Editor’s Pick: The Best of Bots at #MobileBeat2016
#MobileBeat2016, the first major industry event dedicated to exploring chatbots and artificial intelligence, witnessed a flourishing of chatbot innovations in industries from grocery stores and travel booking to fast food, e-commerce and personal finance. Here are some of the most interesting chatbots launched at #MobileBeat2016 in the past two days:
1. Whole Foods’Recipe Finder Messenger Chatbot
While speaking at #MobileBeat2016, Nichele Lindstrom, director of digital marketing at Whole Foods, unveiled the organic supermarket giant’s new chatbot, which allows customers to find product-specific recipes while shopping in-store. Shoppers can use a combination of keywords, cuisine types, diet preferences and even emojis to communicate with the Whole Foods chatbot, which returns recipe options instantaneously. The messaging interface not only makes grocery shopping more entertaining but also serves as a real-time shopping list, making sure customers can get all the ingredients needed to cook their meals. For the moment, the chatbot is only available through Facebook Messenger.
2.Booking.com’s “Booking Experience” for Bookings Beyond Hotels and Flights
One of the largest booking websites for destination travel, Booking.com has added to its service by launching a chatbot that helps users find local events and attractions once they arrive at their destinations. “The real question [facing a traveler] is what should I do when I get to a destination?” said Booking.com VP of Marketing Anne-Sophie Liduena in the company’s presentation at #MobileBeat2016. The new chatbot service, called “Booking Experience,” builds upon the site’s vast existing data reservoir of 93,000 destinations and more than 97 million customer reviews, making it possible to offer personalized recommendations based on both an individual’s travel history and on experiences shared by others. Booking Experience is available as of July 13, 2016, in Amsterdam and will expand into New York this fall.
3.Pizza Hut Unveils “Social Ordering” Bot Platform on Facebook and Twitter
In a bid to expand its “social ordering” commerce system, pizza chain giant Pizza Hut announced an ordering chatbot on Facebook Messenger and Twitter. Customers can ask for pizza deliveries by simply chatting with the bot, and they can also enjoy customized deals and menu options based on their location. “We are constantly pursuing ways to simplify our ordering experience,” said Baron Concors, chief digital officer of Pizza Hut, in his talk at #MobileBeat2016. “This platform allows our consumers to quickly order or get information where they are already spending a great deal of their time.”
4.Virtual Marketing Assistant Kit Now Available on Facebook Messenger
Kit, which was acquired by Shopify in April, is already one of the fastest growing chatbots to help professionals manage online marketing activities. At #MobileBeat2016, Kit announced its integration with Facebook Messenger, where hundreds of thousands users can have instant access to an intuitive assistant to help with Facebook and Instagram ads, social media community management, customer support, and other aspects of online marketing campaigns. Kit was previously compatible only with SMS and Telegram, an instant messaging app similar to Whatsapp.
5.Fintech Bot Kasisto Introduces AI-Powered Stock Trading Service
Kasisto, a bot maker specializing in personal finance, announced at #MobileBeat2016 that its chatbot will be able to trade stocks and monitor investments for users starting this Fall. The capability works through an integration with the TRADEIT API, which allows Kasisto to sync with major broker-dealers to help users check their portfolio allocations and financial holdings. Last month, Kasisto also introduced MyKAI, an artificial intelligence assistant available on Facebook Messenger, Slack and SMS, that aggregates users’ bank account and credit card information to perform tasks such as tracking expenses and alerting users to payment due dates.
Overall, #MobileBeat2016 made it overwhelmingly clear how chatbots can penetrate virtually all aspects of our lives. Although the industry is still in the infancy stage, machine learning and natural language processing are clearly generating yet another paradigm shift that is likely to spawn Silicon Valley’s next round of unicorns. NewsCenter.io will be looking into some of the most promising startups in this space and will present the most interesting and ground-breaking technologies in upcoming feature stories. Stay tuned!