Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Friday, August 12, 2016

What's Better than Apps? Chatbots

College students value their smartphones and the apps that allow them to play games and make purchases. Chatbots could replace apps as the interface, allowing users to find the things they want and need from the same messaging applications they already use to talk to friends.

“Chatbots are the singularity that smart devices have been waiting for, the streamlined experience that will finally unshackle us from the burden that our apps put on our devices,” Craig Elimeliah, director of creative technology for the digital marketing agency VML, wrote in a column for VentureBeat. “Apps slow us down. For most of what we do on our mobile devices, the chatbot and chat interface are ideal.”

Elimeliah said chatbots will be a better way for businesses to engage customers with their brands because they can be used in so many places and with so many different platforms. They can also be voice- and text-enabled.

“The ability that chatbots have to parse language for meaning and context means we can now create much more meaningful and precise 1:1 experiences that can scale way beyond the finite interfaces of an app,” he concluded. “In the end, chatbots are going to make apps look like clunky experiences that don’t really take into account that today’s mobile users need the most lightweight and easily accessible features and functions to blaze through their day.”

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