace some of their customer service and sales reps. Finally, it compares the potential of chatbot monetization on a platform like Facebook Messenger against the iOS App Store and Google Play store.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
- AI has reached a stage in which chatbots can have increasingly engaging and human conversations, allowing businesses to leverage the inexpensive and wide-reaching technology to engage with more consumers.
- Chatbots are particularly well suited for mobile – perhaps more so than apps. Messaging is at the heart of the mobile experience, as the rapid adoption of chat apps demonstrates.
- The chatbot ecosystem is already robust, encompassing many different third-party chat bots, native bots, distribution channels, and enabling technology companies.
- Chatbots could be lucrative for messaging apps and the developers who build bots for these platforms, similar to how app stores have developed into moneymaking ecosystems.
In full, the report:
- Breaks down the pros and cons of chatbots.
- Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots.
- Forecasts the potential impact chatbots could have for businesses.
- Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots.
To get your copy of this invaluable guide, choose one of these options:
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The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of chatbots.