5 popular frameworks for chatbot development
Chatbots have steadily risen in popularity over the past few years – over the last year and a half or so in particular. This is in part due to a rising need for businesses to improve customer experiences and reduce operational costs while handling overwhelming inbound contact requests around the clock. The chatbot trend has further been fueled by better and better AI solutions, widely available (and effective) NLP templates and resources, and vastly improved chatbot building frameworks that allow for the easy and effective development of chatbot applications.
Recent studies have highlighted IBM Watson as the first-choice framework for building chatbots, followed by the Microsoft Bot Framework, Facebook’s Wit.ai framework, then Chatfuel, and finally Pandorabots. We’ll talk a little about each one below.
Watson is, without overstating it, simply amazing. It can understand all forms of both structured and unstructured data, it can interact naturally with people, and it can learn and reason, all on its own. With the help of Watson, you can analyze and interpret different types of data, even images, audio and video, and use that to create custom chatbot responses based on AI decisions regarding a user’s personality, tone, emotion, and requirements. It can engage in dialog with users across mobile devices and messaging platforms, thereby enabling natural conversations between your company, your apps, and your users.
At ibm.com/watson, you can learn more about the cutting-edge chatbot and AI work the folks at IBM are doing.
Microsoft Bot Framework
The MS bot framework can be used to build chatbots that interact with users naturally across different applications. From website chat to SMS texting, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack, and other services, this framework provides open-source bot-building SDKs to build sophisticated AI decision trees to power your chatbot. Because users interact in different places, having a chatbot that can be easily integrated with a wide variety of apps across different services is very important. MS chatbots can be easily connected to these apps and services with no additional coding. Finally, the Azure bot service allows for the rapid development of intelligent bots that are run in a server-less environment, and development is cost-friendly as you only have to pay for the resources you use.
At dev.botframework.com, you can find all of the documentation, directories, and instructions you need to launch a chatbot built on Microsoft technologies.
Facebook launched its own bot engine in early 2016. With tight integration and developer support aimed at creating useful chatbots for use in Facebook Messenger, Wit.ai bots can learn about user preferences, needs, and pick up sentiments and emotions from data contained in user profiles across the vast Facebook social network. With over a billion users, Facebook does not, as such, require any bot development platform beyond their own system, and Wit.ai has seen the creation of thousands of chatbots in use by a very large number of stores, service companies, and businesses on the Facebook and Messenger platforms. Wit.ai has all of the details on how to get started on your very own chatbot.
Chatfuel is perfect for the enterprising entrepreneur who may be lacking in technical or coding skills. Because no programming is required, and because it supports drag-and-drop creation of inputs and desired outputs, Chatfuel has been the chatbot development framework of choice for everyone from British Airways, TechCrunch and Adidas to BuzzFeed, MTV, Uber, and more.
To set things up, you get started with the creation of conversational rules on the Chatfuel dashboard. Your chatbot automatically recognizes common phrases from users and uses pre-defined answers and responses to carry on a conversation.
Chatfuel can be used in media settings to create rich and frictionless user experiences, by news companies for FAQs and customized news streams, by sports teams for team engagement, game and team info, and more, and in customer services, to enable customers to quickly and easily check and confirm service selections, make reservations, or find products. Learn more by visiting chatfuel.com.
Pandorabots is the last chatbot framework in this list, but it is by no means a framework with limited impact. Used with Slack, Twitter, Skype, WhatsApp, and more, it has a wide range of features, from customization of AIML content for any specific market, to the ability for new users to access and deploy the same content libraries used in already-existing and award-winning chatbot applications.
Pandorabots can be programmed to remember relevant user details and to evolve over time, and there are also useful natural language speech interfaces that can be used to connect different devices or services. Pandorabots are easily deployable using the Pandorabots API, and it also supports multiple languages. You can get started for free by visiting pandorabots.com.
Chatbots are already causing waves of change in everything from customer service and marketing to social media, online payments, and even recruitment. With the backing of large tech companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and others, not to mention the mass adoption of messaging as a preferred means of communication for individuals and businesses alike, we can expect further leaps and bounds in the AI used in chatbots, as well as their ability to mimic and match real human interaction.