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Interview with Prateek Gupte, Director of Engineering, Haptik

Haptik's technology platform is used to create dozens of chatbots in a variety of domains such as Cabs, Train and Flight Bookings, Food Delivery, Movies, Home Services, and Reminders. Hear from Prateek about the importance of conversational AI and valuable content in making these chatbots successful.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your journey so far with Chatbots?

Haptik started its journey about 4 years ago as a personal assistant app for the Indian User. We offered more than 40 different services, integrated with dozens of API integrations. At the time, the majority of the chats were powered by a human staff of over 500 assistants!

We soon realized that scaling the app beyond a certain point was not feasible and we started automating our services with a chatbot. Over the course of 2 years, we have been able to automate over 95% of the entire chat volume and reduce our operational costs by the same margins!

Interestingly, we were our own first customer and were able to transform from being heavily dependant on operations to a company which was majorly driven by technology. The underlying technology platform that we’ve built, is used to create dozens of chatbots in a variety of domains such as Cabs, Train and Flight Bookings, Food Delivery, Movies, Home Services, and Reminders. Fast forward to 2018, where we have taken our entire technology stack and are using it to deploy chatbots for a variety of customers. We are now opening up our platform to other partners as well. As Director of Engineering at Haptik, I am responsible for building and scaling out this chatbot platform.

What fascinates you about Chatbots and what is missing for them to become mainstream?

I think conversational interfaces are a fascinating medium that have taken us back to the way humans have communicated for hundreds of years. The digitisation of this medium would have been impossible without some form of automation. But in spite of all the progress we have made with traditional user interfaces, the internet penetration is still low. However, with the entire chatbot industry growing exponentially from $750 million in 2016 to about $3 billion in 2017, it’s only a matter of time before conversational AI becomes imperative to solve user end problems across various industries.

A key component for chatbots to become mainstream is to focus on content. This requires creating chatbot specific content from scratch, rather than porting content over from another medium. We hope that with creation of chatbots becomes simpler with time and we see more content creators step up to take the lead in chabot development.

Photo of Prateek During the Panel "How to Build a smarter Bot Using AI" at Chatbot Summit 01.31.18

Photo by Liat Mandel

What are your top predictions for Chatbots for 2018? 3 years ahead?

As the chatbot industry finds its footing in 2018, I believe the hype will give way to focused chatbots that solve real problems. Businesses are starting to understand what chatbots can and, more importantly, cannot do. They are not the cure all panacea of promise. However, the future is bright as more bot builders are now realizing what it takes to create a successful chatbot. Chatbots that are deeply integrated with existing systems will allow to do a lot more than existing functionalities, and start making a larger impact on overall business.

I also believe that voice and local languages will play a large part in taking chatbots to the masses. Especially in a country like India where English is not the preferred language for most of the population, this could be the ‘next big thing’. Voice search is already as high as 80% in some villages. If that is combined with local language chatbots, India is poised to see a whole new set of users come online within the next year.

Predicting beyond 2018, the emergence of Machine Comprehension will take chatbots to new levels of capabilities. This will open a lot of exciting opportunities that are currently out of reach, or too expensive to execute for bot developers.

How did you come to be a speaker at Chatbot Summit? What are you going to talk about? What are you most looking forward to about Chatbot Summit ?

We at Haptik are passionate about chatbots and love meeting chatbots enthusiasts across the globe. Our Co-founder and CEO, Aakrit Vaish was part of the Summit’s panel last year and had a great time engaging, interacting with bot builders, developers and leaders in the chatbot industry.

This year, I’m excited to share my thoughts on how Haptik has scaled to become one of the largest conversational AI platforms in the world. Having built over 100+ chatbots across industries such as BFSI, e-commerce, utility etc, we believe to have solved user queries and built great chatbots for a number of companies.

Chatbots have a huge potential that’s yet to be explored. As part of an event as large as this one, I look forward to meeting other chatbot enthusiasts who are just as passionate to solve similar problems from around the world! I truly believe that we can collaborate and help each other build a lasting industry that provides chatbot solutions for almost everyone.

Which industries do you believe will be impacted most by the Bot revolution?

I think the industry that would be impacted the most would be the BPO and Customer Service industries. I believe they will see massive hikes in productivity as AI would step in to take away the menial and rote tasks. Working hand in hand with AI, they will see huge benefits in customer satisfaction and speed of resolution.

Another industry to be majorly impacted by the Bot revolution would be Digital Advertising. Traditional routes of digital advertising such as Facebook Ads, Google Adwords and Youtube Ads are reaching a saturation point. Marketers are hungry for new and more engaging ways to engage with end users. Haptik is witnessing remarkable initial success with advertising through a chatbot. We have seen conversion rates of almost double as compared to traditional mediums! With new chatbots creating more and more engagement with end users across platforms, a new distribution medium will emerge with the potential to disrupt the digital marketing industry.

In the future, I am most likely to have my Bot be my:

Legal Secretary

Chatbots will emerge as a winner where large amounts of information condense into easily accessible interfaces


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