Tech

Microsoft Launches Its Conversational Chatbot Builder

By Avi Ben Ezra Friday, June 19, 2020

It’s estimated that major corporations and medium-sized businesses will save a combined total of $12 billion by 2023 in customer service, human resources, and marketing operations thanks to conversational artificial intelligence (AI). Research in the field of AI and chatbot technology has given more statistical insights into how AI is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after software advancements in modern business.

AI has become a crucial part of daily business operations, and software giant Microsoft recently launched a platform dedicated to building chatbots without requiring the need for coding. It might’ve taken them some time, and the company has somewhat fallen behind in recent years, considering the fast-expanding world of AI and chatbot technology.

Conversational bot technology has brought us solutions to human problems we didn’t even know we had, and it’s for this reason that so many marketing and customer service operations are moving over to be more adjacent to modern civilization.

AI and Chatbot Technology

AI technology has become an adaptable, convenient, and most importantly, affordable replacement for basic human occupations. It’s eliminated human error and has helped improve overall production and delivery output. The transcendence from computers to social media and messaging apps has made chatbot software more adaptive to human needs. It’s now, more than ever, becoming a service provider that interacts via a chat interface or can be designed to be similar to text or voice-based versions.

Today, we find AI and chatbots in almost everything we do online, from machine translations, ordering food, or asking your phone for GPS directions are operated with the assistance of chatbot technology. The most important role chatbots play is as informational, transactional, and personal assistance bots.

How Are Chatbots Created?

A single-feature bot is composed out of a computerized language, a script compiled out of thousands of lines of code. Think of trying to write a certain symbol on your pc or laptop, and that you’ll sometimes need to use a variety of keys and numbers to generate a specific letter or symbol.

Although it’s relatively complex to write code, it’s an integral part of our online presence. Because coding is so specialized and complex, many new platforms and businesses have started to offer “no-coding bots” to assist with conversational AI desires.

Microsoft Integrates Power Virtual Agents

Because coding is a very specialized field and can consume an immense amount of time, many other companies, including Microsoft, have designed platforms where individuals and businesses can create bots without needing to code. Known as "no-coding chatbots," Microsoft recently launched Power Virtual Agents, a platform similar to ManyChat, ItsAlive, and Chatfuel, where users can now create bots without needing to code it themselves.

Though Microsoft has delivered a well-rounded platform with great integrated features, it's surprising that it was almost five years behind other market competitors.

How Does Power Virtual Agents Work?

The no-code platform harbors the power of Azure’s AI capabilities, allowing users to build bots conveniently. Users will be able to construct bots that they can add to their business systems, such as Microsoft Teams, Facebook, and others. It’s a way for smaller businesses and service providers to optimize their operations, while at the same time not having to spend thousands of dollars on creating bots.

The integration with Power Automate and Microsoft Flow will improve even more capabilities, as bots will collect and harness client data, and can be used on other platforms.

Why Has Microsoft Only Recently Launched This Service?

The main focus for MS was to create a conversational AI platform that will be affordable (around $1000 p/m), but still customer-friendly. Although MS isn’t new to conversational AI, theories over why they only recently launched their platform are still unanswered.

We can only speculate, but with platforms such as Botsify and Hubspot's Chatbot Builder that have been around for almost three years, the software giant has somewhat missed the chatbot boom, and can only hope to catch the last bit of social excitement around AI and chatbot technology.

Final Scope

We can understand that Microsoft has been a frontrunner in many ways during the AI boom. Their global influence has offered them a front-row seat in becoming a leader and visionary in anything they set out to do. They’re a trusted brand, with millions of supporters, it’s only clear that better and more advanced achievements in the field of AI will stem from the MS team.

Power Virtual Agents is a dedicated system, built with the user in mind, and perfectly positioned to become a widely popular used service by many.

About the Author


Avi Ben Ezra

Avi Ben Ezra is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Cofounder of SnatchBot and SnatchApp (Snatch Group Limited). He leads the Group’s long-term technology vision and is responsible for running all facets of the tech business which includes being the architect of the platforms and UI interfaces.