Chatbots came on the scene in 2011 as business intelligence, artificial intelligence and messaging platforms combined into new forms of responsive technology. New ways were needed to support companies interacting with buyers and provide customer support that aligned and could evolve with changing communication habits.
What is a chatbot? A messaging application, sometimes referred to as a conversational interface, designed to simplify complex predefined task(s). The "chatbot" label covers a number of categories including stand-alone applications, AI tools, bot developer frameworks and messaging, bot discovery, connectors/shared services, and analytics. VentureBeat recently released a bot landscape which undoubtedly will rapidly expand in the near future.
Today, chatbots are seen as easy and fun ways to help customers achieve an outcome. You'll encounter them on web sites, social media and even on your smartphone. Say hello to Siri, Allo and Alexa, to name a few.
To further adoption developers are making chatbots more human-like with personalities, capable of recognizing speech patterns and interpreting non-verbal cues to make interactions even smoother. The excitement is not in what they are capable of doing today but in their future trajectory. As cited in the Chatbot Magazine, "Messaging apps are the platforms of the future and bots will be how their users access all sorts of services" shares Peter Rojas, Entrepreneur in Residence at Betaworks.
Verizon Ventures is an active investor in the chatbot market. According to Christie Pitts, Manager - Ventures Development of Verizon Ventures, "Chatbots represent a new trend in how people access information, make decisions, and communicate. We think that chatbots are the beginning of a new form of digital access, which centers on messaging. Messaging has become a huge component of how we interact with our devices, and how we stay connected with the people, businesses and the day-to-day activities of life. Chatbots bring commerce into this part of our lives, and will open up new opportunities."
Originally published with Forbes.com