“Welcome to Telekom! If you have questions regarding your contract, please press 1!” Sounds familiar? The always friendly automated voice of the service hotline. This widely known communication robot is the origin of all digital assistants – a Neanderthal of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Meanwhile, the underlying systems have passed through several evolutionary stages, developing into complex software applications. The chatbots of the new generation are not only applied when it comes to service hotlines anymore. Often without noticing, we encounter them online on a daily basis, for example while shopping and on social media. But how did we get here?
Two simultaneous developments several years ago have influence the development of this topic into an absolute megatrend. On the one hand, AI progressed rapidly, on the other hand, messengers in the modern “mobile first” world have become an indispensable part of daily life. More than 4,1 billions of users all over the globe use instant messaging and chat applications at all times. To use the newly discovered channel, easy chatbots have been applied. Because of AI’s increasing popularity, the prevailing opinion at the time was that smart chatbots would be able to completely replace human communication. As a first point of contact to companies, they can provide instant assistance by referring to customer and order data as well as additional information.
The initial euphoria has disappeared quickly as machines reach their limits rapidly. On the one hand, humans like communicating with other humans; on the other hand, a simple chatbot cannot be compared to the complexity of a human brain. Human interaction and the intuition for how a counterpart feels cannot be replaced by a machine. In addition, complex conditions must be considered before the chatbot is implemented, a task that puts companies into a challenging position. There is a multitude of messaging apps on the market which customers can use to communicate via voice and text messages. Furthermore, voice control provides the option to interact with new devices without actually having any contact with them. Moreover, besides Messaging Apps, further communication channels such as websites or hotlines exist.
The wide range of information received from various channels in different formats needs to be collected, consolidated and analyzed centrally. In addition, companies often use heterogeneous back-office system environments that need to be accessed by chatbots and employees in order to interact with customers. It is therefore necessary for chatbots to act as a “single points of contact”, and to be combined with all the components by means of sophisticated interfaces in order to facilitate a conversation as natural and goal-oriented as possible. This requirement cannot be met by a simple chatbot system, as it depends heavily on the context in which it is used.
This discovery has led to the trend changing from simple chatbots to digital assistants and new ideas for modern application scenarios. Hence, the new generation of chatbots is being used where it is most needed. Digital assistants should not be a substitute to interpersonal communication but a meaningful addition.. For example, to improve service quality, chatbots need to be integrated into service processes. As first aid, they can support standard questions (in approx. 80% of service cases) before more complex problems require further human contact.
With Oracle Digital Assistant, an innovative product is on the market that effortlessly meets the requirements of all business areas. With Artificial Intelligence, self-learning chatbot systems can be set up, which have the ability to respond to user needs and entertainment styles in a dynamic way rather than by use of standardized keywords and phrases they are taught. As a context-independent system, Oracle Digital Assistant can be equipped with multiple capabilities to act as a single point of contact for the company’s comprehensive information and service offering. In addition, an integration with various back-office applications as well as with all common messaging apps, web portals and popular language assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri is easily possible.
A wide variety of skills can be developed and combined, creating a more natural, dialog-oriented user interface using text or language. This new generation chatbot enables companies to perform valuable actions on behalf of their employees. Oracle, the leading provider in all cloud areas, offers a pioneering system with obvious advantages.
Author: Martina Steimer
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