Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Business Chatbots Taking Over

Chat apps characteristics make them very appealing to businesses and marketers. Prominent ones include their size, user retention, usage rates, and user demographics. In fact, the combined user base of the top four chat apps is larger than that of the top four social networks. Chat apps also have higher retention and usage rates than most mobile apps. Finally, the majority of their users are young, an extremely important demographic for brands, advertisers and publishers.

These chat app traits have accelerated the blending of artificial intelligence and business service functions to create the modern chatbot. Recent advances in this area include:
  • A chatbot’s ability to conduct engaging human conversations which has allowed businesses to leverage the inexpensive and wide-reaching technology to engage with more consumers; 
  • The greater suitability of chatbots with mobile devices;
  •  The robust and rapid evolution of the chatbot ecosystem which include third-party chat bots, native bots, distribution channels, and a new marketplace for its enabling technology; and
  •  A promising chatbot business model for messaging apps and the developers who build bots for these platforms. 

A surprising example of this embryonic business model is my own 21 year-old daughter! Known as Ljskater_X_Void on Twitch, she uses an entire team of chatbots to manage her online audience: 


  • A customized Ankhbot (referred to as LjskaterxVoidBot) to interact with Twitch stream using a coin system to manage audience 
  • Discord Chatbot for managing streaming audience requests through ankhbot commands
  • Discord Music bot that lets audience request song from You Tube to be played during the stream
  • Quorra bot used to collect requests from stream audience
  • Ankhbot Social media timers to solicit interaction from audience through Twitter
  • Floof bot used to gather detailed information on individuals
  • Master Overwatch bot for collecting and displaying game 
  • Mee6 bot used to cross promote and advertise streaming partnersstatistics
  • NadekoBot used to create master bot (On Discord referred to as Skaterbot) to manage all the other bots
  • Muxybot connects through Discord to announce streaming events and stats


For technology support in the enterprise business space, a Watson-enabled Slack chatbot is being used to help enterprise teams identify and fix IT and network operational incidents. This bot blends messaging, cloud computing, IT support and network operations in order to improve customer service. To accelerate its own chatbot business, IBM has released a Watson Botkit middleware plugin that allows the Watson Conversation service to talk to Slack and other messaging channels.

Information technology is not the only industry vertical deploying chatbots:
  • News Industry uses chatbots to deliver breaking news directly as a private message in the user’s messenger. This information is displayed at login. 
  • A 3D printing industry chatbot that receives a 3D file and then instantly searches for 3D printing services providing you with price quotes and material options.
  •  With a chatbot implemented, entertainment industry customers can find movie and event details about movies and events, finding available timings, booking a reservation, and initiating cancellation much easier and faster without human assistance. It has also increased the business of online movie ticket and event ticket booking.
  • Health bots can answer more than 100 health questions, provides recommendations based on the query and even help to find a nearby doctor.
  • E-commerce companies use bots to provide product suggestions, price alerts, gift assistance and more
  • Customer service bots are replacing human assistance with the automated message service.
  • In the travel industry a bot can reduce the work load by sending ticket confirmation details, check in notifications, and other such important information automatically to the customer.

If chatbots are now in your business future, you should try Cognitive Concierge a part of IBM’s chatbot ecosystem that makes recommendations to the user based on a conversation with the application’s chatbot.



This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit ITBizAdvisor.com



Cloud Musings
( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2016)



Monday, January 30, 2017

NCTA CloudMASTER®: The Path To Your Future


In 2016, cloud computing started to dominate many IT market segments. As a business, Synergy Research Group reported that industry revenue for the four quarters ended Sept. 30 grew 25%. Operator and vendor revenue for six segments of cloud computing reached $148 billion during that period, with spending on private clouds accounting for over half the total but spending on the public cloud growing much more rapidly. As more and more companies are taking advantage of the benefits of moving to cloud services, there is a significant need for IT professionals to gain the skills needed to successfully use and implement a wide range of cloud services, making typical vendor-focused training solutions less valuable.

This NCTA program was designed to provide IT professionals with a strong foundation in cloud technologies, and overall cloud architecture and management of cloud infrastructure, as well as a solid technical background in modern web services deployment and administration. The program is comprised of three courses: Cloud Technologies, Cloud Operations, and Cloud Architecture. In these courses, students will learn concepts, principles, techniques, and practices needed to administer and secure a modern cloud-enabled business environment. Unlike other cloud training programs, this curriculum is platform-agnostic, and therefore offers students a more comprehensive approach to cloud computing.

  • Cloud Technologies: An overview of cloud computing will help you develop a deep understanding of the models and understand the landscape of technologies used in the cloud and those employed by users of cloud services. You will receive multiple points of view, firsthand experience and a foundation in managing industry leading cloud services like Amazon Web Services, Drupal, Wordpress, Google Docs and Digital Ocean.


  • Cloud Operations: This module helps you study the management of cloud operations and addresses the application need for compute power, managing CPU scaling, and meeting both structured and unstructured storage requirements. You will learn how to painlessly deploy fairly complex applications that scale across multiple instances in cloud technologies including Windows Azure Chef, Chef Solo, Linux and Windows Tools.


  • Cloud Architecture: This module includes OpenShift, OpenStack, VMware, Amazon Web Services, Azure and Rackspace, and provides a framework to assess application performance needs while addressing business requirements of Return on Investment (ROI), Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Groups will complete a cloud assessment of Fortune 100 firms using public information and make presentations to the client.



NCTA CloudMASTER® helps organizations transform customer experiences through:
Customer understanding;
Top-line growth; and
Customer touch points.


They help companies optimizes internal processes through:
Process digitization;
Worker enablement; and
Performance management.


They can also transform a company’s core functions and activities through:
Digital modifications to the business;
Creation of new digital businesses; and
Digital Globalization.

IT staff of the future need the skills of a businessperson to stay current, as their company's software requirements and the options for satisfying them will be deep, varied, and changing quickly.  The IT department five years from now will also need to keep pace with nearly constant change. The more complex and interconnected technology environments become, the more a general understanding and knowledge of how it all works together will be valued. 

If you want to secure your IT future, schedule a consultation today.

This content is being syndicated through multiple channels. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of GovCloud Network, GovCloud Network Partners or any other corporation or organization.




Cloud Musings
( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2016)



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cybersecurity in the President Trump Administration


From the rise of increasingly capable nation-states—like Iran and North Korea—conducting destructive attacks against American private sector companies, to the continuing pace of IP theft by China striking at the very heart of our innovation economy, the new team at the White House will have its hands full. And this doesn’t even account for ongoing efforts to infiltrate critical infrastructures by nation-state proxies and efforts to influence political, economic, and military conditions in the United States through cyber-enabled intelligence. Or recruitment activities, the reality of our aging federal cyber infrastructure, and the lack of serious federal government policies on joint public-private cyber defense and cyber deterrence.
Given this dizzying list of challenges, the likely limited bandwidth to address these issues in the first 100 days, and the urgency of the threat, one might ask what critical issues the new administration ought to tackle immediately after inauguration day. To that end, there are five key steps that the Trump Administration should—consistent with its policy platform—take that might have a useful impact on our nation’s cybersecurity in the near-term.
First, as we did in the Cold War, the new administration should define the scope of cyber activities that would provoke our nation to action. That list must include efforts to conduct destructive attacks on the property of any American government or corporate assets, regardless of where they are located; activities targeting American critical infrastructures, and activities directly affecting our body politic—including, but not limited to, efforts to influence our political process or to fundamentally undermine our economic capabilities, including through the theft of the American core corporate intellectual property.
Second, the administration must make clear that it will respond swiftly and severely to activities that cross the lines described above. If we are to have credibility, we must also be prepared to actually take action when such lines are crossed. For better or worse, today, American redlines largely go disrespected because of our prior failures to enforce them. We also ought to make clear that our responses will be calibrated to the threat and may not necessarily take place in cyberspace.
Third, the Trump Administration should incorporate technology infrastructure into its $1 trillion initiative to build roads, bridges, and buildings. As it encourages private sector investment through tax credits and other incentive programs, the administration must, likewise, encourage investment in technology infrastructure including the build-out of high-speed network access to underserved areas and the broad deployment of cloud infrastructure for public and private needs. In addition, the administration should encourage the use of American infrastructure technology domestically and abroad, even in the face of efforts by other nations—like China—to subsidize their industries through low-to-no interest loans and government-enabled IP theft.
Fourth, the Trump Administration needs to establish a White House mechanism for engaging the American private sector in national security decision-making. As the recent Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity recently recommended, the new administration should create a forum for top private sector executives from key infrastructure sectors to be regularly briefed on critical national security matters with a cybersecurity nexus and to provide their input directly to the President through the National Security Advisor.
Fifth, the Trump Administration should require the U.S. intelligence community to immediately begin providing classified threat information directly to American critical infrastructure companies in a machine usable format that protects intelligence sources and methods. While Congress recently passed threat sharing legislation, the reality is that both the federal government and the private sector have remained reticent to share the most useful information. The government ought to show good faith by being the first to give in this area and start sharing immediately.
Like any new administration, the Trump team will face a steep learning curve on the wide range of threats the nation faces around the world, particularly in cyberspace. However, there are some key steps that it can take in the near-term to have a significant impact on our cybersecurity posture. By establishing the conditions for a serious, workable deterrence system, treating technology as a core infrastructure component, and establishing a tight working relationship with the private sector, the Trump Administration can take the very ideas at the core of its electoral platform and apply them to good use in cybersecurity in the first 100 days.
About the author: Jamil Jaffer, a cybersecurity and national security expert at Dūcō, recently served as the Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he worked on key national security and foreign policy issues, including leading the drafting of the proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS in 2014 and 2015, the AUMF against Syria in 2013, and revisions to the 9/11 AUMF against al Qaeda.
This content is being syndicated through multiple channels. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of GovCloud Network, GovCloud Network Partners or any other corporation or organization.




Cloud Musings
( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2016)