What do users really want, bots or apps? | VentureBeat | Bots

Technology is a fancy word to making the future a better — well, at least a less complex place to live.

The internet, then web applications, then apps, now bots. Apps are old news now, and bots and AI seem to be the next big thing. The dream of the independent developer building a business in the app store is over. Bots are taking over, and why won’t they? Simplicity? Check. Cost efficiency? Check. Time efficiency? Double check. They are the latest technology, and only a fool will ignore the control they might have on the future. Soon we might even witness a robot like ‘Jarvis’ (from the Iron Man movies) or even something better, so it’s time we look past the drawbacks they have and concentrate on their strengths.

Bots, bots everywhere!

The rise of messaging bots isn’t something new. Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram have long since joined the game because they know how this investment’s going to pay off. Why would someone use an app to book a flight now? Open the app, login, input the travel details, then choose a flight, pay for it, logout. Or just tell the bot the travel details, and it will take care of the rest. Chat is a familiar interface as well.

Having built Engazify bot and seeing its growth, especially in the enterprise, I can definitely say bots have many advantages. Less size, easy data sharing, easy to install, simpler authentication, and a known interface. You don’t even need to leave your communication platform of choice. Also, with a bot, it is two-way. It initiates actions when you need it to as well as responds to requests. It is like chatting with another human. Almost any transaction can be mapped to the messaging framework, so the future of bots will be rock solid.

Is this the end for apps?

It is not like it is the end of the world for apps. Some, maybe camera apps or games are too complex to be replaced by bots. Even the download numbers are booming, but the app economy is saturated now. It won’t grow any further. Also, the number of apps is growing. It is getting harder and harder to find useful apps. Bots won’t replace apps but will serve as a medium for finding and using them.

Bots or apps?

Overall, it is too difficult…and too stupid to compare bots and apps. They are not comparable. But, with the huge number of apps, bots have the ability to wipe some of them away. Bots are easy to install, easy to build (compared to apps, which are much more expensive to build), and more use-cases (no one’s going to build an app for as trivial a task as deleting the recycle bin on your computer. However, you can just tell the bot to clear it and it’s done!). Messaging has a higher market penetration, and the language and conversation is already familiar. Nothing new needs to be re-learned.

Apps are more like shopping stores where you can move around and look for things you need to do. With bots, it’s more like a single shop and you know why you are going there and what you are going to do, you don’t have to explore and look here and there. Similarly, on another note, apps are lonely — a one way street. You move around alone with no one to guide you. With bots you feel like you are talking to a human with a two way interaction. A bot will make you laugh and also get your work done without giving you the feeling you are interacting with computer software.

Why bots now?

Bots aren’t new. What’s new is the progress in technology that’s coming along with it — the boom in messaging apps or the improvements in AI and NLP. Now, you just need to download the bot and start using it — no questions asked. The mental cognitive load of learning is gone.

No, bots won’t replace apps

It’s not the number of taps on the screen that matter. It’s the simplicity and the intelligence that matters. What takes lesser time is your friend. So, it’s not like bots will take over apps and the app stores will shut down. Apps have their own advantages. They make customization and comparison better. You are the master, you have various options and you can choose whatever you want. While this is handy in several situations, bots will take away most of the redundant processes and make it interesting with a two way conversation. And since there is a huge potential in this area, bots will definitely dominate the technology sector in the coming years.

No, bots won’t completely replace apps, but they will definitely improve our experience with fewer apps to use.

Now: Over to you! What do you think? Bots will wi  or apps will continue to show dominance? Or call it a truce? Let us know.

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