VentureBeat’s Bots Channel tracks all the important and interesting news related to the exploding field of bots and messaging. And each week we select the top stories and present them in in our free weekly newsletter, BotBeat. We include news stories by VentureBeat staff, guest articles from leading figures in the bots community and a good number of posts from a wide variety of outlets. You can subscribe to our BotBeat newsletter to receive this information in your inbox every Thursday.
Here’s this week’s newsletter:
“Welcome to MobileBeat 2016!” declared VentureBeat founder Matt Marshall to open our standing room only event dedicated to bots, messaging, and A.I. On July 12 and 13 the bot community assembled in San Francisco for two days of ideas, inspiration, and news.
The audience represented nearly the entire universe of bots — major platforms like Amazon and Slack, startups like SnapTravel and HealthTap just coming out of stealth mode, investors Accel and Greylock, and established brands like Whole Foods andAirbnb. And, as MobileBeat 2016 shows, the bot universe is ever-expanding.
The potential for voice interfaces like Amazon’s Alexa was in many ways the elephant room. Companies from Google toSoundHound are already competing in this arena, while firms like Airbnb are developing their applications for the platform. Meanwhile, the CTO of Indian ecommerce giant Flipkart said that Amazon’s Alexa wouldn’t work in India, given the market’s myriad languages and the lack of pervasive internet connectivity. Something more ambitious is needed, in his opinion.
Another major theme was the importance of personality for bots. In his keynote, Robert “The Botfather” Hoffer: “If you’re going to make bots today, give them personality. Brands have a soul, and their bots should have a soul, too.”
Esther Crawford talked publicly for the first time about her new company Olabot, which will build personal bots for people so that someday, everyone will have their own bot. She was joined onstage by rapper Redfoo, of LMFAO fame, for whom she built a chatbot.
As evidence of how pervasive bots have already become, Marshall asked Redfoo.”So you’ve had more than a billion views on YouTube. Why are you at a bot conference?”
Leading up to MobileBeat 2016, VentureBeat had sponsored an international botathon with more than 200 teams competing in Melbourne, New York, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, and via an online division. The winner for the judged portion of the botathon was Skoolbot, whose team was led by a 15 year old from Great Falls, Virginia.
We thank the bot community for helping make MobileBeat 2016 a huge success!
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