Chatbots in the Localflow
The full article was originally published by Localflow on Medium. Read the full article here.
Today smartphones can be filled with an endless number of applications, Android, IOS and other mobile OS gave the opportunity to a lot of developers to build third party applications and monetize their work.
“App Store was opened on July 10, 2008, with an initial 500 applications available. As of January 2017, the store features over 2.2 million apps.” — wikipedia
Now we are in the verge of another disruptive innovation that will expand possibilities of online services for any smartphone user.
Chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are going to change radically the future of communication, services and probably even businesses and human personal relations.
Localflow is an AI chatbot ecosystem for the local economy.
What does it mean?
First of all, let us describe what chatbots are: chatbots are smart softwares, designed to live in other chat platforms, websites, apps or other software that can host them. For example, these are the most famous chatbot platforms:
Chatbots can be equipped with Artificial Intelligence, so users can interact with them using their voice or plain text, as if they were having a normal conversation with a human, but in this case the chatbot will try to understand what users were asking them, finding a good answer in return.
One of the most important abilities of chatbots is the Natural Language Processing (NLP), meanwhile the ability to change autonomously their algorithms, learning after making mistakes and from interactions with users, is called “machine learning”. We can think about chatbots as conversational applications that can live inside other messaging/chat/social apps. Chatbots don’t need to be downloaded because they can be invoked by users, in the same way we can choose to chat with someone in our contact list. Simply by searching the bot name in the platform’s search engine.
Localflow chatbots will be present in many platforms. After the Localflow platform is fully developed, they will be operating even there.
Chatbots are mainly made to assist users, for this reason the more advanced ones are called AI assistants, giving information when asked, reminding something or advising.
Why is this important?
To answer to this question we should start thinking on how we spend our time on the smartphone and connected devices.
Most time is spent on messaging platforms and emails.
Attention taken by messaging apps is growing fast. The following graphic shows how Messaging Apps are increasing monthly activity even more than social apps.
At the same time we can realise how hard it is to bring up people to use a new service and a new app.
We are no more in the early years of Smartphones and Apps, therefore it’s difficult to produce excitement. Users are mostly overwhelmed by infinite services in the form of diverse apps.
Apps drain battery, apps can run out memory space, sometimes they can be annoying with unwanted notifications, some of them can worry us for privacy concerns.
This graphic shows how many apps U.S. users open every day:
This graphic makes us realise, that most people use only few apps for limited functions.
Nearly every smartphone owner has a messaging app; the combination of chat applications with a bot platform, as many mainstream messaging apps are building up, can unleash a big increase in service possibilities not more slowed down by the necessity to download an app.
Even when users download and install a new app the time of retention is usually declining on the timeline:
We can see from this graph how even the top 10 apps have a descending curve, but they float over 60% of retention rate after 90 days. This mean that chatbots can provide the same services in different top 10 applications. For example a developer can make a weather bot for Facebook Messenger and for WeChat, in this way his service will be reachable directly from internal search engine of both platforms having higher opportunity to be used by users.
The Chatbot revolution provides a lot of advantages. No download, no delay time for users, higher effective interaction and less power consumption.
We, as Localflow, want to bring this innovation even further. Through a chatbot ecosystem, Localflow will build a local social economic network.
Bots present in the Localflow network will have strictly a local and geographical restricted action and point of view.
Localflow chatbots can be used to:
- Connect people in the same area to chat, meet and organize different activities or events;
- Show businesses informations about service and goods, calendars, data, menu, prices, shopping times, etc;
- Drive new sharing economy use cases through the use of personalized chatbots: renting a room, teaching a course or an ability, selling home-made food, etc;
- Know what is going on around you, through different LocalNews chatbots; data from IoT sensors and devices that give for example weather info reliable and secure;
- and other functions connected with local services, activities and humans nearby.
In this ecosystem a local search engine becomes crucial.
Chatbots, even the ones with highly advanced AI, have only one niche of intents and knowledge they can be aware of.
Over a limit their understanding of human language becomes ineffective.
So we are building a chatbot that has a local search engine to provide users with the right set of bots or informations taken from other chatbots to answer directly to specific local information’s.
This Local search engine bot is named “LocalflowBot”: a Smart AI Local Assistant.
Localflow wants to move people focus, from far to near, from the past/future to now, from virtual life to the real one, making local value circulating and rewarding all the actors of the local area.
Through Localflow search engine, users discover local information in messaging apps, can add relevant information, rebroadcast promotional contents, bring value to events and make meetups.