Chris Monberg, CTO and president, Boomtrain, and Motion AI CEO David Nelson, speak on the growing popularity of bots and the upcoming changes they will bring, at the Techweek Chicago Summit, 2016. The session is moderated by Kristopher Kubicki, Co-founder, Dynamite Data.

Boomtrain is an artificial intelligence (AI) company which helps businesses send customized emails and app notifications to customers. Chicago-based Motion AI is basically a “bot production company” which “builds, trains, and deploys chatbots.” Chatbots are the future of conversational commerce. Retailers and tech firms are currently experimenting with them so as to deliver a better user experience.

Some of our key takeaways from the conversation:

  1. Bots as Interactive Agents Encourage Conversation in the Right Way:
    According to David, bots are “connected tissues among the services that we consume daily.” They have the ability to change the entire tech landscape, provided brands can communicate through them with customers in powerful new ways at a reduced cost.
  2. Bots are Useful but Have Certain Limitations: The year 2016 can be considered as the launching era for bots. They have this unique ability to engage in a bi-directional conversation. The conversational commerce, hence, will allow the user to interact with either a human agent or a computer bot in roughly at the same interaction paradigm. So, bots are useful for sending push notifications and doing transactions and payments. But, they fail to comprehend compound messages, which in a way hinder their implementation process.
  3. Operations of Bots Depend on the Business Orientation: Driven by AI, bots are capable of handling conversations directly with the consumers. As a result, bots question services set up of many companies. A large amount of data is accessible to these bots. Brands and businesses need to evaluate their APIs so that they have open APIs for chatbots to integrate with and aggregate from.
  4. Retailers Are More Interested in Deploying Bots: Gartner reports that by 2018, 30% of the overall interaction of chatbots will be through the retailers. Chris believes that in near future, there will be a trait for combined interaction which will include humans on one end and bots on the other. Retailers need to understand their users, interests, and preferences before deploying a bot. Moreover, customers’ feedback can be collected at a higher speed through computer-aided bots which allow a faster conversion rate.
  5. Companies will Change with Bots Influx: Going ahead, companies need to invest in the unified understanding of their users, which involves understanding their users and engaging in bi-directional conversation with them. Bots are placed to curate, aggregate, and surface the insights from customer feedbacks. This change can be noticed on companies’ websites as well. Hence, Paul English, Co-founder, Kayak.com, states, “Boting is the new entry level position now.”
  6.  Advice for Future Tech Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs need to get involved in the upcoming boting change. They need to invest heavily in bots with optimized functions. It will be beneficial for them to structure a business on the lines of elements that bots are good at.

Below are some of the key points and moments from the conversation:

  • 0:07 – Moderator Kristopher Kubicki introduced the panel, followed by speaker introduction
  • 3:05 – Bots have emerged as interactive agents to provide better user experiences
  • 8:14 – Bots are good at sending notifications and for transactions and payments
  • 11:36 – Bots are poor at comprehending complex information
  • 14:30 – Ticket bots are banned in New York City
  • 14:50 – Companies need to evaluate their terms of service set up so as to allow democratization of technologies
  • 20:35 – Platform navigation for bots is tricky as companies need to be realistic with data usage
  • 25:16 – Online retailers are eagerly waiting for bots to hit the market
  • 26:32 – Motion AI and Boomtrain are using bots and AI so as to add knowledge and value to their systems
  • 33:54 – Companies will change extensively with bots incorporated in them
  • 36:10 – Boting is the new entry-level position as per Paul English, Co-founder, Kayak.com
  • 42:52 – Closing thoughts on bots and advice to future entrepreneurs by the speakers

Speakers

CTO and President of Boomtrain
CEO of Motion AI