Conversation is without a doubt the next generation of user interface, enabling us to talk naturally to computers that grow ever smaller, freeing us from keyboards and screens.
The enablers for these conversations will be our digital assistants such as Cortana, Siri, OK Google or Alexa. But their skills are limited to what they know about us and web searches. We as developers will be the ones enhancing their skills with Bots that take the function of apps in a conversational platform.
Of course, Bots can also be accessed directly from a growing number of existing chat platforms such as Skype, Facebook chat, Slack, SMS messaging and many more. Or they can be integrated into web pages to act as a virtual concierge for your company, directing customers to the offer they are looking for or answering the most frequently asked support questions.
Bots are very easy to build! Take a look at the Microsoft Bot Framework page. It consists of the Bot Builder SDK, Bot Connector, Developer Portal, and a Bot Directory. There’s also an emulator that you can use to test your Bot.
To build your Bot, the Framework provides a .NET SDK and Node.js SDK. These SDKs provide features such as dialogs and built-in prompts that make interacting with users much simpler. For those using other languages, see the framework’s REST API. The Bot Builder SDK is open source on GitHub.
To give your Bot the ability to understand the intent in natural language, you can easily connect it to our Language Understanding Intelligent Service LUIS.ai, one of our Azure Cognitive Services which let you build apps based on machine learning and powerful algorithms using just a few lines of code.