The increase in smartphone popularity has resulted in many developers focusing their attention toward mobile apps. Most consumers use apps for social media, games, and instant information or entertainment. Facebook, the popular social networking platform, is one of the most widely used apps on a day-to-day basis. But despite the perceived interest in apps, consumers consistently only use a handful of them. The average consumer uses just five apps 80 percent of the time they are using a smartphone or tablet. The thing consumers like most about apps is that they are typically condensed computer programs and important information is easily accessible in a user-friendly app, one that places a premium on user experience and user interface.
However, the recent creation of specialized bots are seen as the next generation of apps. Bots are simple software programs that automate tasks. Currently, people use many apps to access information or perform tasks–but the experiences are wildly divergent and require multiple apps and interfaces to complete a single task. Bots offer the ability to automate the tasks you normally do manually from a single location, both efficiently and correctly–like making appointments, ordering takeout, booking travel, fetching information and much more.
Bots are seen as an upgrade over apps. With apps, there are too many choices and too many platforms. Currently, the app market is saturated with apps that serve a similar purpose. For example, if the goal is to contact a friend, there are at least five different messaging apps that he or she could be using regularly. These include WhatsApp, GroupMe, Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage. This often causes a dilemma of what platform to connect with people on, not to mention the various social media channels. Bots aim to solve this problem by consolidating messaging apps into a single unified messaging platform.
Television apps are an even bigger deal to some consumers. Currently, each channel has its own app, and consumers do not have the ability to cycle through the lineup like they would using a traditional television remote. People who watch shows on several different channels are forced to download multiple apps, which would only get used when they wanted to watch a specific show. Bots will have the capability aggregate all television content, so consumers would rely on a single bot to access the requested program, as opposed to 20-30 apps, most of which remain unused.
Bots will also be able to improve the Internet of Things. Experts believe that it is only a matter of time before consumers see the “Internet of Apps.” This new idea would take information from apps and provide pertinent information relevant to the conversation such as a bus or train schedule, weather, showtimes, and more. Streaming and voice experiences will also become more prevalent as technology becomes “smarter” and capable of reacting and responding appropriately to human speech. While apps are safe in the short-term, bots are looming ready to transform the consumer experience into a single platform.
They have increased in both use and popularity recently because of their ability to process language and carry out relevant actions in relation to voice commands. Most people will recognize that many of the more popular artificial intelligence has improved dramatically over the past decade with the introduction of Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, and Google Now. Currently most bots are online entities that live within these online platforms, but other bots are in the process of being developed. Some of the world’s largest technology companies are the driving force behind bots. Companies such as Microsoft, Google, Slack, and Twitter already extensively use bots and are looking to further improve those technologies in the future.