“We’ll con­tinue to en­gage with and em­power the de­vel­oper com­mu­nity”

OpenSource For You - - Contents - Ravi Pinto, di­rec­tor-prod­uct man­age­ment, Or­a­cle Cloud Plat­form

Ravi Pinto, di­rec­tor­prod­uct man­age­ment, Or­a­cle Cloud Plat­form

Over the years, and par­tic­u­larly in 2017, chat­bots have found wide ap­pli­ca­tions in large en­ter­prises, en­abling a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of con­sumer be­hav­iour. In­no­va­tions in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) and ma­chine learn­ing (ML) tech­nolo­gies are ex­pected to fur­ther en­hance the fea­tures of chat­bots. In a re­cent con­ver­sa­tion, Ravi Pinto, di­rec­tor - prod­uct man­age­ment, Or­a­cle Cloud Plat­form, shared the sig­nif­i­cance of open source in Or­a­cle’s in­tel­li­gent bots with Syeda Been­ish of OSFY. He also talked about the suc­cess of ‘Or­a­cle Code’, a free event for de­vel­op­ers. Edited ex­cerpts…

Q What are the re­cent trends vis-à-vis the role and scope of bots in In­dia?

Chat­bots are the cur­rent flavour glob­ally. A re­port by Gart­ner has es­ti­mated that by 2019, 40 per cent of en­ter­prises will be ac­tively us­ing chat­bots to fa­cil­i­tate busi­ness pro­cesses us­ing nat­u­ral lan­guage in­ter­ac­tions.

In In­dia, the pro­lif­er­a­tion of smart­phones, as well as the growth in broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity and mes­sag­ing apps, is in­creas­ing the de­mand for chat­bots. En­ter­prises are look­ing to con­nect with their cus­tomers, part­ners and em­ploy­ees in new and dif­fer­ent ways. We’re cur­rently wit­ness­ing in­creased de­mand from banks, in­sur­ance firms and travel com­pa­nies, amongst oth­ers. In the com­ing months, we ex­pect bots to play a key role in other sec­tors as well, such as health­care and gov­ern­ment ser­vices.

Q What is the fu­ture of AI and chat­bots in the In­dian mar­ket?

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port, the global chat­bot mar­ket is ex­pected to reach a turnover of US$ 1.23 bil­lion by 2025, which rep­re­sents a CAGR of 24.3 per cent. In In­dia, chat­bot adop­tion is grow­ing faster than most of the other APAC coun­tries. With more AI get­ting em­bed­ded in chat­bots, it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore busi­nesses adopt chat­bots as a rev­enue gen­er­a­tion en­gine. Just to give you an in­di­ca­tion of the po­ten­tial and scope in this field, in the last few months, AI and chat­bots have fea­tured in al­most all my dis­cus­sions with cus­tomers across in­dus­tries.

Q What fea­tures of chat­bots most ex­cite the tech de­ci­sion mak­ers among en­ter­prise cus­tomers?

There are var­i­ous fea­tures that in­flu­ence the de­ci­sion to use chat­bots. But the ma­jor dif­fer­en­tia­tors or fac­tors con­sid­ered are: a) Time to mar­ket – How easy and

quickly can you go live? b) How ro­bust is the en­gine? Can it

han­dle a va­ri­ety of lan­guages? Can it con­nect to a va­ri­ety of chan­nels and mes­sag­ing pro­to­cols?

c) How good are the prod­uct’s AI/ML ca­pa­bil­i­ties, e.g., what is the F-score of the bot?

Q A ‘one size fits all’ ap­proach might not be the best for chat­bots. What are your views on this? Can you share any use cases?

At Or­a­cle, we un­der­stand that dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies have dif­fer­ent re­quire­ments; so we bring in AI al­go­rithms for deep learn­ing, cog­ni­tive ser­vices, di­a­logue and con­text, and knowl­edge ser­vices, which we then fine tune for chat­bots. With AI pow­ered chat­bots, or­gan­i­sa­tions can fi­nally de­liver con­ve­nience and per­son­al­i­sa­tion that cus­tomers pre­fer. Cus­tomers are in­creas­ingly notic­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween com­pa­nies that have true AI-pow­ered learn­ing apps and those that don’t. Another cru­cial fac­tor is how quickly th­ese bots can be built. Ma­ture chat­bot plat­forms such as Or­a­cle’s en­able the cre­ation of chat­bots with min­i­mal cod­ing.

Ba­jaj Elec­tri­cals, one of our In­dia based cus­tomers, took just three weeks to build its pi­lot chat­bot us­ing Or­a­cle’s in­tel­li­gent bots, which are part of the Or­a­cle Mo­bile Cloud En­ter­prise.

The com­pany is now in the process of ex­e­cut­ing a soft launch of its first cus­tomer ser­vice/sup­port chat­bot.

Q What role is Or­a­cle play­ing in the chat­bot space?

Or­a­cle’s new bot-build­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, part of Or­a­cle Mo­bile Cloud En­ter­prise, lets en­ter­prises cre­ate new in­ter­ac­tive cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ences us­ing drag-and-drop tools. De­vel­op­ers de­fine how the con­ver­sa­tion should flow, what kind

of ques­tions cus­tomers might ask, and which mes­sag­ing chan­nels—such as Mes­sen­ger, Slack, voice-based as­sis­tants, or oth­ers—cus­tomers can use. Nat­u­ral lan­guage pro­cess­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties built into the plat­form un­der­stand and learn the nu­ances and the con­text of con­ver­sa­tions. And de­vel­op­ers can use APIs to in­te­grate the bot to back-end sys­tems, as a way of pulling in data such as team sched­ules and seat avail­abil­ity.

Or­a­cle’s in­tel­li­gent bots can sup­port many of to­day’s most pop­u­lar in­ter­ac­tion chan­nels in­clud­ing mes­sag­ing clients such as Face­book Mes­sen­ger, Kik, Skype, Slack, and dig­i­tal voice as­sis­tants such as Ama­zon Echo, Ama­zon Dot and GoogleHome. Ad­di­tion­ally, Or­a­cle’s in­tel­li­gent bots pro­vide na­tive and JavaScript SDKs to ex­tend mo­bile and Web-based ap­pli­ca­tions with chat and voice ca­pa­bil­i­ties via Ap­ple Siri, GoogleVoice or Mi­crosoft Cor­tana.

Q What is the scope of open source in chat­bot de­vel­op­ment?

The core en­gine of a chat­bot is pow­ered by AI/ML com­po­nents for in­tent recog­ni­tion, nat­u­ral lan­guage pro­cess­ing, etc. This is the do­main of well-known open source projects such as Ten­sorFlow, Stan­ford NLP, etc. Apart from th­ese, open source projects such as Apache Spark and Kafka are also used by the bot en­gines.

Q With chat­bots gain­ing pace, what are the ex­pected hir­ing trends?

In­tel­li­gent bots will trans­form ev­ery facet of ev­ery in­dus­try and dra­mat­i­cally im­prove the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. In fact, chat­bots can up­skill em­ploy­ees with the most trend­ing tech­nol­ogy and also help them with rel­e­vant op­er­a­tions man­age­ment. Apart from this, they can man­age mul­ti­ple tasks at the same time.

The skillsets needed for build­ing chat­bots are var­ied. Th­ese range from UX ex­per­tise (how do you en­gage a user in the ab­sence of a GUI) to ex­per­tise on do­mains—to un­der­stand the user’s psy­che and the range of cus­tomer in­ter­ac­tions.

Q What tech­nolo­gies are In­dian de­vel­op­ers fo­cus­ing on?

We see a very vi­brant and ac­tive soft­ware de­vel­op­ment sce­nario in In­dia, with de­vel­op­ers work­ing across the en­tire spec­trum of tech­nol­ogy. We find there’s more de­vel­oper ap­petite for cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies such as con­tain­ers, chat­bots, etc, when build­ing in­no­va­tive ap­pli­ca­tions.

There are three trends most no­tice­able among In­dian de­vel­op­ers. First, cloud na­tive de­vel­op­ment us­ing Mi­croser­vices is set to go main­stream. Mi­croser­vices based de­vel­op­ment is no longer a new buzz­word, but an es­tab­lished best prac­tice to de­liver prod­ucts quickly to the busi­ness in the dig­i­tal era. This boosts agility, giv­ing en­ter­prises a sig­nif­i­cant com­pet­i­tive edge.

Se­cond, real chat­bot ap­pli­ca­tions with nat­u­ral lan­guage pro­cess­ing will be­come the norm this year. Us­ing chat­bots, ex­ist­ing ap­pli­ca­tions can be ex­tended to newer chan­nels, while newer ap­pli­ca­tions can in­ter­act in novel ways.

And third, Node.js and JavaScript will con­tinue to build a mas­sive fol­low­ing. JavaScript has be­come the ubiq­ui­tous lan­guage with both client and server-side pro­gram­ming ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Most new ap­pli­ca­tions are built us­ing JavaScript frame­works such as Re­act, An­gu­lar, etc, with Node.js on the back­end. Poly­glot ap­pli­ca­tions con­tinue to re­main a fo­cus for de­vel­op­ers look­ing to choose from a mul­ti­tude of pro­gram­ming lan­guages.

Above all this, open stan­dards, open plat­forms and open source re­main a key pri­or­ity, since de­vel­op­ers want zero lock-in. In line with Or­a­cle’s com­mit­ment to open stan­dards and open source, the com­pany re­cently an­nounced three new open source con­tainer util­i­ties – Smith, a se­cure mi­cro­con­tainer builder; Crash­cart, a mi­cro­con­tainer de­bug­ging tool; and Rail­car, an al­ter­na­tive con­tainer run­time.

Q How is Or­a­cle en­gag­ing with the In­dian de­vel­oper com­mu­nity?

With the democrati­sa­tion of cod­ing, Or­a­cle is com­mit­ted to­wards de­vel­op­ing, sup­port­ing, and pro­mot­ing var­i­ous tech­nolo­gies for de­vel­op­ers. In­dia is a crit­i­cal mar­ket for us, and Or­a­cle Cloud Plat­form val­i­dated for In­dia Stack is a tes­ti­mony to our com­mit­ment. We’ll con­tinue to en­gage with and em­power the vi­brant de­vel­oper com­mu­nity here to build world-class prod­ucts.

Or­a­cle, which has been suc­cess­fully run­ning ‘Or­a­cle Code’ glob­ally, acts as a learn­ing plat­form for tech­ni­cal ex­perts and in­dus­try lead­ers, as well as a plat­form where de­vel­op­ers get to ex­change ex­pe­ri­ences. The com­pany has brought its global flag­ship de­vel­oper event to In­dia, con­duct­ing it in Ben­galuru and Delhi in 2017. Such events are an op­por­tu­nity for de­vel­op­ers to ex­pe­ri­ence easy, mod­ern and open cloud de­vel­op­ment tech­nol­ogy with work­shops and other live, in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ences and demos with global tech evan­ge­lists. Or­a­cle Code not only acts as a learn­ing plat­form but is used to ex­change ideas and share ex­pe­ri­ences too.

To ex­pe­ri­ence cloud de­vel­op­ment tech­nol­ogy with work­shops and other live, in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ences and demos, Or­a­cle once again in­vites the de­vel­oper com­mu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in this event in 2018. ‘Or­a­cle Code – Live for the Code’ is sched­uled to be held in Hy­der­abad and Ben­galuru on April 4 and 10, re­spec­tively.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.