| | DECEMBER 20189often a frustrating experience. A primary differentiator among con-versational platforms will be the robustness of their conversation-al models and the API and event models used to access, invoke and orchestrate third-party services to deliver complex outcomes" says Gartner. The next-generation interfac-es will be Smart, Personalized, Emotionally Intelligent, Aware of the Context and Knowledgeable (SPEAK) to interact with humans. They will be smart and will have the capability to deliver more per-sonalized interactions, be aware of the context of the conversation and be knowledgeable about user habits/preferences to provide a good experience and overcome the need to communicate in a structured manner.Smart Conversational User In-terfaces: Engagement Person-ifiedHuman-Computer Interactions (HCI) technology is gaining pop-ularity, and more & more orga-nizations are investing heavily in enabling `human-like' features in their user interfaces, both internal and external facing. The objective is to be relevant to the context and tackle challenges inherent to hu-man interactions. The paradigm of Conversational User Interface is nothing but a platform/algo-rithm/computer program/touch-point, which allows a user to have a conversation or interact with a computer/bot/technology. A con-versational UI can be a chatbot or a voice-activated assistant, or it can be a hybrid interface. Conversational Platforms are however not new. They have ex-isted in different forms, the most common being Interactive Voice Response (IVR), which interacts with callers, collects information and connects them with the right person. From simple user-response platforms, interfaces have evolved and become smarter thanks to advancements in Artificial Intel-ligence (AI) & machine learning (ML) and are poised to become more powerful in future as tech-nologies further mature. Interfaces today, be it chatbots, Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa, engage with cus-tomers in the context with a more personal-ized approach, thereby powering their voice. Interfaces today can analyze complicated requests and partic-ipate in real-time by providing quick and human-like responses. They are used to ex-ecute a variety of tasks and func-tions, ranging from answering cus-tomer queries and booking tickets online to being virtual assistants at home and outside. Companies across different sectors recognize the potential of smart conversation-al platforms that are context-aware to increase productivity and busi-ness efficiency, streamline opera-tions, onboard new users, engage with employees, and attract and retain customers by creating active communication channels, within and outside the organization. Personalized Conversation: The ObjectiveConversational interfaces are con-venient for several reasons. They remove time-lags as they are avail-able when users want them, and they are appropriate for conversa-tions when customers have to share personal information as there is no judgment from an interface. The interactions are frictionless, and issues are resolved without users having to talk to many people. Be it Alexa or Google Home ­ you can ask these virtual voice and home assistants to do a range of tasks for you. By listening to your voice/command, they can help you around the house, assist you in your shopping, give you restau-rant recommendations, make calls on your behalf, answer your ques-tions on current affairs and play your favorite music. The ability to have voice for technol-ogy platforms makes the experience more personalized/human and less mundane, especially when hu-man brains are wired to interpret any natu-ral speech as human. This in-turn elevates the audience/users in a far more acquainted context and enables them to connect with the technology platforms. Text-based bots can also carry-out a slew of tasks ­ Slack, for example, acts as a virtual office assistant and can help manage functions in the of-fice, while Duolingo bots can teach real-life conversation skills. However, conversational inter-faces can do much more than en-hance customer experience. They are being used across sectors like e-Commerce, healthcare, banking, and fintech to resolve issues, auto-mate mundane tasks and save on hiring costs, do online marketing, optimize operational efficiency, start projects, boost sales and make profits. Organizations are explor-ing ways to make internal process-es more efficient and streamlined by using conversational interfaces. As response time is critical, or-ganizations are redefining their digital user experience to ensure that they are connected with their customers 24/7 across all platforms Ramu M R
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