My name is Dr. Barbara Ondrisek and today I&apos;m going to give a talk about the Austrian Chatbot Ecosystem.
I’m the founder and CEO of the Chatbots Agency, an agency for digital communications design that develops conversational solutions aka chatbots.
I’ve been working as a freelancer and consultant for more than 15 years for different mostly big companies. I have a strong Backend developer background and in the last couple of years I’ve been working as a Senior Backend developer with a disposedness to full stack and mobile.
I also love to play around with other technologies - lately for the innovative netbanking system George for the Erste Group, Austria’s largest bank.
However, I was working as a freelancer and consulant for several years, but I was always lacking this one super idea to found my own startup.
And then something happened...
What are chatbots?
A chatbot is a service that enables you to interact with a service or company through a conversational interface. It’s a computer program in a computer program that can have an (intelligent) conversation with one or more human users. Chatbots are also referred to as “virtual assistants” or “conversational commerce”.
Microsoft announced end of March at their BUILD conference the bot-support on Skype. Two weeks later Facebook announced at their F8 conference that they finally opened their messenger API for bots and the first bots started to be approved by Facebook. Only a few days later Hi Poncho, a Facebook Messenger weather bot, raised 2M of funding.
So after Facebook announced to open up their Messenger platform to bots I was eager to try their API and I created one of the very first chatbots on Facebook – and definitely Austria’s first Facebook Messenger and Skype chat bot: Mica, the Hipster Cat Bot.
Mica started as a spin-off of LIKE A HIPSTER, an app that shows you trendy places in the vicinity.
Mica, the Hipster Cat Bot is a cat and a chatbot, that helps you discover the best places near by.
Meanwhile I developed Mica, the Hipster Cat Bot for Facebook Messenger, Skype, Telegram, WeChat, Line and KIK (the later three are beta).
(c) Benjamin Keyser
Why are we doing this?
One minute of three minutes spent online is spent on mobile devices, but we see, that the usage of the number of apps is dropping: 80% of mobile time is spent in only three different apps – but this does not concern messenger apps!
The current app trend is to go away from social media to messengers.
This graph is already outdated, it’s from 2015...
Facebook Messenger: 1 Billon monthly active users (MAU)
WhatsApp: 1 Billion MAU
QQ („ICQ“ China): 900 MAU
WeChat („WhatsApp“ in China): over 700 MAU
Skype: 300 MAU
Line App (Asien) : 220 MAU
Telegram: 100 MAU
Kik (USA): 300 Millionen registrierte User (gesamt)
Slack: 3 Millionen täglich aktive User
And others with several mio users such as iMessage (250 mio users), Viber (784 million registered user), HipChat, Kakao, BBM, VKontakte etc.
(c) david pichsenmeister
Different messenger platforms are used in different countries.
Kik for instance is super popular in the US (especially for teenages), Viber is very popular in Slavik countries, Central Eastern Europe and South East Asia, Line is popular in Asian countries. So if you decide to launch a bot in a certain region take this regional differences in account.
The advantage of chatbots is that you attract the users where they usually are: In messenger apps. Not download or install of apps is needed, you can present your company on a channel where all these people spend their time!
However, messengers are widely used, but what about Austria?
Here you see a list of Austrian homemade commercial chatbots:
- Mica, of cause, venue recommendation service, restaurants or coffeeshops
- Austrian Airlines: service bot
- Swelly: Helps you with A/B decision making
- Mr. Hokify: Jobsearch bot
- Record bird: music recommendation bot
- Sophie from Mon Style: shopping assistant
- ZoomBot from Zoomsquare: Real estate seach engine
- Yodel: Telephone service bot for Slack
Successful non-commercial bots are:
- Meme Generator Bot by David Pichsenmeister
- Toni: Football games bot by Klemens from creative workline
- Nela: Language Trainer by Liechteneckers
- Artemis: Google Vision API by Pamina / Lemmings.io
- Flux: Wr. Linien Störungen, Carina / Lemmings.io
Here are the key players – Viennese companies that design and develop bots:
- oratio orat.io, David pichsenmeister and Bernhard hauser
- my chatbots agency chatbotsagency.com
- the ventury: christoph bizzaro, jakob reiter, eva lettner
- bot manufactur by Vladlena Taraskina- Onlim was founded as Spin-Off of researches of the institute for semantic technologies of the Innsbruck University
- liechteneckers: made Nela
- wollzelle: working on bots
- Pulpmedia: in Linz
- Jung von Matt: Lufthansa bot
- creative workline: Toni
Other companies like nuwings are also working on chatbots in Vienna.We as Chatbots Agency are partnering with other agencies such as Grayling, Holzhuber / Impaction and knallgrau VI.
There is a huge potential for Austria / Vienna to position itself. Actually there is quite an active movement going on.
The benefit for our startup ecosystem resp. the audience is, that finally is first with one topic. So we’ve got a head start and should use the momentum. There is once in a lifetime going on more in Vienna than in Berlin or London.
And you as startup people can help us to support the movement. Spread the world, use and develop chatbots, confince your customers to use chatbots.
In the next 6 months most Platforms will finish their Beta phase, NLP / Machine Learning tools will get better and Facebook will release payments on chatbots.
Also feel free to ask me or some of the Lemmings here (Lena, Timar, Pamina) about chatbots and our work!