Last year, we published The 7 Chatbot Marketing Trends for 2018. We were 7 for 7 in it, so we figured we’d stare into our looking glass again and give it another shot.
The average chatbot today is far smarter than its counterpart a year ago. This can be attributed to major improvements in the four pillars of conversational engagement – Better NLU, NLG, NLP, and sentiment analysis.
The more chatbots interact with us, the better they’ll get.
So what can we expect in 2019?
1. Chatbots will be More human
An oft-used term to predict the future of Chatbots is “more human”. But what does it mean when experts say the future of chatbots will be more human?
“More human” is an umbrella term used to describe three technological advances in computational conversation.
- Sentiment Analysis – Sentiment Analysis, also known as opinion mining is the process of extracting and thereby determining the emotional tone of the words used. One of the primary methods in which humans analyze sentiment is by body language. Over text, humans use emojis.
- NLP – Recent advances in deep learning has meant that natural language processing has developed in leaps and bounds. One of the main ways computer analyze human text today is tokenization; breaking up text into “tokens,” such as words. Using neural networks, computers can now take on word embeddings.
- Multilingual NLU – English is a common linguistic thread for most of the developed and developing world. However, different cultures put their own linguistic spin to it. From Spaniglish to Hinglish, these non-decipherable semantic distinctions are the next hurdle for Chatbots.
2. the market will see More voice enabling
Voice recognition has changed the way we search and shop. Consumer preference for the sector is fairly evident. Consider the following statistics.
There are over 100+ million Alexa-enabled devices on the market right now. The market is expected to further grow by 1000% percent. 20% of all mobile queries on Google are now voice enabled. By 2020, that number is expected to jump to over half of all mobile queries.
While Amazon’s Echo’s and Google Home’s are classified under “virtual assistant”, expect a push towards a middle ground this year.
Imagine a world where you’re in a cab on your way home. Simply text Alexa to turn up your central heating to prepare for you. Once you’re at home, you can say, “Hey Alexa, turn the temperature up by 2°C.”
Expect the functionality of chatbots to increase drastically. I fully anticipate the little icons on the bottom right of your screen to feature full voice functionality.
3. More consumer-facing developments
Chatbots are usually sold to companies, who thereafter use them to interact with consumers. In the business world, this is called a ‘B2B Industry’.
But Google’s Duplex demo broke those walls. It showed us that there are a lot of easily automatable interactions in our day to day lives.
Chatbots will be the next major element of technology democratization.
While they won’t be able to pick up your laundry (I, Robot style), I foresee a future where a lot of people will have a personal chatbot that can handle mundane conversations.
Just like with the PC, advancements in technology and reductions in price will allow chatbots to be democratically distributed amongst the general public.
4. Companies will have More Data
According to an IDC Digital Universe study, the amount of digital data created per year would be 35 zettabytes by 2020. (1 ZB = 1 billion TB)
As Chatbots become a staple of businesses’ digital offerings, companies will start competing amongst themselves for the best strategies.
Chatbots will be integrated into existing data architectures. Metrics like conversation duration and bot retention will be thrown around the same way webpage conversion and traffic are.
Chatbots Analytics can combine real-time conversations with historical precedence to give you deep and actionable insights.
The industry will move beyond simple data points like chokeholds or conversational hurdles to intent understanding and emotional output.
5. More C-UX and Job Roles
One of the latent changes that comes with the establishment of a new industry is the emergence of new job roles and thought leaders.
Conversational User Experience (CUX) aims to create technology that can seamlessly interact with humans. CUX includes brand persona development, personalized content, and guided conversations.
As the goalpost for the ideal user experience changes, the people you hire to score those goals will change too.
The mass adoption of websites and apps moved the concentration of power from coders to designers. And as conversation becomes an integral part of a users experience, new blood will enter the market.
Linguistic experts will determine how the system should respond to each question or request, and design optimal conversational systems. The fields main purpose will be to help the user reach their end goal as quickly as possible, all while delivering the best experience for them.
6. More Chatbot Apps
One of the big “app” stories of last year was when video game maker, ‘Epic Games’ decided not to launch its flagship Fortnite on Google’s Play Store.
Google and Apple both charge a 30% “store tax” for games released through its stores – for both for the initial sale of apps, as well as any supplementary in-app purchases.
And for a game that is free-to-play, that became too high of a cost for Epic Games to take on.
Avoiding the 30 per cent ‘store tax’ is a part of Epic’s motivation,” CEO Tim Sweeney told Forbes. “It’s a high cost in a world where game developers’ 70 per cent must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games. And it’s disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform, such as payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service.”
Apple and Google form a duopoly, by virtue of which they exert disproportionate power on the market. If you have a great idea for a mobile app or game, there is simply no other way to reach your audience.
I’m not going to say that apps will die out in 2019. That’s ludicrous. However, slowly, but surely, the tides are changing.
According to Gartner, by the year 2021, 50% of enterprise companies will spend more on bots and chatbot creation than they will on traditional mobile app development.
As the app market becomes more saturated, it will make more and more sense for larger organizations to focus on AI-powered workflows for their business strategy.
7. More chatbot Use Cases
Chatbots are used in a lot of industries. And as their capabilities and the user adoption increases, expect that to grow.
Most notably, expect chatbots to increase in their scope of internal corporate use.
Take, for example, Human Resources. HR is one of the most essential internal factors in a company’s long-term success.
While hiring often takes center stage, your HR team is responsible for a million other duties that directly influence your bottom line but aren’t as visible as hiring. These could be responsibilities like legal compliance systems, audits, conflict resolution, policy creation, streamlining, training and leadership development.
Research has found that between 40-50% of HR time is spent handling talent management and responding to internal queries and questions. This takes away from your teams time, time that could be better spent on planning, strategizing, recruiting and developing talent.
8. Bonus – More regulation
As Chatbots become the new norm, expect legislation to catch up. In 2018, we saw global attempts at regulation control rampant data processing and collection.
Given that chatbots need to horde data to improve their conversational capabilities, 2019 will present a year of stand-offs.
Security and data privacy will also become more and more relevant for big enterprises.
Google, Amazon, Microsoft all have their own version of bot builders. The three firms use their vast troves of actionable data to make their own products better.
Expect a conversation about letting these large players own their conversational data, for data mining and data collection. Also, expect more solutions with on-prem services for customers who’re concerned about their data.