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Chatbots: Artificial service providers of tomorrow?

Chatbots are providing the increasingly digitised and virtual-friendly world with real-time and persoanlized customer-care services.

Sonal Rana | New Delhi |

Computer algorithms that mimic human conversation, a.k.a. bots — chatbots to be precise — are raiding the ever-so tech-savvy world of today. What are bots? Well, to put it simply, programmes that induce an environment of virtual interaction for humans, through the medium of text, voice or even graphics are called bots. Bots perform the mundane, yet laborious, set of automated Internet tasks, with a speed and expertise that is humanly unattainable. No wonder they are referred to as the worker bees of the Internet!

Bots are both particular and adjusting in their functions. There exist bots that are highly specific in their nature such as shopbot or knowbot that can shop online and collect information for you respectively. At the same time, chatbots – such as Siri, Cortana and Alexa – thrive on the apparent dubiety of their functional scope. They can set an alarm, play a song, search and organise information for you and what not. This dual nature of bots helps them officiate suitably for a hyper-active and an ever adaptive customer base.

It is no surprise that the world is transforming into an increasingly digitised and virtual-friendly space which perpetuates the need for fast and efficient servicing, something enterprises find themselves struggling to achieve. The criterion for customer service has found a new-fold existence as a result of technological outburst. Clients insist on real time and personalised responses to their queries and/or suggestions to an extent that this demand starts factoring in their choice of enterprise.    

Senseforth, an artificial intelligence powered platform, has picked up on this changing trend by providing the interested enterprises with a sizable range of intelligent business bots, consequently ensuring increased operational efficiency to its investors. Founded in 2013, with a vision to “make technology behave like an intelligent friend”, Senseforth is currently operating in elephantine industries such as banking, healthcare, telecom, e-commerce, and travel.

In response to the impressive graph of Senseforth over the last five years, Shridhar Marri, the founder of said enterprise, says, “The chatbot market, though relatively nascent, has seen explosive growth since 2016, growing at 37 percent CAGR. Industry estimates confirm that enterprises will be able to save $8 billion annually using Intelligent Assistants across functions. And 80 percent of businesses are actively looking to deploy intelligent assistants in the immediate future.”

He adds: “The banking and financial services industry has been the early adopters as usual. But several other industries are taking the cue and incorporating chatbots as part of their digital strategy and intelligent automated conversations will soon become a Channel-of-Choice for all customers.”

Initially, however, circumstances were not half as welcoming as they are now for Senseforth and other enterprises striving on bots, or AI for that matter. As one of the early entrants in the field of Artificial Intelligence, there were additional responsibilities in store for Senseforth, including spreading awareness about the concept itself, articulating business benefits, hand holding the adoption journey and even ensuring the presence of a future footprint.

Despite a considerably difficult start, Senseforth now finds itself on the assuring side of things and is preparing to set up base in the UK, the US, Australia and Middle-Eastern countries.

The present scenario does make it quite suggestive, if not overtly clear, that bot’s perpetual virtual presence is no over-exaggeration. According to a recent report the Virtual Assistant market is set to experience a hike from $1.6 billion in 2015 to $15.8 billion by 2021. In fact, the year 2017-2018 was even deemed the “Year of Chatbots”.

And Marri, among countless others, is equal parts hopeful and excited for the future of bots as first-of-its-kind virtual service providers.