What is a Chatbot?

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What is a Chatbot and How to Use It for Your Business

The evolution of artificial intelligence is now in full swing and chatbots are only a faint splash on a huge wave of progress. Today the number of users of messaging apps like WhatsApp, Slack, Skype and their analogs is skyrocketing, Facebook Messenger alone has more than 1.2 billion monthly users. With the spread of messengers, virtual chatterbots that imitate human conversations for solving various tasks are becoming increasingly in demand.Chinese WeChat bots can already set medical appointments, call a taxi, send money to friends, check in for a flight and many many other.

Online chatbots save time and efforts by automating customer support. Gartner forecasts that by 2020, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human. However, the opportunites provided by chatbot systems go far beyond giving responses to customers’ inquiries. They are also used for other business tasks, like collecting information about users, helping to organize meetings and reducing overhead costs. There is no wonder that size of the chatbot market is growing exponentially.

Of course, it is not so simple to create an interactive agent that the user will really trust. That’s why IM bots have not replaced all the couriers, doctors and the author of these lines. In this article, instead of talking about the future of chatbots, we will give you a short excursion into the topic of chatbots, how they work, how they can be employed and how difficult it is to create one yourself.

What is chatbot and what is it for?

According to Oxford Dictionaries, a chatbot is

“A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.”

It is an assistant that communicates with us through text messages, a virtual companion that integrates into websites, applications or instant messengers and helps entrepreneurs to get closer to customers. Such a bot is an automated system of communication with users.

Why does a business need chatbots? There are reasons for that like getting rid of routine tasks and simultaneous processing of multiple requests from users. Besides, a tremendous speed of processing users’ requests with chatbots helps gaining customers’ loyalty.

Consumers also benefit from chatbots and they are getting increasingly interested in this technology. A study presented at the 4th International Conference on Internet Science in November, 2017 identified reasons why people choose to interact with chatbots. According to this research, the main factors that motivate people to use chatbots are:

  • Productivity. Chatbots provide the assistance or access to information quickly and efficiently.
  • Entertainment. Chatbots amuse people by giving them funny tips, they also help killing time when users have nothing to do.
  • Social and relational factors. Chatbots fuel conversions and enhance social experiences. Chatting with bots also helps to avoid lonliness, gives a chance to talk without being judged and improves conversational skills.
  • Curiosity. The novelty of chatbots sparks curiosity. People want to explore their abilities and to try something new.

Take a look into the history of chatbots

And we will find that the first conversational bot was written in the USA in 1966. It was implemented by Joseph Weizenbaum, computer scientist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was named Eliza. The chatbot misled people, so authentic the communication with it was.

In the early 90’s, the Turing test, which allows determining the possibility of thinking by computers, was developed. It consists in the following. A person talks to both the person and the computer. The goal is to find out who his interlocutor is — a person or a machine. This test is carried out in our days and many conversational programs have coped with it successfully.

As for types of chatbots

Depending on how the specific bots were programmed, we can divide them into two large groups: working according to pre-prepared commands (simple chatbot) and trained (smart or advanced chatbot).

Simple chatbots work based on pre-written keywords that they understand. Each of these commands must be written by the developer separately using regular expressions or other forms of string analysis. If the user has asked a question without using a single keyword, the robot can not understand it and, as a rule, responds with messages like “sorry, I did not understand”.

Smart chatbots rely on artificial intelligence when they communicate with users. Instead of pre-prepared answers, the robot responds with adequate suggestions on the topic. In addition, all the words said by the customers are recorded for later processing. However, the Forrester report “The State of Chatbots” points out that artificial intelligence is not a magic and is not yet ready to produce marvelous experiences for users on its own. On the contrary, it requires a huge work:

“Chat developers and designers are the gardeners: they have to tend to the chatbots and coach their growth through continuous, yet gentle, correction. these designers must also beg, coerce, and incent customers to put up with subpar experiences during the process: the learning is really slow.”

The most popular chatbot

There are various search engines for bots, such as Chatbottle, Botlist and Thereisabotforthat, for example, helping developers to inform users about the launch of new talkbots. These sites also provide a ranking of bots by various parameters: the number of votes, user statistics, platforms, categories (travel, productivity, social interaction, e-commerce, entertainment, news, etc.). They feature more than three and a half thousand bots for Facebook Messenger, Slack, Skype and Kik.

Through the chatbot search engines, you can find an interesting application in each category, e.g. the best chatbot for Facebook Messenger is Poncho. It sends you personal weather forecasts with jokes or funny memes and, thus, looks more like a meteorologist friend than a soulless weather reporting service.

What can chatbots do?

“I think chatbots are the future of engagement between a fan and a brand or celebrity.” ~ Christina Milian

Both startups and savvy companies are now incorporating interactive agents into their daily operations, communication with customers and sales processes. Chatbots can help to:

Improve customer service. It is the best option for those who don’t want their customers to:

  • Wait for operator’s answer — “Stay on the line, your call is very important to us” is always annoying, isn’t it?
  • Search for an answer in the FAQ — as a rule users don’t have time for scrolling dozens of pages with instructions.

Streamline the shopping process. It only takes to write what you want to the chatbot and the bot will send the information to the sales department. You don’t need to repeat several times “I need the same, but with metal buttons”. Besides, the chatbot remembers your preferences and uses this information when you return.

Personalize communication. A chatbot answers the specific questions of visitors instead of displaying a long list of information. The more attention a customer gets the greater his desire to buy something.

Improve a response rate. About 90% of questions sent from Facebook business pages remain unanswered. Chatbot responds to 100% of messages and converts more visitors into buyers.

Automate repetitive tasks. Most customers want to get answers on the same questions — When do you work? What is your location? Do you make deliveries? In order not to write the same answers every time, make a chatbot. It reduces your employees’ workload.

How to build a chatbot

If we managed to inspire you to create your own chatbot, here are some tips to help you get started. There are 4 main stages:

1. Define the goals. What should your chatbot do? Clearly indicate the list of functions your chatbot needs to perform.
2. Choose a channel to interact with your customers. Be where your clients prefer to communicate — your website, mobile app, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or other messaging platform.
3. Choose the way of creation. There are two of them: using readymade chat bot software or building a custom bot from scratch.
4. Create, customize and launch. Describe the algorithm of its actions, develop a database of answers and test the work of the chatbot. Double check everything before showing your creation to potential customers.

Now let’s look closer at 2 approaches to building chatbots:

Creating from scratch. If you are not a programmer yourself, you will need to hire a software development company as this method requires work with code, manual integration with messengers and customization. Among the advantages of this approach are:

  • full compliance with your needs,
  • control over data the bot receives,
  • the possibility to make corrections easily,
  • best for a customer-facing chatbots.

This method may require significant financial and time investments.

Using chatbot builder platforms. You can create a chatbot with the help of services providing all the necessary features and integrations. It can be a good choice for an in-house chatbot serving your team. This option is associated with some disadvantages, including the limited configuration and the dependence on the service. Some popular platforms for building chatbots are:

The challenge of creating chatbots

The main challenge is in teaching a chatbot to understand the language of your customers. In every business, customers express themselves differently and each group of a target audience speaks its own way. The language is influenced by advertising campaigns on the market, the political situation in the country, releases of new services and products from Google, Apple and Pepsi among others. The way people speak depends on their city, mood, weather and moon phase. An important role in the communication of the business with customers may have the release of the film Star Wars, for example. That’s why training a chatbot to understand correctly everything the user types requires a lot of efforts.

Remember:

  • There are simple and advanced bots.
  • An advanced chatbot is an artificial intelligence that communicates with a human.
  • Conversational bots are useful both for business and customers.
  • It is necessary to understand the language of a target audience.

Conclusion. What to do?

Many business owners are just beginning to understand what benefits chatbots can bring to them. This technology is still in an early stage, its capabilities continue increasing and the best chatbots have yet to be created.

Invest in building a chatbot for your business and be at the forefront of innovation!

(Source=”https://medium.com/swlh/what-is-a-chatbot-and-how-to-use-it-for-your-business-976ec2e0a99f”)

What is Full Stack Developer?

(Source=”https://www.guru99.com/full-stack-developer.html”)

What is a Full Stack developer?

FULL STACK DEVELOPER is an engineer who works on both client-side and server-side software. This type of software developer works on the Full Stack of an application meaning Front End Technology, Back End Development Languages, Database, Server, API, and version Controlling Systems. Hence, the name “Full Stack” Developer.

Full stack developer translates user requirements into the overall architecture and implement the new systems. A Full-Stack Developer doesn’t necessarily master all technologies. However, the professional is expected to work on the client as well as server sides and understand what is going on when developing an application. He or she should have a genuine interest in all software technologies.

Stackoverflow Survey of Developer profiles

In this tutorial, you will learn more about-

Why do you need a Full-Stack Developer?

Here are some prominent reasons why you should hire a full stack development professional:

  • Full stack developer helps you to keep every part of the system running smoothly
  • Full stack developer can provide help to everyone in the team and greatly reduce the time and technical costs of team communication
  • If one person plays different roles, it saves your company’s personnel, infrastructure and operational cost

Skill sets required to become a Full Stack Developer

1) Front-end technology

Full stack developer should be master of essential front-end technologies like HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript. Knowledge of third-party libraries like jQuery, LESS, Angular and React JS is desirable

2) Development Languages

Full stack engineer should know at least one server-side programming languages like Java, Python, Ruby, .Net etc.

3) Database and cache

Knowledge of various DBMS technology is another important need of full stack developer. MySQL, MongoDB, Oracle, SQLServer are widely used for this purpose. Knowledge of caching mechanisms like varnish, Memcached, Redis is a plus.

4) Basic design ability

In order to become a successful full stack developer, the knowledge of designing is also recommended. Moreover, the person should know the principle of basic prototype design and UI /UX design.

5) Server

Exposure to handling Apache or nginx servers is desirable. A good background in Linux helps tremendously in administering servers.

6) Version control system (VCS)

A version control system allows full stack developers to keep track of all the changes made in the codebase. The knowledge of Git helps full stack developers to understand how to get the latest code, update parts of the code, make changes in other developer’s code without breaking things.

7) Working with API (REST & SOAP):

Knowledge of web services or API is also important for full stack developers. Knowledge of creations and consumption of REST and SOAP services is desirable.

Other Pieces of the Puzzle:

  1. Ability to write quality unit tests
  2. He or she should have a complete understanding of automated processes for building testing, document, and deploying it at scale
  3. An awareness of security concerns is important, as each layer has its own vulnerabilities
  4. Knowledge of Algorithms and data structures is also an essential need for professional full stack developers

What is a Software Stack? Which Stack should I learn?

Software stack is a collection of the programs which are used together to produce a specific result. It includes an operating system and its application. For example, a smartphone software stack includes OS along with the phone app, web browsers, and default applications.

The above list of skill sets for a full stack engineer could be daunting. You need to master a software stack based on your career goals, project and company requirement. Following is a list of popular software stacks.

Irrespective of the stack you choose, you will find similarities in the architecture and design patters across different stacksLAMP stack

LAMP is a widely used model for web service stacks. Its name “LAMP” is an acronym of four open-source components.

  • L= Linux: An open source operating system
  • A= Apache: Widely used web server software
  • M= MySQL: Popular open source database
  • P=PHP: Server-side open source scripting language

These above-discussed components, supporting one another. Many popular websites and web applications run on LAMP stack, Example: Facebook.

MERN stack

MERN is a collection of JavaScript-based technologies:

  • M=MongoDB: Popular NoSQL database
  • E=Express: Light and portable web program framework
  • R=React: A javascript library for building user interfaces
  • N=Node.js: A server-side JavaScript run time

This stack currently in the huge demand as it is widely used to develop web applications.

MEAN stack

MEAN Stack Application Development is witnessing a growing trend in usage. MEAN is an abbreviation of:

  • M = MongoDB: nosql Database
  • E = Express: Easy to use light and portable web program framework
  • A = Angular.js: Robust framework for developing HTML5 and JavaScript- web programs
  • N = Node.is: a server-side JavaScript run time

What does a Full Stack Developer do?

As a full stack developer, you may be involved in following activities:

  • Translate user requirements into the overall architecture and implementation of new systems
  • Manage Project and coordinate with the Client
  • Write backend code in Ruby, Python, Java, PHP languages
  • Writing optimized front end code HTML and JavaScript
  • Understand, create and debug database related queries
  • Create test code to validate the applicaition against client requirement.
  • Monitor the performance of web applications & infrastructure
  • Troubleshooting web application with a fast and accurate a resolution

Full Stack Developer Salary

As a FULL STACK DEVELOPER, you are likely to earn$112000 per year.

In this UK, the salary range is £40,000 – £70,000

Myths about the Full Stack Engineer

Myth: Full stack developer is writing all types of code themselves.

Fact: He or she might know different technologies but not writing each code.

Myth: Write both frontend and backend codes.

Some full stack developers might code entire websites if they are working as a freelancer. But this its not a given that they mandatorily write both front and backend code.

Full Stack Developer is “jack of all trade, master on none”.

No, FSD is master of a few stacks and comfortable with the rest. In fact working as a Full stack engineer gives you a 360 degree view into different components that make a software product successful. Due to this awareness, a Full Stack Developer can rapidly create a prototype compared to a backend or frontend engineer. Their viewpoints on product design and architecture are very pointed and helpful.

Myth: You can’t become full stack developer if you work for an Outsourcing company

It is a mind-set, not a position. In order to become full stack developer all, you need a right combination of technical knowledge.

KEY NOTES:

  • A full-stack web developer is a technology expert who can work on both in the front end & back-end of any application.
  • Full stack developer helps you to keep every part of the system running smoothly.
  • Skill sets required to become a Full Stack Developer are Front-end technology, Development Languages, Database, Basic design ability, Server, Working with API and version control systems.
  • Software stack is a collection of the programs which are used together to produce a specific result.
  • LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MYSQL, and PHP.
  • MERN is full form of MongoDB, Express, React, Node.js.
  • MEAN stand for MongoDB, Express, Angular.js and Node.js.
  • FULL STACK DEVELOPER can earn up to $112000 per year.
  • The biggest myth about Full stack developers is that they are writing all types of code themselves which is not true.

(Source=”https://www.guru99.com/full-stack-developer.html”)