Will Chatbots End The Life Of Mobile Apps?

Fri 10 February 2017 Written by Evi
Evi

The chatbots are here!  They're creeping into the mainstream, and companies are implementing them at an ever-quickening pace.  But, what, exactly, is a chatbot?

A chatbot is, simply, software that you converse with, via text or voice.  A chatbot simulates human interaction while allowing humans to get some work done by compiling information, providing customer service or simply providing social interaction.

Where the chatbots are 

A number of high profile companies are paving the way with their own uses for chatbots.

On the Facebook Messenger platform, you'll find Feels, a chatbot created by The Washington Post that provided users with a soapbox on which to offer their feelings about the recent U.S. presidential election, as well as a report showing how their feelings compare to others.  You'll also find Uber's chatbot, which allows users to hail rides and, when used in a group, allows others to see group members' current locations and ETAs, making it a convenient tool for group organizers. 

Mattel's Hello Barbie doll and Amazon's Alexa offer innovative and fun experiences for children.  Hello Barbie allows children to hold a real, one-on-one conversation with Barbie.  Alexa can tell personalized bedtime stories to children. 

Why are chat bots the big story for 2017? 

Over the past year, chatbots have been entering the mainstream.  They will continue to do so.  Chatbots are poised to become the next vital resource for businesses.

Why?  Chatbots offer individualized marketing for any brand.  They enable companies to interact with their customers one-on-one, in real time, whether those customers number in the hundreds, thousands or even millions.  They allow retailers to complete transactions in apps like Facebook Messenger and Amazon's Alexa, which their customers are already using.  They are malleable and can be suited to any scenario where communication is vital.

Will chatbots actually replace mobile apps?

Chatbots are perfect for eliciting opinions, hailing rides, providing social interaction or a multitude of other tasks.  But, whenever visuals or the user's interaction with a touch screen are important, chatbots will fail.

So, no, chatbots won't replace mobile apps.  Rather, chatbots will most likely be another tool added to any mobile app development company's toolbox, giving us all a much richer and more well-rounded way to interact with our devices.