tech2 News StaffMay 04, 2016 13:00:00 IST
Microsoft wants to make an ecosystem of intelligent digital assistants, that use contextual and personal information to rapidly deliver customized services. Microsoft has started accepted submissions to its Bot Directory. There are only a handful of bots listed as of now, and there is no word yet on when the directory will go live. Microsoft's vision is to replace applications with bots, that take action triggered by keywords. It works similar to a command line interface, with a text, speech or video input.
The Bots interact with the user, but more importantly, they communicate details about the user to each other. The machines track your location, friends and previous conversations, churns the data intelligently, and serves you streamlined suggestions for actions. For example, if you book a flight ticket for a trip to another city, a host of intelligent bots from different services can book a hotel room, find out if your friends who live there are free, schedule meet ups and book restaurant tables, all the while keeping in mind your personal preferences. The particular application used to converse with these various bots, are irrelevant. It could be talking to Cortana, or sending an SMS, or chatting on Facebook Messenger. The bots handover the conversation to each other. For example Cortana can hand over the conversation to the hotel's bot, to make it a seamless experience for the user. This is possible through a technology known as Bot Connector, which tracks individual user habits, routes messages and plugs into various APIs.
The services that the bots use to interact with users, are called Channels. These are the canvases on which the human-to-machine conversations take place. These channels include e-mail, Skype, SMS, Telegram, Slack and web chats. This means that the bots can communicate with users over these channels. Microsoft just added Facebook Messenger as a channel, which increases the reach of bots using Microsoft's Bot Framework tremendously. Users can interface with these intelligent digital assistants using a feature phone as well.
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