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 converses with your customers to help them 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 capabilities that represent common goals or actions that customers typically want to perform (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 requests 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 mechanism for augmenting the capabilities of the agent with custom capabilities that you define in a Conversation workspace and link to the agent.
  • 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:

Architectural overview

The implementation includes the following major components:

  • Conversation service

    An instance of the Watson Conversation service. The Conversation service provides the artifacts for capabilities: the intents, entities, and dialog flow, along with the underlying cognitive processing that power the chat bot's capabilities. You interact directly with the Conversation workspace when you want to implement a custom dialog or custom capability only.

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

  • Bot

    A bot built on the Conversation service, including a set of capabilities. The bot is trained to recognize user inquiries related to customer engagement, such as requests for basic company information 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 for each capability.

  • 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.