The chatbot market, like much of technology, sees major brands trying to dominate among a host of niche, startup and market-specific players. Yet, as chatbots become a key tool for many, business is always easier if the developers talk your own lingo. That’s why vertical specific bots are a big hit for airlines, hotels, industries and other areas.
Big names in tech struggling with bots
The world of bots sees a fast-changing, rapidly-evolving playing field and those major names with their square peg products can’t fit easily into every round hole niche. Analysts are already wondering about the success or true potential of products like IBM Watson. IBM’s recent Red Hat acquisition has opened up a can-of-worms discussion by tech pundits about the super-AI’s real utility, opening the playing field for others.
Also in recent news, Google acquired San Francisco automation startup Onward to bolster its own bots’ natural language parsing powers. That suggests even Google’s own AI credentials need a boost, which might have potential customers looking for something they view as more complete and specific to their business.
Smaller, nimbler, faster, better bots
So, it comes as no surprise that vertical players are keen to invest in smaller products closer to home. In the UK, an estate agent (realtor) is chipping in as part of a £500,000 investment in a bot specifically for its market. Proptech (property technology) is just one of the latest splinters in the tech market full of fintech, sporttech, arttech, insuretech, logisticstech and other areas where a player with a deep knowledge and focus can outstrip the generic competition.
Elafris is one example of a highly focused bot, helping bring efficiency to the insurtech market, citing “85% of related firms reporting a focus on solving challenges, both longstanding and emerging ones, with the new tools.” And, this market is always changing. HiJiffy, a Portuguese hotel bot provider, is joining with a number of other firms for a more rounded hospitality play.
Between investment, partnership or acquisitions, the bot market will be one of the most exciting tech areas for the rest of the decade.