Bot Builder Community Project: An OSS Marvel

Today, we’re excited to announce a global opensource project for Bot Builder Community which is not just limited to .NET Stack but it’s open for Python, Java or Node developers.

History

It was an ordinary evening when I was waiting for my wife and our 18 months old to get ready for some outdoor chores; I logged into my PC and started reading out all the highlights of the day. I noticed my friend’s James Mann’s tweet about Bot Builder common extensions & middleware project. I went through it and thought to contribute some of my ideas there as well.

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Custom Vision (Image Recognition) with on-device processing

Last year, I wrote about how you can enhance your business using the custom vision with Bots (read: Azure Bot Service). It was a time when Custom Vision service was in its early preview and you could only use your model via cloud. There was no possibility to consume it locally resulting in a relatively slower performance and higher cost.

This year, Microsoft has finally come up with one of the much needed approaches of Machine Learning to give you an ability to export your model. More interestingly, the export does not just support models for Microsoft’s platform but CoreML (iOS), TensorFlow (Android / many others) and ONNX as well. So now, if you’re a startup who is managing ticketing service, you can also provide the ticket scanning and validation service by just integrating this.

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Do you want to recommend your latest products or services based upon your customer’s choice of shopping? Do you want to notify your customers with an estimated time of order delivery with respect to their location? Do you want to classify the complaints automatically as they’re reported?

All of above is now possible by just an integration of your customized machine learning models with your bots. This integration brings an achievement of business goals at a higher success rate.

Let’s assume you’re an owner of AMA Auto Services where you provide multiple automobile services to your customers. One of them is to evaluate the car whether it’s acceptable, good or unacceptable for trading purpose.

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I have been stating these at multiple forums that Microsoft Bot Framework (MBF) is currently the richest in terms of features, supported channels and flexibility. With MBF, you can not just create one basic customer service chat bot, but you can do much more than this, from sending an email to pushing a financial transaction after a successful authentication.

With the advent of SDK 4, the number of features have been doubled. One of which is middleware capability and the ease of implementing it.

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Boost up your business with Twitter by adding it to the BotFramework stack

BotFramework is by far the most diversified bot development framework when it comes to the multi-channel support. The only famous conversational (sort of) channel left as of now is Twitter, which I believe will be added officially, very soon (I wish by Build 2018). I have been using Twitter since past decade and till today, it’s my most used and favorite platform. During these years, I got connected with so many inspirational personalities.

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Accelerate the frequency of Border Checkpoints using Cognitive Services

It has been just two weeks since I started going Saudi Arabia almost 3-4 times a week. The King Fahd Causeway (which is a bridge between Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kingdom of Bahrain) was architect to bring enormous amount of opportunities between two countries. Thousands of people (in about 30,000 cars minimum), like me and my colleagues travel back and forth on daily basis to serve their occupational purposes.

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Hey Alexa, ask gem dealer to update me about gold rates for today!

Either you call ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ or ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way’ — you need to get things done the right way. It has been almost a month I received my Alexa Echo Dot (which I bought for $29 from Amazon) just to play around and see how (and why) it has become a buzz word in the technological paradigm of voice assistants.

As I was pretty much optimistic about its features and functionality, I kicked off my conversation by asking ‘What’s the weather here’ and it ended up telling me the weather about WestLake, US (while I was in Bahrain). After hearing this, I straight away came to one conclusion and that is, Alexa is not localized at all.

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Globalize your Bot using multiple languages with LUIS

According to the 2017 Ethnologue, English is no more the most spoken language and Arabic language’s rank is not the same as it was before. Undoubtedly, English still has the significance but interacting with one’s primary language is a different experience that could lead to satisfaction more quickly than with the second language. Therefore, if your target audience is not restricted only to English language then you should now think of globalizing your business.

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Card Featured

Ever since the bot uprising, SMEs have started investing in innovative solutions for better productivity in an optimal cost. Customer services, on all fronts, require a human being. However, 90% of the time that human is doing nothing but following some standard procedures to get things done.

As I mentioned in my previous posts, there are many areas where you do not need a task force of humans but just one person supervising the bots. One of those areas is Appointment Booking with a Doctor.

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Enhance your business with Custom Computer Vision in Bots

Computer Vision (CV) is one of those APIs which is considered as the essence of Cognitive Services. It provides state-of-the-art image processing algorithms help you moderate content automatically and build more personalized apps by returning smart insights about faces, images, and emotions.

I will be writing more about all the facets individually with appropriate and best-selling use-cases in upcoming posts. Meanwhile, you can have a look at my recent post on Chatbots Magazine which covers an overview of most of the Cognitive Services.

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