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Resources to Build Your First Chatbot

Posted on 9.05.2016

You can't open up your browser these days without hearing something about chatbots.

Many consider artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, manifesting in the form of chatbots, the next great evolution of digital business (and pretty much all business for that matter).


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While the prospects can be both exciting and frightening for many (particularly those in the customer service realm), and the technology itself is still somewhat rudimentary/basic (dumb) in most cases, the potential is most certainly there and the savviest enterprises recognize it and are doing all they can to get involved in the development of their own bot offerings.

It is unlikely of course that most enterprises will have the resources available to staff a team of AI experts and invest in the appropriate machine learning technologies to capitalize on the trend, but fortunately, there are numerous solutions available to make the release of a chatbot an actual reality. Let's take a closer look at some of the solutions Web professionals will discover as they research the opportunity.

Before heading in to the world of bots, let's take a a moment to explore what we're dealing with. Chatbots leverage artificial intelligence to chat with users and answer any questions they ask. They function in a number of different ways, and can help users resolve problems, provide information, and even help perform some basic tasks.

Most of the resources/solutions included below don't require extensive coding knowledge, but in many cases they are somewhat limited in their functionality. Discover several solutions to help enterprises of all sizes and budgets build their first chatbot and gain some insights into what makes each of the platforms unique and appealing below.

ChatFuel: A free and increasingly popular chatbot platform for Facebook Messenger and Telegram used by many well-known brands including Uber and others. Integrates with many popular services including Twitter and Instagram, and offers AI that understands and answers basic user requests.

Two similar (in that they are designed for Facebook Messenger), but somewhat more restrictive and less powerful offerings to consider, include Botsify and Smooch.

NanoRep: A very robust offering with loads of features catering to those enterprises seeking a far more personalized guidance solution for their users, the NanoRep platform imports content from website FAQs, knowledge bases and external sources.

Developers looking for even more might want to consider a platform such as API.ai, however.

While it too offers conversational Facebook Messenger bot (similar to ChatFuel and Botsify), the API.ai platform goes far beyond to provide one of the leading conversational UX opportunities, working with wearables, mobile applications, smart TV's automotive, and more. Developers will be drawn to API.ai's long list of integrations and features.

As digital pro's seek out an appropriate chatbot platform for their enterprise, they will encounter numerous perfectly viable offerings, and the aforementioned solutions are just a few (although they are often considered the cream of the virtual crop). When evaluating the right solution for your enterprise, consider features and integrations (capabilities) as well as price.

Some other popular solutions include KitBot, Init.ai, Botkit from Howdy.ai, Beep Boop (for Slack integrations), PandoraBots and Rebot.me.

Is your enterprise capitalizing on the chatbot craze? Are you considering doing so?
Share your experience with other Website Magazine readers now...

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