Talking to a Machine? Yes, with a Chatbot

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A few days ago I was called for an interview at an IT firm located at one of the premium business hubs in the city. As I entered the building, I felt the need to reconfirm the venue of the interview. With no staff in view, I approached the helpdesk at the side of the entrance hall. To my surprise, again there was no human in sight but a large screen displaying instructions for use. I tapped on the screen where an automated box opened up with a small list of questions for me to select. With every tap forward, I had another list of options to choose from, whereby getting me to a solution quickly and efficiently. Finally I had my answer and I proceeded happily to the allocated interview setting. It was just like talking to a human.

Well this is called a Chatbot, or in simple terms an artificial intelligence (AI) driven computer program deployed for interaction. It is commonly known as a ‘conversational agent’ as it simulates human speech for interacting with its user. It enables this communication through texts, audio, or telephone. They can mimic real-life conversations and are therefore used in various sectors such as telecom, healthcare, banking, media, travel & tourism, etc.

We have already spoken a lot about the smart technology making waves in every industry, which is not only being streamlined for an automated approach but is also helping us to enhance our daily work. The new era is bringing humans and machines to start working together more closely.

Why do we need a Chatbot?
The concept of AI is to emphasise on the creation of intelligent machines that work and behave like humans. A chatbot plays a key role in allowing companies to reach out to their customers to describe the key information of the organization or to resolve queries of the customers by being available 24*7. There has been a rise in its usage as they have multiple advantages that encourage investments in this industry, which in turn boosts its market growth. The market for Chatbots is expected to grow at a CAGR of 29.10%, with a value expecting to reach US$16.85 billion by 2026.

The chatbot market has been analyzed by utilizing the optimum combination of secondary sources and in-house methodology, along with an irreplaceable blend of primary insights. The real-time assessment of the market is an integral part of our market sizing and forecasting methodology. Our industry experts and panel of primary participants have helped in compiling relevant aspects with realistic parametric estimations for a comprehensive study.

The Chatbot market comprises of customer engagement and support under various verticals. It is an effective tool to engage customers and retain them. It’s also quite useful in collecting data, and also for advertising products and services. The fact that it can be used as a personal assistant is one of the main reasons for its popularity in the present times. These devices have improved the speech recognition considerably by also communicating in the native languages, which has therefore resulted in the wide usage of Chatbots in various applications. The on-premise deployment model is the most popular one, as it allows the companies to have a better user experience and security of data. It can also examine all the Chatbot interactions within the company.

Chatbot is gaining popularity
The banking sector has been one of the main users of chatbots for catering to such large customers and building its relations with them. The other sectors have also adopted Artificial Intelligence tools to focus on bringing customer satisfaction. It is also useful in the healthcare industry for people suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

However, there are certain limitations of Chatbots. As Chatbots are fed with specific data sets, it is possible for them to fail to understand or fully cater to the customers’ questions. The use of Chatbot solutions is increasing among various industries; there still remain challenges in effectively utilizing Chatbots solutions mainly due to the limited awareness regarding it. Moreover, the cost of introducing Chatbots in the enterprises is quite high, which might limit the adoption of such systems in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

Nevertheless, Chatbots are the future of the world. The present COVID induced crises have led to minimum human interaction, and many have chosen the option to continue catering to customer demand by using highly-efficient Chatbots. They are also likely to revolutionize the education sector in the future as more and more learning goes online. Some of the major players consist of Yellow Messenger, Passage AI, Cognicor, Conversica, Kevit, SmartBots.ai, Kore.ai, Yekaliva, Gupshup, Contus, and Google, among others.

Whether we like it or hate it, AI is everywhere and this advance technology is used to automate almost everything that can make our life much easier. With just a few clicks on our smartphone we can open an account in a bank minus the need of an actual person, without speaking to a driver we can book a ride to any part of the city or we can look for vehicles or homes as per our specifications without the trouble of any negotiations. To think of, there are endless numbers of examples where we as consumers are always on the lookout for the next best technology to make our life better.