The next platform: conversation

Forget the GUI. The Conversational User Interface, CUI, is here. Language is the new way we engage with computers and bots are the tech that’s modernizing our services. The quirks of current user experiences will be replaced with a more natural, sticky UX with a low barrier to adoption: conversation. For users, who spend 80% of their time on mobile in messaging apps, language is more intuitive, faster and accurate than an app interface that requires clicks, downloads, and scrolls. Language is how we get things done. Browsing the web will become a user simply shouting into the internet, while bots work in the background to connect the fragmented services that proliferated under the app store model to return just the right information.

The big (data) picture
This next wave of intelligent tech feeds on data, so, naturally the tools you need to build modern experiences are in the Cortana Intelligence Suite: a monthly subscription to big data, machine learning, and advanced analytics tools.

The Microsoft Bot Framework is one of these intelligent services. It’s a toolkit that provides developers with what they need to build and connect clever bots. Also under the Cortana Intelligence Suite sits a bevy of 20+ Cognitive Services that can be integrated with bots to give them special abilities to recognize human interactions and intent in vision, speech, language, and more.

Begin building brilliant, boast-worthy bots with these Bot Framework features

  • Get access to everything you need to build bots that are based on .NET / C#, Node.js or REST API via the open source Bot Builder SDK in GitHub which includes automatic translation to 30+ languages, user and conversation state tracking, and pre-built models to recognize common entities and requests.
  • Move beyond a command line style UI with rich interactions such as images, Skype calling, cards, and buttons. Where not supported natively these features are text-rendered.
  • Determine a user’s likely intent based on a model created and trained by you via integration of the LUIS (Language Understanding Intelligence Service) API.
  • Debug and test your bots locally in the emulator with easy to use JSON.
  • Configure your bot to supported channels including SMS, Office 365 mail, Slack, GroupMe, Telegram, Messenger, and Kik.
  • Use your Microsoft account to register and create a profile for your bot in the Bot Framework Developer Portal. All bots registered are auto-configured to work with Skype and the Web.
  • Have your bot discovered and used by others by submitting it for review to be registered in the public Bot Directory.

Cool, huh. Lost for words? The Murphy Bot will help you find an image when a picture will say it better. Interested in reading more on bots? There’s a bot for that too: Summarize gives a quick overview of any web page. And if you’re still a little unclear, there’s even a bot to explains bots!

Join the 30,000 developers using the Microsoft Bot Framework. We’ll keep an eye out for your Loebner prize entry!

- Anna (@anna_christo), and The NZ MSDN Team (@msdevnz).

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