Impact - - FEATURE -

Mar­ket re­search com­pany For­rester, in its re­cent data on chat­bot adop­tion, re­vealed that 57% firms glob­ally are al­ready us­ing chat­bots. How­ever, the start wasn’t as rosy as it looks to­day. Tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ers that saw im­mense po­ten­tial early in the day had many hur­dles to jump over, try­ing to con­vince in­vestors and keep the ex­cite­ment high. Trac­ing the jour­ney of bots,

says “In 2015, the con­cept of hav­ing con­ver­sa­tional as­sis­tants be­came very hot and sud­denly there were hun­dreds of com­pa­nies glob­ally do­ing some­thing in the bot space, both in the con­sumer, and the en­ter­prise side. In­ter­ests were height­ened and even we man­aged to raise cap­i­tal from our part­ners Times In­ter­net. How­ever, by the end of 2016, the ex­cite­ment ta­pered down and it was still in­ter­est­ing but not as hyped as we orig­i­nally imag­ined. Now in 2017, the util­ity of chat­bots has been val­i­dated and there are dif­fer­ent ar­eas of chat­bots that are 100% pro­duc­tive such as cus­tomer ser­vice and lead gen­er­a­tion. Con­tent is still pick­ing up and hence it is too early to com­ment on that.”

Ac­cord­ing to “The global chat­bot mar­ket is set to ex­pand at an in­cred­i­bly high CAGR of 27.8% in terms of rev­enue, within a fore­cast pe­riod from 2016 to 2024. By the end of 2024, the global chat­bot mar­ket is ex­pected to reach $994.5 mil­lion in size. In In­dia as well, this fig­ure is soar­ing. The use of chat­bots saw a surge in 2016. How­ever, they were al­ready be­ing used in many in­dus­tries in­clud­ing Fi­nance, Health­care, etc., for a few years glob­ally.” has also de­vel­oped HDFC Bank’s Mes­sen­ger chat­bot ‘OnChat’ which re­ceived more than 2.4 mil­lion mes­sages, with 25% con­ver­sa­tions with non-HDFC Bank users, thus prov­ing to be an ef­fec­tive mar­ket­ing tool.

For a multi-lin­gual coun­try, de­vel­op­ing a ver­nac­u­lar lan­guage sup­port can be a game-changer in im­prov­ing en­gage­ment. Also, in ar­eas where In­ter­net band­width is yet to pick up, and there is limited us­age of smart­phones, chat in­ter­faces can be an apt al­ter­na­tive. “We want to make AI ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one and for ev­ery­thing. The aim is to take e-com­merce to peo­ple in deeper ge­ogra­phies that have con­nec­tiv­ity is­sues and peo­ple are loathe to down­load many apps due to band­width con­straints and limited us­age of the smart­phone,” sums up an op­ti­mistic Jaiswal.

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