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The Current State of Chatbots and Conversational AI across Europe and Africa – A Catalogue | by Angus Addlesee | Apr, 2021

Speakers

Title: Social Conversational AI
By: Alexandros Papangelis, Senior Applied Scientist at Amazon Alexa AI

Message: In order to make conversational AI suitable for social interactions we need to work on knowledge-grounded conversations, new dialogue policies, and commonsense reasoning.

Title: Using Voice Games as a Marketing Tool
By: Karol Stryja, CCO of utter.one and Michal Stanislawek, CEO of HearMe.AI

Message: Voice games can be grown organically and used as marketing tools for brand awareness. There also needs to be more tools that support various European languages, like Polish.

Title: Utilising Avatars to Create Social Presence Online
By: Gregor Hofer, CEO of Speech Graphics

Message: Emerging technologies can generate vocal cues as well as gestures and expressions, to convey socially richer information, which ultimately creates the perception of social presence.

Title: Conversation-Driven Development
By: Alan Nichol, CTO and Co-Founder of Rasa

Message: It is impossible to anticipate all the things your user could say but conversation-driven development, a blueprint for applying conversational AI practices, can be used to develop AI assistants that continuously improve over time.

Title: Designing Voice Interfaces for Kids
By: Luke Janissen, Conversational Designer at Greenhouse BV

Message: Many adults find it ‘awkward’ talking to a voice assistant, but this is not the case for children. Child-focused voice apps need to can therefore be used to educate children, while remaining fun, if designed correctly.

Title: Safety for Conversational AI
By: Verena Rieser, Professor of Conversational AI at Heriot-Watt University

Message: Commercial conversational AI systems rely heavily on hand-written rules and templates, whereas research systems apply neural end-to-end methods for response generation. These neural response generation systems raise safety concerns due to the lack of control.

Title: Building Blocks for Bots: How to Design and Orchestrate Complex Bots
By: Sascha Wolter, Chief Advisor of Conversational AI at Deutsche Bahn

Message: There are several conversational patterns which help to tackle complex interactions beyond simple FAQs. These patterns are also reusable, creating a kit that includes process models, advanced conversational designs, and creative technical approaches.

Title: Use Cases and Challenges for Voice Interactions in the Auto Industry
By: Jesús Martin, Senior VUI Designer at Amazon Alexa Auto and Shyamala Prayaga, Digital Assistants Product Owner at Ford

Message: Voice assistants are extremely beneficial in the Automotive industry, allowing people to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. This environment poses a set of new challenges however.

Title: Conversational AI – Beyond the Magic
By: Maaike Groenewege, Conversation Designer at Convocat

Message: Deep learning will not instantly create perfect chatbots for you, it requires a lot of human effort in reality.

Title: Conversation Design Best Practices – Enterprise for Customer Support
By: Greg Bennett, Conversation Design Principal at Salesforce

Message: The Einstein Bot Builder can help make your chatbot design process quick and easy (in English).

Title: Five Things to Consider When Investing in Chatbots
By: Anand Tamboli, Author and Speaker at Anand Tamboli & Co

Message: Conversational AI is a substantial investment but they are not simply technology projects, they have larger impacts on other parts of your business, so it is vital to ask the right questions and invest in the right solution for you.

Title: Investing in Bots – Product Development Circle
By: Casper Guldager, Manager and Head of Sales at KPMG NewTech

Message: Successful investments into chatbots can enable organisations to deliver on the future needs of customers and result in an operation with close to zero cost of scale.

Title: Getting a Job in Conversational AI
By: Allys Parsons, Conversational AI Recruiter and Co-Founder of Techire AI

Message: Conversational AI can be a bit of a minefield when it comes to figuring out the right roles to search for, the skills to highlight, and the salary to expect.

Title: Expanding the Chatbot Capabilities to the Telephone Channel
By: Livio Pugliese, CEO North America at Interactive Media

Message: Digital channels now carry the majority of customer service interactions, but the traditional phone channel is still busy. Integrating chatbots with the telephone is worthwhile but not trivial, with several obstacles in terms of technology and conversational experience.

Title: Chatbots for Customer Service – Saving Money and Time
By: Sahar Gebreil, Chatbot Specialist at the Federal Tax Authority in Dubai

Message: Chatbots allow companies to regain time which they can use to grow their business.

Title: Voice Assistants as a Brand’s Digital Front Door – 5 Key Learnings
By: Christoph Esslinger, Managing Director at VUI.Agency

Message: In the coming decade, we will see voice assistants becoming the main entry point into a brand’s universe. The ability to just speak out your wish or question to a trusted virtual representative will become the starting point of a user’s journey.

Title: The Omnichannel Solution – Chatbots and Voice
By: Gary Williams, Director of Sales and Consultancy for UK and Ireland at SPITCH and Liam Ryan, Sales Director at Creative Virtual

Message: Seamless omnichannel support (advancing beyond a multichannel approach) allows users to type, tap, and talk across channels – never having to start over as they begin interactions in one channel and continue it in another.

Title: Voice Interaction in Mixed Reality
By: Matthias Wölfel, Professor at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences

Message: Speech is considered the most natural way to communicate, but experiments show that there isn’t always a benefit to the user in virtual reality. In mixed reality however, voice interaction can be incredibly helpful.

Title: The Proven Conversation Design Workflow
By: Hans van Dam, Co-Founder & Dean of the Conversation Design Institute

Message: By following a good conversational design workflow, your various teams can unify the best of technology, psychology, and language to unlock the potentials of conversational AI.

Title: The Path to True Transformation with CAI
By: Kane Simms, CEO of VUX World

Message: Conversational AI is often stuck within the development phase, as organisations struggle to scale it into business as usual. Scaling while maintaining a conversational AIs quality is possible though.

Title: Let’s Free Humans from Boring Tasks
By: Andres Pulgarin, CEO of BotsLovers

Message: Many people spend their days answering the same customer questions on the phone, through chat systems, through social networks, email, etc… We can use conversational AI to take these tedious questions, leaving humans with more time to work on the interesting tasks.

Title: Conversational AI – Unlocking the Future of Africa
By: Johan Steyn, Senior Manager at IQbusiness

Message: The African tech industry has seen a remarkable surge over the past few years and conversational AI will play a crucial role in the development of commerce, education, wellness, and healthcare in Africa.

Title: Impact of Deep Learning Based Chatbots in Reducing Attrition
By: Raul Villamarin Rodriguez, Dean of the School of Business at Woxsen University

Message: Employee engagement and retention can be very challenging, especially if their work involves repeated tedious tasks. By incorporating chatbots into your workflow, you can reduce the burden from your staff and reduce attrition.

Title: Conversational Interfaces in an Insurance Company
By: Kirill Elsukov, Head of the Innovation Lab at PIB Cardif

Message: Innovation in big companies is known to be very challenging but Cardif Russia integrated a chatbot into its websites and developed a conversational agent that serves 40% of their call centre’s incoming calls.

Title: Contextual Voice Experiences
By: Mohamed Hassan, Senior Voice AI Experience Architect at VUI Agency

Message: Users now constantly expect voice assistants to have better speech recognition and understand them better, but contextual design can really enhance future voice experiences.

Title: Operating a Chatbot on Your Own – From an Idea to a Data Machine
By: Henry Ginsburg, Conversation Designer at the University of the People

Message: If you are developing a chatbot on your own, then you need to: (1) plan and find the resources you need, (2) map and plan out the conversations, (3) launch and be ready to fix unexpected issues, and (4) continuously monitor and update for long term maintenance.

Title: Inclusive Conversation Design
By: Shyamala Prayaga, Digital Assistants Product Owner at Ford

Message: The voice assistant industry has boomed in recent years, and is expected to continue to grow significantly. There is a lot of focus on tools and resources to improve these systems for the majority of users, but we should also consider making them inclusive for all.

Title: Using Chatbots to Fight the COVID-19 Infodemic
By: Andrew Bredenkamp, Chairman at Translators without Borders and Rodrigue Bashizi, Community Engagement Officer at Translators without Borders

Message: There is a huge amount of information surrounding COVID-19 and it is difficult to keep up. In order to fight this “infodemic” with a chatbot, it must be able to have an engaging two-way conversation in several languages.

Title: Introducing Women in Voice, a community for women and diverse people working in or pivoting to the voice technology space.
By: Romina Pankoke, Director of Chapters at Women in Voice

Message: Women in Voice has been expanding vibrantly since it was founded in 2018. It now has a strong global community with 20 chapters in 15 countries on 5 continents.

Title: Chatbot Ecosystems Overview and Investing in Bots
By: Resham Sivnarain, Digital Technologist at Nedbank

Message: Chatbot ecosystems have become more and more interconnected and complex. These ecosystems are driven by a blend of customer needs and innovation, they need to be aligned with business needs for overall success.

Title: Develop a Google Action with Action Builder – Example for Kruger National Park
By: Menno Zevenbergen, Head of Conversational AI at Greenhouse BV

Message: Google released “Action Builder” in 2020 which can be used to build voice apps on Google Assistant with the latest technology.

Title: Making Technology Personal
By: Rishal Hurbans, Author and Co-Founder of Viszen.tech

Message: Technology has become an extension of us all, and we are teaching machines with almost every interaction we have. This data can be used to develop more personalised services.

Title: Conversation Driven Development
By: Eden Constantino, Machine Learning Engineer at the Disruption Lab

Message: It is important to have a user-centric development approach to ensure digital solutions in Africa are not just imported from other continents. The people in the UK and the people in Namibia are likely to use different phrases for example, so an imported solution will not perform as well.

Title: Representation and Inclusivity in Chatbot Solutions
By: Tumelo Setlaba, Co-Founder and Head of Operations of Enlabeler and Esther Hoogstad, Co-Founder and CEO of Enlabeler

Message: Local language datasets are rare so need to be prioritised through collaboration and community in order to ensure future voice assistants are more inclusive.

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