“The chatbot market in India is huge and only 10% penetrated.” #AIBoss [Aakrit Vaish, Haptik]

We, at NextBigWhat, are attempting to drive forward the conversation around Artificial Intelligence in India beyond headlines that scream for attention but don’t offer much, buzzwords that make your head buzz after a while, and countless utopian tales that vie for your eyes only to leave you with a scratching head and a lingering itch to actually get to the meat of the matter. In this spirit, the #AIBoss series intends to educate, inform and elevate our readers understanding of the subject as well as the space. If you’re part of the leadership team of an AI based product, from enterprise or startup, willing to share your AI learnings – then reach out to us and become part of this initiative (you can apply using this form). Here is the third and final part of our interview with Aakrit Vaish (you can find the first part here and the second part here), CEO & Co-Founder of conversational AI platform Haptik. Aakrit co-founded Haptik in 2013 as a unique mobile assistant platform before it transitioned into conversational AI and is now one of India’s foremost platforms in that space. Q 13. Haptik has worked with Samsung to integrate within its My Galaxy app. What was the experience like in working on a pre-loaded program on a hardware device? And what kind of chatbot and/or AI integration do you foresee within other electronic appliances i.e kitchen appliances, washing machines etc.? It has been an interesting experience, a lot to learn definitely. Samsung has huge plans for India and they wanted to provide a concierge like service for their users, which is where Haptik came in. We got a lot of user traction and engagement, and are currently in the process of monetizing them.
Integration with other devices beyond smartphones is definitely a very interesting area for us. We think the market is a bit early, but by 2020 we will start some serious work in the space. Devices like Google Home and Alexa now have 40%+ penetration in the US, and soon this will be commonplace across most homes.
Q 14. Haptik has worked on a social cause chatbot called ‘Akancha Against Harassment’ that dealt with cyber harassment. What are the ethical imports of working on something like that? And do you see chatbots one day, perhaps, assisting victims of sexual harassment in filing complaints or helping pensioners sidestep bureaucratic corruption in accessing their payments and so on? This is one of our proudest projects as a company. The answer to the first part of the question is that yes, you have to be extra careful when building a bot for a topic like this. The bot should have 100% confidence when responding back with an answer, even a 1% uncertainty should not be responded to. So, we kept that in mind while designing workflows here. For the second part of the question, absolutely yes! This is exactly why we even did this project, because of our belief that at steady state the bot should be able to help end to end.
There are so many sensitive topics that people don’t know where to go for help, and chat could be a very natural medium for this.
I know a company called Betterlyf (https://www.betterlyf.com/), which handles >50% of all their consultations about mental well being on chat. Q 15. How much of the machine learning on Haptik’s backend is applied cross-sector i.e broadly speaking, do the AI gains via a single enterprise customer and your B2C offerings result in an improvement for all your customers? If so, then presumably that would constitute a major USP for Haptik. Yes, absolutely. Addressed this sort of in questions 4 and 10 🙂 Q 16. From an insider perspective, what is the chatbot market like in India at the moment? And what are the major growth markets for Haptik going forward?
The market in India is huge, and still only about 10% penetrated. We want to win the market here in our target product-customer segment.
We have started operations in the US in 2018, and UK as well a few weeks back. Will focus on English speaking markets as the next step in 2019 and beyond. Q 17. What, according to you, is the future of conversation between customers and companies? In the context of chat, voice, and so on. It will depend on the specific type of business the company is in. For new age internet first businesses like E-commerce, chat will become the primary channel of conversation, 70%+ of engagement will flow through here For complex products and traditional offline businesses like Insurance, Utilities, Healthcare, etc. most of the conversation will be on Voice, with chat acting as a good complimentary channel to have For all others that fall somewhere in the middle, it will depend on the type of end customers they have and the ideal solution for them There is no one size fits all, ever! 🙂 Interview Parts: Part 1 Part 2 The next interview in the #AIBoss series will be released soon. Make sure you’re subscribed to the AI Boss newsletter to keep up with the latest in AI developments across the world!

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