The Chatbots Are Coming

Posted by Megan Szukala

March 6, 2017; 3:00 PM

The world of Unified Communications (UC) continues to evolve. In January, there were several articles predicting that artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots will be a UC game changer for 2017.

 

2017 Predictions: Cloud, AI, mobility to impact UC market in 2017

 

Scott Hoffpauir writes in this RCRWirelessNews article about how artificial intelligence and predictive analytics are going to change UC in 2017. Hoffpauir predicts that team collaboration applications will benefit from artificial intelligence. He says that AI will help reduce the amount of time spent each day preparing for work. For example, “the average worker spends two hours per day just looking for information, two-and-a-half hours in meetings or scheduling meetings, two hours sending and responding to email – unproductive time that cuts into the bottom line and workforce efficiency.”

 

The Enterprise Chatbot: Conversation Is More Than an Interface

 

Dave Smith discusses in his Documemt Strategy post how we are in danger of being drawn into the technical problems of artificial intelligence and chatbots while we should be concerned about conversational experiences. He reminds us that we need to maintain a high level of communication and collaboration while sharing information that is relevant to our business processes. “So, as enterprise planners look to develop strategies around conversational interfaces and chatbots, the goal has to be about moving towards conversational experiences.”

 

Enterprise UCC is Giving Way to Conversational Experiences and Engagement

 

In this UCStrategies article by Dave Smith, he continues the conversation about how traditional UC is based on internal communications. “The shift towards conversational interfaces and experiences places stronger emphasis on open lines of communications with customers, employees and partners in the ecosystem.” According to Smith, the rise of these enterprise-level chatbots is also promoting this trend. “The recent emergence of chatbots in messaging applications is driven by a need to enable collaborative business processes and improve customer engagement by simplifying communications.”

 

Smith believes that people are expecting simpler and more intuitive user interfaces, and chatbots will make it easier for conversational interfaces that are more natural to users when accessing certain services. “Focus your communications and collaboration strategy on enhancing your customer experience, streamlining operations, processes, and measureable business outcomes.”

 

Putting Human Call Center Agents on Hold

 

In another UCStrategies post, Joseph Williams addresses an interesting question: “How long do you think it will be until virtually all tier 1 call center agents are replaced by AI bots?”

 

Williams discussed this topic at last year’s Business Communication Summit where he and Dave Michels talked about the impact that artificial intelligence is going to have on call center operations. Williams says that chatbots are the first step but also believes that automated bots will “naturally interact with callers to initially reduce and eventually eliminate all but the most complex human agent interactions during the next decade.” He says this is brought about by improvements in speech synthesis, machine learning, natural language processing, and decreasing compute cost.

 

What do you think, are chatbots a good thing for UC? Leave your comments below.

 

 

Topics: technology, product development, Unified Communications (UC), mobility