Conversational Services

5 things you need to know about the future of messaging platforms

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What’s great about living and working in Austin, TX is the abundance of meet-ups and learning opportunities. My day job at Watson involves helping to market Watson Conversation. Sure I understand the terminology and have experience using our API, but I wanted to develop a deeper understanding of the chatbot scene here and learn the latest advancements.

That’s where Talkabot comes into play. Talkabot are meetups, conferences and community around bots and conversational software hosted by Howdy. It’s a super casual environment, not just for developers, where you learn the latest in bot tech in Austin. New speakers are added each month to talk about the latest with chatbots, what’s going on with their respective company and live demo.

What were key takeaways from this month’s Talkabot meetup? Twenty years ago, trends focused on web and email. Five years ago, mobile apps were the hot trend. These days? Messenger. Consumers want functionality and quick, expert experience with not a lot of effort to install.

Doug Daniels of Conversable, an Austin-based bot company, highlighted the following messaging platforms future trends in his presentation:

Still early days of messaging and bot platforms

Messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and Twitter are still exploring features and functionality to support in a bot experience.

First generation bots are about simple interaction and discovery

The messaging platform primitives so far lend themselves to, also the users on these platforms need to learn and discover how to interact with these experiences before they can start using more free-form conversational experiences.

Next generation bots will bring more advanced functionality and NLP for expert use cases

As users begin to become comfortable using conversational experiences, we’ll hopefully start to see more advanced bots such as personal assistant, expert parsing (already there in some cases, regular users may not be ready to adopt just yet).

Next generation will build conversational first

Like previous paradigms, web, mobile, now conversational applications, developers first “port” existing functionality to the new platform, eventually people will start building conversational experiences first (they already are), and this is where we’ll start to really see bots that take advantage of the features on these platforms.

Discovery and user education needs to be solved

Users need to become aware that conversational experiences are available, right now we’re still in the early adopter phase, there will need to be a transition in terms of users becoming aware as well as great conversational experiences being created to drive this.

In case you missed our partnership with Howdy, check out our article from November highlighting chatbot advances with Watson + HowdyAI:

In Austin and interested in Talkabot? Follow them on Twitter: Talkabot and Howdy, or sign up for the Talkabot meetup:

Not in Austin? Follow the #Talkabot hashtag on Twitter to stay in the know.

Follow me on Twitter @MaryReisert, and you can always catch me at @IBMWatson.

And who knows, you may see an appearance from Watson Conversation in the future at Talkabot. #StayTuned.

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