Thursday, August 25, 2016

Six Things About bots You Should Know

BOTS , for sure, is the latest and greatest derivative of SMAC. It is imperative to get acquainted with it. I am discussing few key things you should know about BOTS.

Need help getting somewhere? Worried that you’ll forget about that super-important seminar next week? Just looking for a way to destress? Never fear, the bots are here!

This is clearly a world unlike  any other, with a massive reliance on tech, and this will only increase due to bots. Chances are that you’ve probably been using bots without even knowing it.

Bots and the people developing them are only getting smarter, and people are beginning to trust them more. Bots have evolved from performing mundane tasks to more complex ones.

Here are six things you need to know about bots:

What are they?

Bots are a short form for Robots. Bots are automated programs which run on scripts and perform various functions assigned to them. Think of them as online robots or e-robots. Bots can be used for both conversational as well as operational purposes.

The internet is the realm of the bots, and chatbots rule the kingdom of bots. Chatbots are bots which are scripted to interact with people and respond to their commands. They are either built for chatting, performing meaningful functions, or a combination of the two. They communicate with the human through textual or auditory methods often appearing to users as another user instead of a bot.

What are they good at?
It is not easy to build useful bots and we still have more bots which can perform only basic tasks. Useful bots are usually more efficient and faster than humans, saving time for the company. Like the internet spam and useful mail, useful bots are primed to completely alter the workplace environment, if they haven’t already or overwhelm us with their stupidity.

Bots are the ‘in-thing’ right now because their applications in today’s world are almost limitless. There is a multitude of actions that bots can perform which would either be too cumbersome, difficult or repetitive for a normal human to do. By providing quicker service and responding to customers faster than humans, bots can eliminate the long phone or chat queues that exist today.

Grading different types of bots
We can grade the bots into 5 categories based on their states and abilities.

B: You send a text to the bot and its replies back. The bot does not store any information about you.
B+: They can persist some amount of information about you. E.g. name, ID, phone number etc. These bots then can help you choose from a menu of options akin to a telephone voice-calling system.
A-: These bots are more intelligent and can remember previous conversations and prompt user to elicit more questions and render accurate answers.
A: These are the butler bots which are dedicated to you. Not only do they know your preferences but, can also remind you in case something is overlooked.
A+: The future.
Bots can also be divided into two types: Push bots start the interaction with you, whereas pull bots require you to begin the conversation.

Popular bots
There are many bots that exist today, and they are used for many different purposes from simple conversation to organizing a year’s worth of documents.

Clever bot

Take Cleverbot for example. It has an AI interface that is trained to recognize what a human being is trying to say and then respond in the appropriate manner. Cleverbot communicates with many humans at the same time and analyses the various responses to come up with a suitable reply, with mixed results.

Cleverbot offer banter and entertainment. It is simply a way to pass the time, but there are also bots which can perform actions.


Google uses bots to find relevant articles and information that the user has searched for. The bot also offers you suggestions to help you get what you want as soon as possible. Google’s bot is a webcrawler as it scours the internet to find and update search results.


There are bots on Twitter that have been programmed to automatically respond to users with a certain reply.  There are bots that correct spellings, dispel popular myths or simply converse with. Twitterbots might give you sports scores or random GIFs which, albeit amusing, probably do not help you in your field of work.


The bots at Slack are geared towards work.  The Slackbots can store data and save so you can access it at a later date. Slack can also integrate with other web-tools such as Dropbox and Trello to make it easy to communicate between channels. Emails are a thing of old.

These work-oriented Slackbots are both push and pull. The advantages of pull-type bots is that you only call them up when necessary. They help drown out irrelevant topics that might distract you from work.


Apple’s Siri is a bot that does both work and play. It can hold a conversation as well as mark important dates and set alarms on your devices. You can find directions to a location, and also have Siri play a song along the way.

Some bots even use algorithms to predict sports scores and solve math problems.

Just think about the nearly infinite amount of things that bots could do. The possibilities are endless.

Technology behind bots 

Bots are written scripts. Some are more useful than others, depending on the functions that they have to perform. The programmers who develop bot scripts are called scripters and the process is called botting.

Most bots are written in AIML or Artificial Intelligence Markup Language. At the front end, the Application Programming Interface (API) of the bots is built to specify how the software components should interact with each other. Embedding powerful Algorithms or an uploadable/downloadable knowledge base on the back end is equally important. There are also Avatars which can help reduce the amount of programming and voice or speech synthesizers. You can also choose some of the popular DIY tools like

The future? 

The forecast for the future is ‘bots, bots and more bots’. Automated technology is ever increasing in popularity with the only real demerit being the concerns over security breaches.

Humans just cannot compete with these machines, and one worry is that these bots will steal jobs which previously belonged to humans. However, this has happened since the dawn of time.

Writing got replaced by the typewriter, which in turn got replaced by keyboards. The hard copy of a newspaper has been rendered obsolete in many first-world countries because of the rise of news coverage on TV and the internet. Sites such as Facebook, Reddit and Twitter have now become some of the go-to news sites. There are also bots which can write the news by themselves, eliminating the need for manual writing!

The point is that even though significant things have happened to our world over the past 30-odd years, people have managed to adapt to them. We as human beings will evolve to this rise of the planet of the bots accordingly.

The bots have arrived, and there’s nothing standing in the way of their total global domination.  

Jayakumar Radhakrishnan is a practicing SMAC consultant. He has worked with Big Enterprises, Small businesses and Startups and helped formulate their SMAC strategy. He is also the Co-founder of OptiSol Business Solutions, a global provider of SMAC Solutions.

Digital Transformation – Cultural or Technological?

Digital Transformation
Digital Transformation
Just take a look around you at the office. Chances are you’ll see a dozen pieces of technology that have quietly taken over aspects of your everyday life. The Phone, Laptop, or Office ID Badge. The Expansion of the application of technology is what Digital Transformation is all about. There hasn’t been a Digital Disruption this big since the Dot-Com Bubble.

Business processes are being accelerated to involve technology in almost everything – Paying Bills, Maintaining Accounts, Sending Documents, and even communicating with staff. The whole concept of business revolves all around the customer. They are the most important part of the business.

However, businesses wanting to inculcate a Digital Lifestyle are having to overcome financial and infrastructure-related problems apart from cultural challenges. There has been an influx of new technology that companies are trying to integrate within their business, and a clear  should be mapped out and transformation goals laid out.

The biggest Transformation will be from within. We will explain this, but let’s first understand the three stages of digital technology utilization in an enterprise:
digital technology digital transformation

According to the study, 88% or organizations are undergoing digital transformation. They also found that successful companies are focusing more on the Social Media, mobile and search aspects of their business, showing SMAC’s pivotal play. 

Read our article on SMAC.

If companies are required to undergo digital transformation to deliver results, then so be it. It is clear that enterprises are undergoing a digital transformation from the above survey. There could be one of two reasons for this metamorphosis: Technology or Culture.

Technology vs Culture

Companies want to become digitally literate. The digital shift could be a strategic one as maturing digital organizations build skills to realize their strategy and what they want to accomplish. If the shift helps them better achieve their goals, then why not?

It’s not a technology revolution, but more of an evolution with regards to technology, as we are changing its applicable uses. Many archaic things are being discarded (Fax machines) or altered (mobile) so they can be used in our world today. Does this mean that during digital transformation, the old and outdated will be transformed back into relevancy? Possibly, yes. One such example is telephone booths in Britain being transformed into Wi-Fi hotspots.

Doesn’t this imply that technology usage has increased simply because of the introduction of technology? Not really. Many companies were hesitant to use tech when it was first introduced. This is hard to fathom now, since almost every company is trying to squeeze gains from technology now. That’s where the answer lies. A few companies took a bold leap of faith with regards to tech and it paid off for them. Now the rest look to follow.

A joint study from Deloitte and MIT Sloan Management Review states that digital transformation is a result of cultural changes rather than technological ones. It says that risk-taking with regards to digital transformation has become a cultural norm and that companies are seeking to gain a competitive advantage through digital advancement.

Nowadays, companies are left with little choices. They can either try to form their own path, adopt the techniques of their competitors, or get left behind in the dust. Of these three, adaptation seems the least risky. Small and medium-sized corporations around the world are hence following the lead of innovative giants like Google, Facebook, and Tesla with the assumption that they know best. The technology for electric vehicle is over 100 years old and JavaScript’s basic elements of HTML/CSS were developed two decades back. The environment only changed once the leaders started using tech to run different aspects of their business.  All this points to a cultural shift. Technology being introduced didn’t alter much.

Ultimately, digital transformation isn’t really about technology. It is about how these pieces of tech are integrated within a company to improve performance. You can have all the fancy hardware, devices and software in the world, but if you don’t know how to utilize them properly, then you won’t go anywhere.

The present day scenario dictates that companies either transform digitally or get left behind. Don’t fight it, embrace it. Get on board and get with the program. Adapt, evolve and transform your business because the digital culture is the best vehicle to propel your company onward and upward.

Friday, September 5, 2014

YouTube Keyword Tool is Dead: Replaced by AdWords Display Planner Tool!

If you are trying to use the YouTube keyword tool, you will be disappointed. On searching for the tool, you will be sent to a YouTube 404 page not found page. Google has removed the free keyword tool and now suggests using the Display Planner’s AdWords for video keyword suggestions. To access the Display Planner, users must have an AdWords account.

Google alerted users that the tool would be disabled on September 1st. The one thing which is quite odd is that the old keyword tool page does not tell marketers how to get to the display planner but displays a 404 error.

Display Planner will take some time in the adjustment as marketers have been used to the YouTube keyword tool. It’s no longer as easy as entering a set of keywords and pressing a button.

To access the Digital Planner, all you need to do is log into your AdWords account and go to the Display Planner, enter one or several keywords and hit Get Ad Group Ideas. Here, you will be looking at keywords for video as well as see keywords under the“Individual targeting ideas”tab.


Monday, July 22, 2013

YouTube Channel Stats now Appearing on Google+ Pages Dashboard

Google+ team has officially announced the addition of YouTube channel states in the Google+ Pages Dashboard. It was only a few days ago, that new Google Dashboard was introduced to make the page management simpler.

The new Dashboard will now let managers easily access their:

=> AdWords Express
=> Google Offers
=> Google+ Notifications
=> YouTube Channel Statistics

YouTube statistics will include details of total subscribers, views, new subscriptions, and minutes watched. A link to their YouTube channel account will also be provided so that managers can get detailed information.

To view YouTube channel statistics, you will have to link the Google+ Page with YouTube channel. Visit the advanced account settings, click "connect with Google+ page" and you will be given the option of creating a Google+ page with a different name or using your YouTube channel name.

While announcing the update, Pavni Diwanji also stated that more updates related to connecting more Google products with Google+ will be coming soon.