The developer conference season is finally behind us: WWDC, I/O, BUILD and F8. Now it’s time to exhale and look back at the concepts tossed our way to see if any of them are actually worth pursuing. Specifically, Bots—one of the most oft-discussed trends. Facebook’s Messenger has Bots. Amazon introduced a “Skills” Bot into its Echo/Tap/Echo Dot products. Microsoft created a couple dozen APIs for its Bot Framework to integrate with Cortana and Skype. Google’s chat Bots integrate with Google Assistant and Google Home. And finally, Apple introduced their Bot via SiriKit (though across only 6 domains, with presumably more to come).
Now, if you’re building consumer-facing use cases, that’s a lot of platforms to have to develop for. Each with different languages, frameworks and UI/input elements. Worse yet, marketers will insist IT build these bots for every platform. Why? “Because our competitors are doing it.”
The technology is intriguing, but keeping up with so many platforms is one heck of a tax to place on Development and Testing. Don’t forget, they still have all those other apps to maintain along with a raft of other app ideas (all identified and prioritized in our App Roadmap).
Luckily, for those of us dealing with internal-facing apps, the way forward is a little clearer. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind should you decide to get started:
Bot technology is intriguing. They have the potential to create more ‘natural’ interactions and better apps. But most enterprises still have a long way to go in crafting a mobile strategy—let alone executing against it—and delivering real value to the enterprise. So keep your eye on Bots, run a POC or two, but don’t pass up opportunities to build apps that matter in the meantime. Consistently deliver value and the budget for ‘fun’ stuff will still be there. Remember, bots are like 2 seconds old. We’re still way early in the cycle. There’s nothing wrong with letting others suffer the hard lessons as we focus on our more pressing priorities. Want to discuss the rise of Bots (or any other emerging technology) with a Propelics strategist? Check out our Emerging Technologies Kickstart to get started.
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