If you feed on technology and haven’t tasted conversational commerce, you should be starving.
The term ‘conversation commerce’ has picked up pace over the past year or so and a number of companies have been trying their hands in this space. Slack and Magic are among the successful early movers. Magic was the harbinger that convinced the entrepreneurial minds that conversation is the new sorcerer’s stone. Chris Messina brought the matter into limelight and created the buzz by declaring 2016 as the year of conversational commerce.
Morph.ai, like numerous other startups, had been trying hard to convince the world of the ongoing change. It was tough for everyone to imagine such a shift. But on Tuesday, it all changed!
Facebook declared Bots on messenger and caught the eyes of every techie in the world. In a jiffy, everyone was convinced that the world is changing.
The announcement came with a lot of glamour, lot of excitement and a lot of unanswered questions.
Here’s a conversation (😉) for you, highlighting the takeaways and clarifications on ‘Bots on Facebook Messenger’.
Seems like Facebook did what Siri could not !
Nope, Messenger Platform is not a replacement for Siri or anywhere in the vicinity of it. It is NOT a technology that can understand everything and be your personal assistant (Facebook M is there for that and it’s yet to be unveiled). Also, it is NOT a tool with which you can build smart chat bots that can understand what your user says. Instead, it is an API over which you can install your own smart systems that can understand your users.
Then why is it such a big deal?
It’s a big deal because it’s Facebook. It’s the superpower with its 900 Million monthly active users! That and only that makes the news as big as it is.
Ok, then why did the keynote feel like there’s a lot of AI involved?
The demonstrations were actually pretty straightforward, where most of the tricks were done using buttons. However, Facebook also released wit.ai bot engine which is an AI backed tool that helps decode natural language. But, none of the demo bots used wit.ai, as confirmed by Facebook developers in video at 47:00.
So what exactly did Facebook announce?
The declaration made on Tuesday, had two distinct, independently functional parts to it: Messenger Send/Receive API and wit.ai bot engine.
Send/Receive API is just an API through which you can send and receive messages over messenger, as simple as that. API for Facebook private messages had always existed, but it had a lot of limitations. With the new API you can harness full power of the messenger like sending images and videos. The big change, however, was the introduction of template type messages, using which developers can send messages which have richer content and prominent call-to-action buttons.
Wit.ai, on the other hand, is a company that helps developers build natural language chat bots. It was acquired by Facebook in January last year to power Facebook M. Wit.ai bot engine is a cool tool that got cooler with the new range of features.
I don’t see a complete solution? Is there something missing to make a full picture?
A lot is missing yet. Many puzzles have to be solved to combine Artificial Intelligence with Facebook Messenger and make a complete solution. On top of a base AI system, there needs to be a design of conversation flows, a mechanism to handle largely variable customer intents, a panel for human agents smart enough to make things easy on their end, and most importantly, fulfilling the end-to-end use case by completing a transaction. These are all complicated things that the demo just skipped.
There is a large development effort required to fill this gap, preceded by a much larger effort of understanding the nuances of such a technology. Not every company can set out to build this for themselves.
This is exactly where Morph.ai steps into the frame. Morph.ai offers a comprehensive solution, specifically designed for businesses to directly integrate with. Morph.ai lets the businesses transform their services into conversations and takes care of all the heavy lifting.
So what comes next?
We are at the doorstep of a future filled with conversations around us and Facebook is going to be an inevitable part of it. And so would be Google, who announced plans for smart messaging app; and also Microsoft, who launched its Bot Framework a few days back; and Amazon, who has already made its mark through Echo with Alexa; and Apple, who is going to fight harder than ever with Siri; and so would many other companies active in the space like Kik, Telegram, Slack etc.
While the giants play their game, it will be the companies like Morph.ai who’ll get this technology in the hands of the every business and bring about the paradigm shift.
Wow! I am excited. What are the alternatives to Morph.ai?