Reliance Jio unveiled what they’re claiming to be the world’s first native video chatbot here at the Indian Mobile Congress, 2019 at New Delhi.
The native part here comes from the fact that users can simply invoke the bot using a phone number without the need for an app. Jio is partnering up with corporates to demonstrate their concept at the IMC. The bot itself has been built in partnership with Radisys, a US-based Reliance Industries Ltd subsidiary.
The demonstration running here features a partner app for HDFC bank, which shows a video of a representative from the bank answering all your questions.
Jio is also offering an app version of the bot, for companies that don’t have either enough bandwidth to run a video chatbot on their IVRs alongwith their existing solutions or simply prefer an app. The app features a refined user experience with easily navigable menus.
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Brands can also customise how their bot representative looks and speaks. Giving a personality to customer interactions that just wasn’t possible with an automated call or text bots.
You can also link the bot with your phone number. This feature allows small shopkeepers and restaurants to build their very own video chats bots quite quickly.
All you have to do is download the bot maker app by Jio and from there on you can create questions and record video responses to those questions. When you get a call from a customer who invokes the video chatbot, you’ll be greeted with the same interface.
All this seems really exciting at first approach, but is it that good?
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Is Jio really doing something innovative?
The IMC mailer for the video bot says that the bot uses “powerful AI-bases platforms” to answer questions and has “a unique auto-learning” features to help improve answer accuracy. Sadly, in the demo here at IMC, there’s almost no truth to that.
From a developer’s perspective, the demos running here are multiple if-else cases that’ll respond with a pre-recorded video response. There are only so many questions you can ask. If you have any questions outside of that domain, you will be redirected to a human agent.
In my opinion, this completely defeats the very purpose of the bot. There seems to be no innovation here. It is just a very primitive bot based on standard chatbot architecture in which the users ask a predefined question and get a predefined answer. Anything that’s outside of this range will completely fail the bot.
Will they be able to eliminate IVR wait times with this? It seems like they will. Is this a groundbreaking innovation? Not at all. It’s quite a primitive solution that has been implemented time and time again in various formats across various industries.
It doesn’t make any sense why Jio would demonstrate such a thing at a leading innovation conference like the IMC, more so file a patent for this.