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3 Ways To Commercialise Conversational Interfaces

I was asked to speak at an event recently about our experience to date and future vision of conversational interfaces.

The founding passion comes from science fiction, the idea that we can talk to our technology has been around for decades. What makes the delivery of these interfaces right now hard is the fact that people expect to be able to interact like they have seen in the movies.

We have made it our life’s work to work at the cutting edge of what technology can deliver through the growth of web, social apps, mobile apps, augmented reality apps, mobile payment apps and now to conversational interfaces. The challenge is to understand where we are in the adoption curve and then craft the right experiences that engage an audience in a way they feel comfortable with.

We saw with the adoption of smartphones a distinct journey from 2008 to today as people started to trust the interface more.  To begin with the idea of banking or payments was unthinkable to many but today it is often the preferred channel.  We see parallels in the way that conversation interfaces will be adopted, right now there are customer experience gains to be made and a role in inspiration or service delivery but over time we imagine full blown conversation commerce will become the norm as in certain circumstances it is far more convenient and faster that other methods.

Right now the opportunity for many brands is to start to make themselves available to their customers across all conversational channels by building their own bots, skills and actions, this way they will learn how to engage, build up new channels to communicate and learn about the best way to make the most of the space.  Companies that do this well will be able to steal market share from those that do not.

However, there is a concern that the end goal of the top level assistant creators (Google, Amazon et. al.) will use the relationships they build up with the customers to take business away from incumbent brands, for example if you order a pizza every night from Domino’s, one day Alexa may offer you the option to save $5 off you weekly pizza bill by ordering from Alexa pizza.  The amount of behavioural data the top level assistants will hold is vast but again the best way to understand how to ensure your brand can get cut-through is to experiment and learn early.

We offered a few examples of applications as we wrapped up the talk but the overpowering messages were that it is still early in the adoption cycle, there is much to gain by gaining experience now and the best way to do so is to work together.

See the slides we ran through including a few demo videos above.

by Charles Cadbury

Charles Cadbury