2016 was a big year in significant technological advancements: ♦ Elon Musk’s successfully launching and landing an unmanned rocket (plus the more recent 2017 announcement of the first manned mission next year); ♦ Amazon’s Echo (with AI software Alexa), Google Home, and Jarvis are the first real examples of Home Automation; ♦ Augmented Reality and Virtual Realities are beginning to change how we interact with both computers and the real world environment; ♦ The capabilities of Digital Personal Assistants have reached a near mythic status – and they’re only getting better; There has also been a less obvious change in the very foundation of how programmers approach coding. Most readers have probably heard about Bots (especially if you’re on Facebook Messenger frequently) in one form or another. That being said, most readers probably are a little unsure as to what exactly a Bot is. Most importantly, anyone who has used an app or interacted with a website in the last year or so has used a bot – and probably didn’t even know it. This is due to the second point in the above paragraph – people simply don’t understand what a Bot is. So first, a brief dive into the history of a Bot and the general capabilities of this new tool. But the real meat of this post will be about how bots, using complex programming tools borrowed from Machine Learning and AI, will revolutionize how businesses are conducted. The Brief History of Bots The first bots were ChatBots (a simpler version of what is on Messenger and now Google’s Chat platform Allo). They were simple creatures who were programmed with a series of automated responses. Bots were used for extremely basic tasks: ♦ Information retrieval (i.e. recent or local News); ♦ Task Reminder Alerts; ♦ Find local stores and/or restaurants. There were many basic tasks that these little bits of code could accomplish. But rapidly, they became something more. Using Machine Learning (Structured Prediction, Semantic Analysis, Decision Trees, Support Vector Machines, etc), coders were able to create Bots that were so much more than a simple fetch machine. How Automation is Changing the World of Business Today, programmers used Bots to automate routine tasks of all types. In fact one of the most celebrated business uses of a bot is how easy it makes to sell to online users. The popular example is ordering a pizza; but the point is that the easier it is for a consumer to buy something, the more likely they are to purchase it. However, this glosses over the true power it has to revolutionize how business is conducted. The true power of bots (as you may have guessed) lies in automation. Tasks that once required a person to initiate can now occur automatically. Consider a basic task that most businesses encounter: order placement. Before bots, a new order would have to go to living person who would then need to send it down to the next person in the workflow. Then, the downstream person would have to initiate the next steps, whether that’s manufacturing the product, providing the service, and so on. Then the downline employee would have to start the next stage. Business that use Bots can automate all of those tasks. Each one of those employees are freed from what is a rote mindless task – and can thus focus on the big tasks that make businesses a success (like growing business and improving revenue generation). Automation of these routine tasks through Bots is where the future of business lies. Think of all those tasks a bot can take over for a user: ♦ Automated responses to FAQ; ♦ Contact forms; ♦ Notification emails; ♦ Retrieving data; ♦ And so on; But Wait, There’s More Bots can be used to boost business in other ways too, including allowing SMB owners to build a website in mere minutes. RightClick.io is the best example of this, utilizing a massively cool chat Bot that asks a series of questions to help users to build an entire website, unique to their specific industry. Along with the robust editing tool suite activated with (perhaps not surprisingly) a simple right click, this is a Bot that burgeoning business simply cannot ignore. There are even bots that can help Business Owners build other Bots (Facebook and Amazon both provide this service); but the only way to develop a bot truly unique to a specific business is to get a programming team that knows what they’re doing. SDI has the development experience that can only be gained from thousands of programming projects. For almost 2 decades we have striven to innovate our own services, to continually provide better development support – like Bots – to our current and potential clients. We use AI, Machine Learning and our own custom Bot kits every single day. We know what processes can be automated and what still need that human touch. In other words, we know how to unlock the true potential of a business – in any and all industries. Give us a call at 408.802.2885/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!