Highlights of ChatbotConf 2016 Vienna

Europe’s first international chatbots and mobile messaging conference, ChatbotConf 2016, took place in Vienna on October 14th, 2016. We were the attendees as Botanalytics and had the opportunity to meet chatbot enthusiasts all over the world.

The chatbot conference kicked off early in the morning with the crepes and pancakes. Attendees got the cute bags and sessions started after the breakfast time. Program was full of good names on two stages and all the seats were taken during the day. All sessions were quite exciting and worth to listen.

chatbot conference

 Amir Shevat – Slack

After the welcoming session finished, Amir Shevat, Developer Relations Lead of Slack was on the main stage. Amir talked about during his talk about how Slack grew and how bot makers could develop and maintain their bots successfully. He gave some tricks and tips about some issues to consider. All these tips are the experiences of the Slack team of course. For instance, don’t forget to let your users be able to use Emojis in these days. He mentioned about not spamming your users. Instead, he advised to digest content. In order to create a good user experience, the responses of the bot should be formatted, he pointed out.

chatbot conference

Other tips and tricks for bot makers are creating feedback channel and help, also thoughtful onboarding. Amir explained that whilst designing a good user experience for your users, you should review these issues; poor onboarding, buggy or broken functionality, no install page, or insufficient info on install page, no support page/no privacy policy, poor description for the direcotry listing, requesting too many scopes, spamming users in DM or by email.

We learnt that more than 90% of paid teams use Slack apps and integrations. Up to date, 17K integrations have been installed 3.6M times. Also, he mentioned about Slack’s exclusive fund worth $80,000,000 for bot makers. Furthermore, he announced that he is writing a book called ‘’Designing Bots’’ as its publisher is O’Reilly. We’re already excited!

Christoph Auer-Welsbach — IBM

Christoph Auer-Welsbach from IBM was on the stage talking about the future of AI and gave some important statistics. He pointed out that AI industry will be worth $70B by 2020. 2,600 companies developing A.I. technology and by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human.

Also, 1000+ new jobs globally related to machine learning every month will be created, he said. He advised that businesses should understand that A.I. can now serve a user’s emotional need too, data science to design products and services for A.I. systems, the many ways users can react in different scenarios.

It’s crucial to understand how human and machine are working on their side as their natural behaviors. Human side is much more about compassion, intuition, design, value judgments, common sense, on the other hand machine side is much more deep learning, discovery, large-scale math, fast checking. For successful A.I. systems are combined in that way, Christoph Auer-Welsbach pointed out. Therefore, he explained that A.I. systems can enhance their bots by considering all the aspects in the honeycomb such as speech to text, sentiment analysis, image link extraction, concept tagging, personality insights etc.

chatbot conference

Ido Iungelson — Viber

Third session started on the main stage started with Ido Iungelson from Viber. Ido started his talk with the graph about bots on Google Trends. Observing data he asked the question ‘’Should we build bots?’’ Furthermore, he pointed out the challenges of bots one by one. He broke down the ‘’reach’’ side into virality, social presence, discovery. These challenges are the obstacles to overcome the acquisition of the users on bots.

Toby Bradshaw — Microsoft

After the delicious lunch break, Toby Bradshaw from Microsoft started his talk telling about Microsoft’s Bot Framework which provides bot development tools in the platform.

Toby explained how to develop bots and how Microsoft Bot Builder SDK gives you the capability of managing the bots. He listed general guidance: keeping domains specific, keeping intents distinct, not confusing intents with entities, giving better results with larger training sets, designing for confidence and using telemetry to highlight gaps in training. He summarized his talk with the words ‘’The world is still learning what a ‘great’ bot is but; mixed media, domain specific and context awareness are really important to manage the bots’’

chatbot conference

Mikhail Larionov — Facebook Messenger

Mikhail Larionov from Facebook Messenger started his talk with the current capabilities on the bot industry. The areas are payments, webviews, sharing, ads for bots. These opportunities will be a success in near future. Mikhail mentioned that bot makers should focus on user experience, analytics/tracking, reach, scalability. These are the main priorities for bot developers already.

We learnt that Facebook Messenger team now focuses on payment improvements such as one-click transactions, support from webviews within Messenger, PayPal and Stripe out of box. He also mentioned that new UI improvements will be out soon on Messenger for bot makers. Moreover, Mikhail gave some insights about retention and monetization for bots. Smart notifications, explicit user opt-in, opt-out, pushes, native messenger payments, custom payment flows are the assets we need to figure out if we would like to develop a successful chatbot.

chatbot conference

Martin Raison — Wit.ai

Martin Raison from Wit.ai started his speech telling why conversational A.I is so hard. Then, he explained that bot makers can use stories while they’re creating their bots. Defining workflow is really important according to Martin. He listed some improvements that bot makers could do. For instance, bot makers could start with a ‘’happy path’’ and make a story for it, add stories to refine the specification and add new features over time, automatically run the model against existing stories to identify any ambiguities.

He quoted from John McCarthy: ‘’ As soon as it works, no one calls it AI anymore.’’

chatbot conference

Google and Line speakers Behshad Behzadi and JoseLuis Takahashi both talked about the future of chatbot. Beshad said that the future of search will be as it is in the Her movie. Also, he gave a product demo how Google now serves as an A.I. assistant.

On the master stage, Matty Mariansky (Meekan), Alexander Weidauer (LastMile), Alex Bunardzic (Staples Inc.), Jakob Reiter (The Ventury), Barbara M. & Peter B. (Swell), Alexandra Neczliova (Sure), Alex Braumann (Cisco Spark), Greg Leuch (Poncho), Sohan Maheshwar (Gupshup), Gregor Jarisch (EDDI) talked about their experiences and visions about their products.

After all the speeches finished, panel discussion with Line, Viber, Google and Facebook Messenger started right away. All of the speakers answered the questions about chatbots from the audience. Some of the questions were about future, digital assistants, and personal bot usages.

chatbot conference

The chatbot conference was such a great success for chatbot ecosystem. We thank you to Oratio for having a great atmosphere in Vienna.

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