From January 9 to January 18 people from 65 countries voted 5,646 times to select the best chatbots in each of these categories: Travel, Productivity, Social, Commerce, Entertainment, and News in the Chatbottle Chatbot Awards (Editors notes: Yours truly was one of the nominators.) Fabricio Teixeira UX at R/GA looks at the process and winners.
Need to book a hotel on the go, or a friendly dinner recommendation while exploring a new city? There’s a bot for that.
In fact, there are now chatbots for all kinds of things, from weather updates to health advice, as the popularity of smartphone messaging apps driven by artificial intelligence grows. Several travel-related bots have sprung up in recent months, providing services like bookings and tips for activities, with a robotic touch.
The technology is young, and while most of these chatbots have yet to become viable alternatives to existing travel planning options like Trip Advisor and traditional guides, it could be only a matter of time before our smartphone-obsessed culture embraces booking by text. Here is what three of the more interesting options have to offer so far:
In its effort to improve citizen engagement, the city of Mesa, Ariz., will soon offer interactive texting for some of its services. Residents will be able to send a message via SMS and get answers to about three dozen frequently asked questions, as well as check and pay utility bills.
“We want to communicate with the public in ways that they’re used to communicating,” CIO Travis Cutright said. Because we understand that people’s time is important to them, we want to get so how “government out to the citizens when they want and how they want it.”
When the SMS chatbot goes live in June, city residents will be able to send text messages asking myriad questions, such as when government offices are open and how much they owe for certain services, and the answers to 30 to 40 other frequently asked questions.