Conversational AI is a form of Artificial Intelligence that allows people to communicate with applications, websites and devices in everyday, humanlike natural language via voice, text, touch or gesture input. For users it allows fast interaction using their own words and terminology. For enterprises it offers a way to build a closer connection with customers through personalized interaction and receive an unprecedented amount of vital business information in return. The last eighteen months have seen no abatement in the demand for conversational AI platforms and predictions from major analyst firms shows the trend is set to continue strongly in 2018. But throughout this, there is an underlying message; enterprises need to deploy conversational platforms that are capable of truly understanding the customer--however they phrase the question.
With Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolutionizing all walks of business and social life, enterprises are plugging in conversational AI to enhance cross channel customer experience. Gartner predicts that more than 50 percent of enterprises will opt for chatbots as the preferred channel over traditional mobile apps. The technology at the core of the rise of the chatbot is natural language processing (NLP). NLP infused chatbots, designed to mimic human conversations, have gone through the peak of Gartner hype cycle expectations, the trough of disillusionment and are heading towards enlightenment and productivity. With more people using chat to communicate, chatbots have gained a lot of importance and are fast becoming a trend for digitally empowered consumers.
Artificial Intelligence is a fascinating topic for many people nowadays, no matter if they are a consumer or an influencer. Today, I'm happy to be joined by Ilya Gelfenbeyn, CEO and co-founder of Api.ai, a conversational UX platform used to embed natural language understanding capabilities into connected devices, apps and services. Regular readers of SitePoint may recognize the service, as we have covered Api.ai in the past with a series earlier this year on getting started with the platform. Ilya has a background in machine learning, natural language processing and conversational interfaces. Elio: We have covered Api.ai in the past, but could you briefly explain the concept behind it?
Have you ever placed an order through the Starbucks app? If you have, you might have noticed that an AI-powered chatbot takes your order. You can speak to it or type in your message. These AI chatbot platform will help you when your order is expected to be ready and the total cost. Similarly, the Pizza Hut chatbot on Facebook messenger can help you order your pizza. It can tell you all about their ongoing deals too. Smart businesses are integrating conversational chatbots into their inbound marketing strategies.
Businesses can now use conversational AI to automate customer-facing touchpoints everywhere -- on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, on their website, their app or on voice assistant devices. Industry giants like Apple, Amazon, Baidu, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft are investing large resources to drive AI progress. And though it's still relatively new among enterprises, by 2021 Gartner predicts 25% of enterprises across the globe will have a virtual assistant to handle support issues. If your organization is not yet familiar with conversational artificial intelligence, it is a set of technologies that enable computers to simulate real conversations. According to Georgia Partners, conversational AI refers to the use of messaging apps, speech-based assistants and chatbots to automate communication and create personalized customer experiences at scale.