Videobots – A definitive guide
Arguably the next step in human-computer interaction, videobots are the evolutionary successor to chatbots and are in their early stages of development and implementation. Slowly but surely, companies both big and small are exploring this new technology with their own approaches resulting in unique applications ranging from VR entertainment to career guidance.
What are videobots, and how are they different from chatbots? What are their various applications? Who are some videobot players to look out for in the near future?
In this definitive guide that you may not find anywhere else on the net, we discuss everything there is to know about – you guessed it – videobots.
What is a videobot?
A videobot is a software program for simulating intelligent, intuitive and interactive conversations with human users using artificial intelligence. Users interact with videobots via a conversational interface through written or spoken text. While all this resembles that chatbots that we all know, videobots take it to the next level by providing an unprecedented level of personalization to make it look like an actual person is speaking with you. Virtually indistinguishable from a video call, videobots contain actual audio of the person – real or virtual – who is talking to a user.
A video recording of the person “starring” in the videobot is made first, on which an AI engine works its magic to break it down into components. Assimilating these components, the videobot is made. It can then respond to users’ questions – that can be voiced – and provide answers specific to the question’s context.
Videobots can be placed in any webpage and play a wide range of roles like in sales, customer support, and service, product and service enquiries, demos, FAQ, etc.
The need for contextual communication
When we interact with technology, the nature of communication is always decided by the technology itself. We work with it and help it realize our needs in a way that it can understand so that we get what we want.
For instance, when you want to Google some information you use the right set of keywords to get exactly the results you need – even though they may not make sense as a sentence. In fact, there is a whole industry behind optimizing marketing content so that search engine algorithms display them over others (SEO).
As an analogy, we can say that the difference between human-human and human-computer communication is like the difference between talking to an adult and an infant. You don’t need to feed your words to an adult-like you would in the case of a 2-year-old when you wish to have a conversation. You can just talk. Indeed, we do select the right words for the right circumstances even with adults, but there is no need to carefully present our communication so that the other party understands it.
Videobots are the latest attempt to cross that hurdle in man’s interaction with technology. They can handle ‘Contextual Communication’ which enables users to freely “talk” with a computer and get the job done. Chatbots have been and are doing this well, but they lack the personalization that videobots offer. Imagine talking to a software robot and then a real person in a video chat. It’s easy to realize that the experiences differ as night and day.
Powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, videobots can dynamically respond to human needs in human terms. Such a response system is fundamental to providing an easy interface for interaction – language. With language (and voice) as the interface, the user experience is more convenient. An old person need not seek the help of someone else to press the right buttons on their apps; they can simply talk to it and feel like they just had a face to face conversation with someone. Exciting, right?
Want to see a videobot in action and use it? Here you go.
You can also use the world’s largest library of videobots (for career guidance) here.
Chatbots can be built in two ways – rule-based approach resulting in hard coding or machine learning that necessitates streaming data for the system to learn on its own.
There are the basic chatbots and then there are chatbots with AI brains. With customers wanting to converse with chatbots that understand natural language, enthusiasts are making every attempt to create a bot that is rich in AI – Enthusiasts can now take advantage of sources like Api.ai to build chatbots with AI brains.
Services that can be leveraged to build a bot include:
● Microsoft bot frameworks
● IBM’s Watson
Bot building enthusiasts without programming skills are not left behind as they can use services that encourage them to build a chatbot. Some of the development platforms include:
● Octane AI
What are chatbots built for?
In essence, chatbots must understand the intent of the user. There is a need to infuse intelligent quotient into the bot. Let us take the case of a user asking a bot to suggest the best place for eating. The chatbot must understand what the user wants, provide a proper response – In this case, provide the name of the best hotel, though the user has mentioned it as ‘place’.
NLP makes this possible. Without implementing NLP algorithms on your own, NLP API can be used to infuse NLP capabilities into the chatbot. Some of the sources that can be used to build NLP API include:
● Microsoft LUIS
WHAT ARE THE DESIGN ELEMENTS TO BE USED?
Design elements of a chatbot depend on the messaging platform you choose to deploy the bot. There are top design elements that can be considered to build a bot.
Buttons – It is the bot that makes a user take decisions. Buttons prompt action when the user clicks it. Interactive buttons can be added to help the user take decisions faster.
Get Started Button – This is an intuitive feature prompting the user to set the bot into action. A chatbot built for Facebook Messenger cannot do without this feature.
Cards – These are primarily used to serve information like links, text, images and buttons as blocked containers. Blocks fall in columns when the phone is turned on its side. A user can select the card that is relevant to him.
Smart Reply – Smart Reply is a feature included to help a user respond fast to the chatbot’s query without the user attempting to type anything. This feature is useful when the chatbot is context-aware and also has user information.
Quick Reply – A user can make use of this feature as a response button. Tapping quick reply, a user can send his response message to the bot.
Persistent Menu – A user can make use of this feature to steer his way to another portion of the bot that is not readily available.
These are some of the popular elements that can pave the way for an enriching bot experience. It is ideal to pick the best feature to suit the purpose, moment and above all user needs.
Using videobots for a business
Videobots are on the rise, but the technology is still young. People are only now getting used to chatbots. Technology may rarely wait for the masses, but it is important to consider factors like volume (of users) and usability while building and implementing videobots. After all, a technology’s success lies in its widespread use.
Two factors come into play while developing videobots. One, to make the videobot a well developed tool so that it is successful and useful, and two, finding a place for it to ensure that is actually used in user conversations. While the former depends on investment in a talented IT team, the latter depends on identifying use case scenarios.
Some key factors to consider while developing videobots include:
- Identifying use, and thus the potential users:
Determining all the contexts for videobot usage will ensure that you build a versatile tool that can help in whichever context it is being used and actually be of use to the business as well as the end user. Whether it is entertainment, sales, news or customer service, understanding the business and the customers can help in making the videobot effective and user-friendly.
- Personalize and make it emotionally rich:
Remember, the idea is not just to make an information kiosk. By providing a face to a bot, you are creating a personalized experience that seems like a video chat for the user. Reading the emotions and user sentiments involved is key. For instance, when the user switches on their mic and asks a question, the person in your videobot can empathize by “listening” – nodding their head to show the user that they are actually taking in the question. Using warm, friendly and fun language can also greatly enrich the conversational experience.
- Use the face to engage user action
As it is, it is a new experience for a user to “talk” to a screen and engage in a conversation. The natural tendency to patronize the activity is still highly prevalent. This is where videobots can have an edge over chatbots or other tools. When a face pops up on a webpage inviting them for a conversation, it can excite the user into engagement.
- Guide the user
Once the user is in the videobot interaction, they may not have all the right questions they need to ask to obtain the information they need. Having a comprehensive list of questions listed as text on the videobot platform that users can press instead of voice questions can provide a more thorough and wholesome experience.
- Take the help of a videobot
Taking the help of an established videobot service provider, who can build the videobot for your business exactly based on your needs and specifications can lead to solid results. Expertrons offers videobots for a variety of functions, be it a company, college, or a nonprofit, that can help in eliminating fixed and moving costs as well as increased ROI.