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What Can We Expect From Conversational AI In 2021 | by Adrian Thompson | Dec, 2020

Yes we are going to see continued growth in conversational AI in 2021. It’s predicted that 1.4 billion people will use chatbots on a regular basis with $5 billion projected to be invested in chatbots by 2021. Voice assistant use will also grow. The use of voice assistants is expected to triple by 2023 (juniper research) and 50% of businesses will spend more on conversational than mobile in 2021.

97% of all respondents said that they plan to continue or increase their c-commerce spending in the future. Brands are likely to start considering how to leverage this trend and integrate messaging apps within their sales and marketing strategies.

Basically, it lets consumers buy products or services by simply using their voice. However Voice Commerce can also be part of a much wider customer journey, the transaction may not have to occur via voice. For example a consumer might have seen an ad for a product and asks Alexa about its price. The user then decides to buy it a few days later on the Amazon website. That’s why Voice Commerce involves much more than an isolated transaction process via voice.

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Voice is a big deal, the number of digital voice assistants in use worldwide is estimated to reach 8 billion by 2023.

Already smart speaker users:

  • research products
  • add items to their shopping list
  • track a package
  • make a purchase
  • provide ratings or reviews
  • contact support
  • reorder items

In 2021 there will be more Alexa in skill or Google Home action purchases as more retailers will leverage this medium; British supermarket chain Ocado has led this by example.

There will also be a continued rise in the enablement of product purchases:
Amazon has put a lot of time and effort into creating a seamless customer experience with its Echo devices.

These new technologies include very large language models: The Meena model has 2.6 billion parameters and is trained on 341 GB of text (1)so these models make huge computational demands. In 2021 as compute power continues to drop in price there will be a rise in availability of this open-domain chatbot technology.

In 2020 chatbots took an informational role in many areas of the crisis; we covered a Covid support chatbot back in April. This looks set to continue in 2021.

We will also see chatbot technology being utilised in different ways. Particularly in an Agent assist role, where chatbots will listen to call-center conversations and provide advice, information or even responses to operatives in real-time.

(1) https://ai.googleblog.com/2020/01/towards-conversational-agent-that-can.html)

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