Is your company interested in offering a bot, but you don't have the capability to produce it yourself? Now, a bot platform released by Kore on Wednesday promises to help businesses use bots without crafting code or custom software.
Kore's bot platform makes it possible for companies to build bots they can control, define, and own. Companies can either use the platform to configure their own bots, or purchase bots directly from Kore. Here's what Kore's news release says the new platform offers:
Natural language processing (NLP): Kore will offer a NLP engine "pre-programmed with task and field level synonyms." It also "provides supervised learning of additional patterns, which further alleviates the technical savvy required for building and refining bots on the Kore Platform." So the bot can follow commands as well as make predictions.
Enterprise Administration and Security: "With AES 256 bit encryption, advanced single sign-on capabilities, customizable data retention options, and rich tracking and analytics, even the most regulated industries, such as healthcare and financial services, can protect sensitive information and meet compliance mandates."
Kore Bot Store: Kore's bot store is "pre-loaded with more than 130+ ready-to-use enterprise and personal bots that perform thousands of tasks." Users can search for bots and receive recommendations for which to use, based on their needs.
"For enterprise, of course, this is a very good thing," said Amit Aghara, global head of solution management at Kore, Inc. "They've obviously got some IT systems that they own. Package products, or whatever the case may be, and don't want to start from scratch. They like the fact that we've already given them a build for ServiceNow or a SAP bot. They can use that and then they can make their own adjustments on top of it."
With all the recent hype towards bots, it can be difficult to suss out what a bot platform means.
"Fundamentally, there are questions around what people think a bot platform is, in the first place," said Aghara. "People tell us that Slack's got a platform, but we would say, 'No, they don't. Slack is a destination.' You can put a bot in Slack, it can live there," Aghara said, "but it's not a bot platform."
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So what is?
"Our definition of bot is that it is conversation interface," said Aghara. "We also believe it won't be all conversations all the time. Meaning, sometimes the user may want to simply also use the UI."
How does it work? Aghara said the bot can live within the existing of the UI of your product. The goal is to build an "extra rewarding experience versus always make it a chatty conversation interface."
Kore will support a third party conversation user interface as well as provide its own. "If you want it to generate UI forms every now and then for certain parts of the interaction, you can do that. Of course, if you wanted the bot to live within existing UI, we can do that as well," said Aghara.
Kore's bots also perform tasks. You can have a user-initiated interaction to transfer money from a bank, for example. Or retrieve information, like the available account balance. Another interaction bots can have is to go into an application to find something out, like whether an expense report has been submitted for approval.
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"Human beings are inundated with a bunch of applications—these are all destinations," said Aghara. "Many of the systems with the design, in such a way that, you've got to go there. In our case, you can actually tell the bot to 'Go look into the system for me, on my behalf, and bring me the information, if it's relevant to me.' So the user doesn't have to keep checking all these different systems on his own."
This allows for a high level of personalization as well. Users can tell the bot what information to get. They can also set the information to be retrieved on a schedule. "You may say, Hope wants to review her forecasts at 9pm," said Aghara. Or you could tell the bot, "Only bring me new leads that are over $100,000."
Also, the developer doesn't have to explicitly code all the interactions. "We automatically enabled it so it can consume the API. Obviously we've got to make an API to go get this data," said Aghara. "We actually generate a conversation for you."
Kore's platform allows for the bots to be intelligent, as well. The bot could suggest something like "Here, I brought you a new lead and oh, by the way, you may want to now update the status of the leads," said Aghara.
There tends to be a large range in what bots can currently do, which is often defined by requirements from the customer, said Aghara. A banking bot can pay bills or transfer money, but it could do more—like suggest overdraft protection, and enroll customers in it if they opt in.
The new platform-as-a-service (PaaS) from Kore will launch before the end of July.
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Hope Reese has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Hope Reese is a journalist in Louisville, KY. Her writing has been featured in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Playboy, Undark Magazine, VICE, Vox, and other publications.