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Bots will transform the way we use mobile devices

On June 7, 2016

Imagine being able to buy a book, order food, book a taxi, get news and do much more from right within your favourite messaging app. Or using any other internet service while using the messaging app. If that sounds inconceivable, it is already happening. There is a major tech revolution going on right now. Slowly, but surely, mobile apps are being replaced by a new type of software program: Chatbots.

To understand the what, why and how of Chatbots, let’s take a quick detour through the history of personal computing. In the mid-1980s, we primarily used computers through desktop operating systems and client applications. In the mid-90s, with the rise of the web, we used computers mainly through web browsers and websites. In the mid-2000s, with the rise of the smartphone, we used computers through mobile operating systems and mobile apps. Now, we are about to enter a new era where our primary usage will be through messaging apps and bots.

The bot phenomenon has accelerated dramatically in the last few weeks because popular messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Line, WeChat, Telegram, Skype, Slack and many others recently added new features to enable businesses to connect with consumers. Businesses have now started building Chatbots to engage with their customers and/or employees through messaging apps.

We are seeing businesses worldwide, small and large, starting to build a wide variety of bots. For example, Sage, a global accounting software company, is building bots for capturing daily expense and income; Barclays Bank is building bots to automate customer support; HDFC Bank to automate internal workflows; K2, a global staffing company, for recruiting processes; McDonald’s for finding stores and ordering; ecommerce sites for shopping, ICICI for banking transactions, etc.  In just the last few weeks, we have also seen thousands of developers, using our platform to build bots across categories and geographies.

Bots enable businesses to reach and engage their customers in their preferred environment. Any business that previously built a website or an app will now have to build a bot. As consumers start engaging with a few brands through messaging bots, they will expect every other business to offer bots, too. Like the earlier shifts to web and apps, the new shift to bots offers early adopter businesses a substantial competitive advantage.

The shift from apps to bots also offers Indian entrepreneurs and developers an incredible opportunity. In the earlier shifts (to web and apps, respectively), India had neither the developer ecosystem nor a large customer base. This time is different. India now has both a mature tech startup ecosystem and a large installed user base of mobile users. Instead of lagging behind, India will play a leading role in the development of the global bot ecosystem.

Bots will gradually invade every aspect of our lives and transform the way we use computers and mobile devices. Get ready to welcome the bot revolution with Gupshup.

Beerud Sheth

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