7 Trends in Conversational AI and their Impact on Business

The deployment of increasingly smarter chatbots, AI-powered virtual assistants and conversational AI technology has enabled organizations to increase customer engagement, save resources by efficiently scaling their customer-facing operations, and ultimately make their customers and end users more satisfied.

But now, with ever-smarter and more context-aware chatbots, advancements in fields such as predictive analytics and speech recognition, and the integration of these technologies into end-users’ devices, we witness how data scientists, engineers, and AI entrepreneurs are taking things to the next level.

The trends considered in this article are based on the insights provided by the conversational AI leaders and innovators who have thus far participated in our conversational AI interviews. For each trend, we discuss the impact and opportunities for businesses to leverage the next generation of conversational AI.

Here are the 7 Conversational AI Trends and their Impact on Business.

Table of Contents

Brands anticipating customer needs to provide seamless experiences

Massive developments in NLP, integration of predictive analytics technology and data sources will soon allow enterprises to develop an inside-out understanding of their customers’ needs.

Josh Comrie, Co-Founder and CEO of Ambit, observes: “The combination of predictive analytics, integration with key data sources (effective CRM) and omnichannel servicing. In other words, being able to know your customers intimately, service them when, where and how they want, seamlessly, through great technology and design. Once the industry nails this, we win the hearts and minds of customers.”

On a similar note, Seb Reeve, Director International Go-to-market at Nuance Communications, observes that “data-driven personalisation alongside prediction algorithms will offer the ability to design experiences for consumers that are genuinely easier“, and he envisages “a world where we will not need to reach out to brands very often at all – instead, we can expect them to anticipate our needs”.

Impact on business

Brands will be able to increase revenue and reduce costs with more accurate and timely marketing efforts while ensuring seamless and pleasant experience to their customers.

Cognitive chatbots that understand context and dialogue, not just single queries

There is convergence amongst several experts’ opinions that the massive advancements in the fields of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Generation (NLG) will soon allow chatbots to more deeply understand the context of a conversation and more effectively hold entire dialogues with their users.

Abhishek Thakur, Chief Data Scientist at boost.ai and world’s first Kaggle Triple Grandmaster, foresees the next generation of “AI virtual agents to take on advisory roles, helping customers with choosing a pension plan or giving advice on mortgages”.

On a similar note, Peter Voss, Founder and CEO of Aigo AI, compares current chatbots to candles in the pre-electricity era, and cognitive chatbots to light bulbs: “one candle provides barely a hundredth of the illumination of a single 100-watt light bulb. Cognitive Chatbots are the light bulbs and the year 2020 is the dawn of the Cognitive Chatbots.”

“As the technology continues to mature, the market will see more sophisticated dialogue management and transactional functionality. There will also be continued innovation around how these solutions improve with both human and machine learnings as well as ways companies can fit this into internal workflows”, says Chris Ezekiel, Founder and CEO of Creative Virtual.

Satish Medapati, Founder and CEO of Intentico, says “Advances of NMR (neural machine translation) will probably start taking shape this year blurring the barrier of language completely for bots”.

Dinesh Sharma, Co-Founder and CTO of AskSid.ai, states that “Recent developments and contributions from Google, Microsoft, and Facebook in Natural Language understanding, the Conversation AI has become more contextual, more understanding, and able to support multi-turn conversations.“.

Impact on business

Conversational AI technology that can understand the context of a conversation and generate language that is not distinguishable from human-produced language will enable businesses to deploy virtual assistants in a whole new range of applications.

The rise of voice-enabled assistants

Nithya Thadani, CEO of RAIN, observes massive opportunities in creating “voice-enabled, employee-facing applications … such as voice-enabled employee onboarding – and sometimes it’s something far more specific, such as hands-free solutions that increase safety for workers at construction sites.”

Similarly, Dr. Catriona Wallace, Founder and Executive Director of Flamingo AI predicts “everyday people will have their own AI Virtual Assistant in their smart phones” controlled with voice and gestures to complete “tasks such as annual product renewals, new purchases, appointment bookings”.

Impact on business

Voice-enabled interfaces allow enterprises to develop a broader range of applications, both customer- and employee-facing, with potentially wider adoption. 

AI to enhance humans, not replace them

As enterprises deploy AI and chatbots to drive efficiencies and reduce costs, many worry that they will replace humans, leaving them jobless.

By contrast, Steve Desjarlais, CEO and Co-Founder of Heyday AI, sees “AI as a member of the team, not a replacement – to enhance human beings and create smarter, faster and better customer experiences”.

Impact on business

In a hybrid human-machine team, human employees will be able to focus on the things they excel at, and as a whole, the team will have the power of AI at its disposal to address the more tedious and time-consuming parts of the work.

Companies will be able to reduce costs of business functions such as customer service and sales, which represents an opportunity to invest in retraining, refocusing employees on key activities where humans can make a difference.

Process-oriented chatbots

Erik Ashby, Director of Product at Helpshift, predicts that “combining intent classification with process oriented chatbots is eventually going to win out”.

Chris Ezekiel states “The continued blending of machine learning and human curation of content and placing the control of that within the organisation’s existing workflows is going to be hugely important. Conversational AI will just become part of the organisation’s fabric – fully embedded into all functions and processes – for both customers and employees.”.

Impact on business

Businesses adopting conversational AI for their customers as well as for internal use cases will become faster and more efficient, thereby reducing costs. As the processes are captured into a more robust system, they will also be able to constantly improve such processes.

Consolidation of customer support, marketing and sales departments

With a personalized, omnichannel, and conversational experience being offered to the customers, the departments of sales, marketing and customer support activities are often blending into one single entity.

Mike Murchison, CEO of Ada, sees that along with the offering of a personalized self-service, “the consolidation of the customer experience, and marketing and sales departments” will be one of prevailing trends.

Impact on business

Enterprises that will follow this trend may be able to reduce costs of department coordination overhead and develop stronger relationships with their customers.

Convergence of Conversational AI with other technologies: AR, IoT

As the B2C conversational-AI market expands, the possibility to develop simple yet powerful solutions for the masses represents a big opportunity for vendors integrating AI and other exponential technologies.

Andy Peart, CMSO at Artificial Solutions, identifies a trend in the “convergence [of Conversational AI] with other emerging technology such as augmented reality to deliver a totally conversational immersive experience”.

Likewise in his interview Ravi N. Raj, CEO and Co-founder of Passage AI (now acquired by ServiceNow), sees a big opportunity in “IoT devices that understand speech and natural language and can perform simple, as well as complex functions at home and work”.

Are you a recognized expert in the fields of NLP, chatbots and conversational AI? To take part of the conversation and be featured in an interview, register here.

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