IBM Watson™ Virtual Agent is a set of preconfigured cognitive components based on the IBM Watson Conversation service. By configuring the virtual agent with your company's information, you can quickly implement an automated chat bot that enables your customers to achieve their goals.

Watson™ Virtual Agent provides the following components:

  • A configuration tool that you can use to configure how you want the bot to respond to various types of requests.

  • A set of intents representing actions a customer might request (such as "Pay my bill" or "Tell me your business hours").

  • A natural-language model trained to identify intents based on customer input.

  • A conversation dialog flow that can handle some complex intents by prompting for additional information, generate replies, and trigger events to be handled by your application. If the predefined dialog does not satisfy your needs, you can implement your own custom dialog using the Watson Conversation service tools.

  • A chat widget you can embed in your web page, and an SDK you can use to develop a custom chat widget.

  • A set of APIs you can use to integrate your application with the virtual agent.

Architectural overview

The following diagram illustrates the architecture of a typical Watson Virtual Agent implementation:

The implementation includes the following major components:

Conversation service

An instance of the Watson Conversation service. The Conversation service defines intents and provides the underlying cognitive processing and dialog flow for the chat bot. You do not need to interact directly with the Conversation workspace unless you want to implement a custom dialog.

For more information about intents and dialogs, refer to the Conversation service documentation.


A bot built on the Conversation service, including a set of intents and dialog. The bot is trained to recognize intents related to customer engagement, such as basic information queries and bill paying. The provided bot configuration tool enables you to configure company-specific information that can be provided in response to user queries, and to configure the response to each customer intent.

Your company website

Your customer-facing business application, which handles communication with the Watson Virtual Agent bot and with your systems of record (such as customer databases or billing systems).

Chat window

The virtual agent chat interface, which customers use to converse with the bot. You can use the provided chat widget, with or without customization, or you can use the client SDK to implement your own chat widget.