2021 has been a year of significant growth and advancement in the Conversational AI space. The challenges of lockdowns and virtual interactions have impacted how we communicate with each other and brands.  

In this article, our technical team unpack the key takeaways from 2021 and what you can expect to see in 2022. 

Takeaways from 2021 


Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this year is that uptake of Conversational AI has only continued to increase, particularly in the customer service industry, both for chatbots and voice bots.  

Chatbots 
We’ve been seeing a number of organisations develop their own voice bot and chatbot technologies.  

Woolworths developed virtual assistant ‘Olive’ a couple of years ago which is perhaps one of the best we’ve seen. Olive doesn’t just spit out information that’s available on the Woolworths help centre, she actively accesses user history and solves a specific problem. If a customer is missing an item from their online grocery order, Olive is capable of bringing up a list of recent orders, selecting what was missing and providing a refund. Problem to resolution in mere minutes. As Woolworths have essentially built her from the ground up, she’s purpose built.  

This type of integration and interaction is possible with tools like Cognigy because like Woolworths have done, Cognigy’s solution allows customer service experts to be involved in the building of the bot, emulating the kind of customer service experience one hopes to receive when speaking directly to a person.

Google Tivoli  
Google has come a long way with conversational AI, from Google Translate to Google Assistant. The latest development however is rumoured to be a conversational AI tool that teaches foreign languages via Google Search. 

 The online language learning market is expected to exceed $20 billion within the next 5-6 years, and Google projects ‘Tivoli’ to capitalise on this growth by helping users learn new languages initially through text, but with plans to integrate with YouTube and Google Assistant.  

Natural Language Processing  
OpenAI released an improved version of its Codex AI model that can read written instructions in conversational language and transform it into computer code. The model is the latest example of progress in natural language processing; the ability of AI tools to read and write text. 

The is a key development to take from 2021 as it gives us an idea about the future of coding. We anticipate AI technology will reduce the workload of coders and learning code will be far simpler. 


Predictions for 2022 


Many things have been unpredictable about the last couple of years, but regardless of what’s to come in 2022, one thing is for certain – AI is booming, and we are approaching at breakneck speeds. 

Reduced Barriers to Entry  
With low-code tools like Cognigy becoming progressively more popular, barriers to entry are being removed for organisations to get aboard the conversational AI train. Those that know what a customer wants or the types of questions they might ask are now able to build the AI their business needs.  

Education  
The pandemic saw the education sector undergo rapid change to deliver virtual learning experiences. 2022 will see education industries content delivery structures undergo renovations to provide more engaging learning and teaching experiences.  

Conversational AI provides virtual assistance, collaboration platforms and personalised content for students to improve learning and engagement. 

The Role of Humans in the Customer Experience  
While a rise in AI technology is  booming across all industries, the focus will be on supporting humans, not replacing them.  

Chatbots will play the role of handling customer requests more efficiently to reduce the workload of customer service agents and enabling them to provide improved support for the queries that require a deeper level of interaction.  

Smarter Interactions  
Earlier this year, eMarketer reported that 90% of mobile internet time is spent in apps. In 2022 and beyond we’re going to see apps improve their natural language understanding technology and improve conversational experiences. What this means is apps will be able to provide more value to the overall customer experience.  

Voice AI Technology is Becoming Increasingly Accessible  
In 2021, Linux Foundation launched the Open Voice Network, an alliance advocating for the adoption of voice assistant apps, independent of well-known platforms like Siri and Alexa, making voice AI technology more accessible.  

The efforts to standardise the use of conversational agents is reflective of the growth in AI technologies we’re currently experiencing.  


 

Summary  


What we’ve learned from the past year is that human conversation isn’t going anywhere, and nor are chatbots.  
2021 saw many industries fast track their digital transformation strategies, supported by the capabilities of Conversational AI.  

At Revium, we’ve been supporting businesses to board this fast-moving locomotive. Read our article on the importance of Conversational AI  to learn more, or talk to us see how you can improve your business processes and customer experience.  

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