Chatting Them Up & Mapping Out Mobile Strategy


Chatting Them Up & Mapping Out Mobile Strategy

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  October 01, 2014

Director Spike Jonze got the idea for the movie “Her” after reading an article that talked about Cleverbot. The film is about a character, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who falls in love with a computer personified by a female voice.

Of course, Joaquin’s character is not the only one who’s turned on by the idea of chatting with a machine. Plenty of us already converse regularly with our good pal Siri, Apple’s (News - Alert) personal assistant. And I’ve seen more than one TV show that featured a character who develops a crush on the voice of his navigation system (although those tend to be more one-way relationships).

In any case, now more businesses want in on the action, and they’re working to engage with customers via automated chat.

This goes beyond just the automated chat used on some websites to answer basic customer service and product inquiry questions. And that could have major implications for where advertising, branding, customer service, marketing – and the human race as a whole – are headed.

For example, smartphone messenger Kik this summer began using bots to enable it and a handful of other brands to chat with users of the service. Kik, which has about 150 million users, the bulk of which are under 22 years of age, calls the new feature Promoted Chat. Kik invites its users to send a message to entities like Funny Or Die, Moviefone, and a few others, and says in return they will get content, pictures, stories, videos, and more.

As a recent article in The Wall Street Journal points out, Mitsuku is another chatbot that has already demonstrated the appeal of this kind of thing to young people. It can learn from each conversation, and while it’s not perfect, many people say interacting with these bots seems as real as chatting with a human being. That helps explain why Mitsuku markets itself as “your new virtual friend and is here 24 hours a day just to talk to you.”

In an age in which automation and personalization are both big and growing trends, and people are both extremely connected while still in need of the “human” touch, intelligent chatbots appear poised to take over the world.

On a separate note, I am at a wireless trade show as I’m writing this, and yesterday I had an interesting discussion with Russell Grahame, senior vice president and general manager of North America at Acision (News - Alert).

The world is going mobile, but just what that means for businesses and how they can best respond in ways to forward their strategies are complex questions that many organizations could use some assistance in answering, he noted. That’s why Acision, a leading messaging company, has come out with what it calls the Mobile Gameplan. This interactive guide can help businesses understand some of the key tenets involved in creating a winning mobile strategy. Grahame explains that the Mobile Gameplan is a way of helping guide people through the thought process of engaging in a mobile enterprise strategy.

Once an organization sets its strategy, it can achieve those goals through the use of Acision’s Forge platform, which allows enterprises and other parties to use a SDK to develop applications for customers. For example, a retailer could use Forge’s WebRTC capabilities to allow for real-time communications and upsell opportunities between retail agents and customers.

Acision got its WebRTC technology via the acquisition of Crocodile. And more recently, Acision expanded again via its purchase of MindMatics, which provides secure messaging to enterprises.

More acquisitions, especially related to the cloud and SaaS (News - Alert), are expected for Acision in the future, says Grahame, who explains that the company is working to expand its business – which has traditionally focused on serving carriers (the company serves 270 carriers globally with messaging services) – to also provide solutions to enterprises.

As Acision’s Engineering Director John Parr mentioned in a recent interview with INTERNET TELEPHONY, a TMC (News - Alert) sister publication to CUSTOMER: “Acision connects the world by powering relevant, seamless mobile engagement services that interoperate across all IP platforms and enrich the user experience, creating value and new communication opportunities for carriers, enterprises, and consumers across the world. After leading the mobile messaging industry for over 20 years, Acision is uniquely positioned at the convergence of next generation mobile communications, which is built upon carrier-grade technology, infrastructure, security, and support.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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