The Era of Evolution for Conversational AI

Conversation AI-powered digital avatars would act as personal shopping assistants or stylists for customers, assisting them in a quick, seamless virtual shopping journey, owing to the lower latency of 5G

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By Saptak Bardhan

Pexel

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Artificial intelligence, popularly known as AI, is a branch of computer sciences relating to building smart machines capable of performing tasks that would, otherwise, require human intelligence. Technology has been on an upward trajectory with the potential of India's technology services industry achieving $300-350 billion in annual revenue by 2025, if it can exploit the fast-emerging business potential in cloud, AI, cybersecurity and other emerging technologies, according to a report by McKinsey.

AI is not limited to the world of science fiction. As a technology, AI-driven chatbots are revolutionizing business processes in multiple industries, while also impacting several aspects of people's lives. Various markets are embracing AI to be smart in today's always-on world. Humans are not the only ones alluring buyers and providing after-sales support in modern commerce. AI-backed chatbots becoming ubiquitous. Human psychological attributes are being used to program lifelike chatbots that align with the empathy spectrum of humans. The futuristic chatbots can provide expert customer support and effectively market products. Human behavioural imprints are used to evolve artificial chatbots and machine learning modalities power the chatbots to exhibit a nearly human-level interaction.

"We believe that while the technology is being upgraded, even with the current tech stack and models, a lot can be achieved. The majority of it is not about 'what is available' but 'how to use it'. At Rezo.ai, we have a healthy split between first-level queries, complex use-cases as well as end-to-end resolutions. A great enabler for us has been our focus on data engineering and not only on AI modelling. Our USP is the way we use data, KPIs we look at and business insights we bring out," said Rashi Gupta, co-founder, Rezo.ai.

The global chatbot market size was valued at $525.7 million in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 25.7 per cent from 2022 to 2030. The market is expected to be driven by the increasing adoption of customer service activities among enterprises to reduce operating costs, according to several analysts.

The 5G impact

Prime Minister Narendra Modi green-lit the advent of 5G in early October. Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel would make the new generation telecom service available in four cities and eight cities, respectively, soon. 5G would not only affect the network coverage area or the high-speed Internet, but also conversational AI.

5G would enable widespread access to video content allowing brands to engage with users in a more interactive manner. It would also offer the necessary bandwidth for the success of the metaverse while propagating the adoption of 3D human-like digital avatars, enabling immersive customer experiences right from shopping to gaming to virtual learning. Conversation AI-powered digital avatars would act as personal shopping assistants or stylists for customers, assisting them in a quick, seamless virtual shopping journey, owing to the lower latency of 5G. The technology would also give way to greater augmented reality and virtual reality penetration, which can enable providers to connect with customers and provide them with immersive experiences.

"5G will increase the pace of digitalization, significantly contributing to service and product innovation across industries. It will be a game-changer in creating enhanced user experiences across industries, from immersive mobile gaming to photo-realistic virtual try-on to increased adoption of applications like contactless payments and mobile wallets. Customers' expectations for accessibility, personalization, and quicker resolutions will only rise with the continuous 5G rollout," said Rashid Khan, CPO and co-founder, Yellow.ai.

The counter-argument

There have been newer developments in the space. However, people want to look away from IVRs and chatbots in an attempt to find alternatives. The popular industry-wide opinion is a strong testament to the tech failing to meet market expectations. The core problem statement is still fundamentally strong: people love personalization. There has been a shift in viewing conversational AI not just as a way to reduce cost but more as a growth engine.

"This popular opinion has come into vogue because things keep on evolving and the same is the case with technology. It was 2-3 years back when chatbots were the buzzword and IVRs were the most innovative way of handling telephonic queries. Now are the days when people are adaptive to a fast-paced life, where they want their queries to be addressed instantly, businesses need proactive measures to approach their customers because of neck-to-neck competition," said Sarvagya Mishra, co-founder, Superbot.

SLU, NLP and ASR are technologies, and are bound to upgrade continuously because they are the backbone of conversational AI. The technologies are required to be upgraded to upgrade conversational AI agents. The technology is provided by a third party and upgrading it is a never-ending process, helping in getting the maximum output of the tech.

Approximately 88 per cent of Indian enterprises expect to boost their artificial intelligence investments in 2022 compared with last year, according to a survey by Deloitte.

"The applications and the potential value-add with SLU, NLP and ASR increases. Existing applications will get an upgrade, but the major difference will come in new opportunities that will arise based on the upgraded capabilities that will solve harder problems and deliver faster results," said Nikhil Gupta, co-founder, LimeChat.

Chatbots are making an impact across every industry and operational domain — from optimizing manufacturing operations to inventory and supply chain management. The biggest impact has been delivered in the segment of customer service, which conversational AI has completely transformed. Technological development leads the sector in a new direction and new use cases. Conversational AI has transformed modern commerce and with 5G's onset, conversational AI would be exploring newer avenues.

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