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All posts tagged Social

Microsoft Bot Framework Was Announced Last Week…

We got to hear about the new Microsoft Bot Framework at BUILD2016 when it was launched for developers as part of Satya Nadella’s overall vision for Microsoft under the banner of Conversations as a Platform.

After announcing the release of the framework and giving developers access to the preview, Microsoft also announced that Skype would be integrating one of these intelligent Bots, in addition to the pending Cortana integration.

What is the Microsoft Bot Framework?

Ever been to a website and a small chat window opens and an agent begins to converse with you? Now imagine a world where this could be automated but not just simple responses that go of-track rapidly.

Microsoft have created a framework for intelligent Bots in mobile and web. A framework that allows for natural language processing, machine and deep learning. Bots that can hold their own in conversation, that understand synonyms and can be taught to process varied speech patterns and provide appropriate responses.

That said, Microsoft learnt over the last few weeks that machine learning requires some constraints or monitoring. After launching Tay AI in the US, it became rapidly apparent that unmonitored release to the wild has bad ramifications.

The demonstrations at BUILD gave us a preview of just how Bots are going to become a pervasive part of our mobile and desktop connected experience. The Cortana Intelligence Suite (Bot Framework, Machine Learning & Cognitive Services) allow developers to easily and rapidly create and deploy these Bots to take your pizza delivery order, help you book a hotel room and do so by allowing Cortana to interact with the booking Bot.

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The demo also included a peek at the administrator web UI and Microsoft have outdone themselves by making this gloriously easy to create or modify your Bot. Furthermore, Bots will have a dictionary of synonyms for their conversations which app developers can share between apps. The Microsoft Bot Framework won’t be alone as we can expect a Bot directory. If that wasn’t enough, Microsoft are not just restricting this to their own apps and services but this is open to other apps e.g. Slack.

How Does This Change Social Forever?

A close Facebook friend shared this great video from Truly Social with Tara’s Facebook page. (Sidebar: if you want a really upbeat, brilliant and highly informative take on Social, get to this page, like it and read / watch the fantastic content). A big thank you to Shari of Shar-i | Digital Marketing Consultant for the timely share.

In this video, Tara talks about what is and isn’t Social. She focuses on how scheduled posts do not meet these criteria.

Today, I discuss what is social, what is NOT social, and why this matters.

Posted by Truly Social with Tara on Sunday, 3 April 2016

Hold onto those comments and watch the amazing video. With thanks to Truly Social with Tara.

Automation is a tool and does not meet the definition of Social. Good, Bad or Indifferent it’s worth considering why this is important. There is a difference between dropping a scheduled post in another time zone or being awake to converse following someone’s Like, Retweet or +1.

Tara defines Social in the video based on 3 criteria: –

Microsoft Bot Framework - Tara's Definition of Social

Now look at the definition. Now look at how the Microsoft Bot Framework is described. Now look back at the definition. Microsoft’s intent for Bots meets these criteria. Satya Nadella even calls this part of Conversations as a Platform.

Meanwhile, just yesterday Kik announced a Bot shop for their chat app. Facebook are expected to launch their own Messenger Bot within a week. The Bots are coming and the more intelligent we make them, the more they are going to interact with us and us with them…

Microsoft Bot Framework - Luthor the bots are coming

The Warptest POV

Many adherents to Tara’s point of view are going to strongly disagree with me.

Bots cannot be Social!

Bots cannot replace the interaction, connection or value of conversation between people. However, the Microsoft Bot Framework offers a powerful, versatile way to imagine and create Bots that will come very close.

Social interaction and conversation are going to evolve. In this case, limited by the skill Bot builders bring to bear. The new generation of Bots are going to challenge our preconceptions and it won’t be limited to chat.

Microsoft have learnt from the Tay AI experience and we will benefit from their solutions derived. The naysayers will continue to use the SkyNET analogy but this evolution of conversation is happening now.

So, are you going to let the Bots replace your interactions or complement them. I would go for the first option.

I’m excited to see how different mobile and web apps are going to use Bots and I may even have to build my own.

How about you? Are you ready to evolve your conversations and how you perceive Social?

YouTube Had Big News Today…

… with the announcement that their Live Streams now support HTML5 playback and a dazzling 60 fps (Frames per Second) video.

Google+ already offered live streaming and you could also access this feature from your YouTube account by doing the following: –

  • Sign in to YouTube with your Google account
  • From the top menu bar select upload from the right hand side
  • Now select the Google+ Hangouts On Air from the right menu bar by clicking the broadcast
  • Add the necessary details and you are good to go (assuming your webcam and mike are working).

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All the Details

After reading several of the tech blogs I decided that they, especially Venturebeat had covered the technical aspects of the story nicely, explaining the facets of 60fps and HTML5 support.

For most of us the biggest issue here is, will our browsers support this? Venturebeat goes on to explain that the latest versions of IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Opera should all handle this just fine.

This is a big step for HTML5 platform/ technology maturity.

Venturebeat’s post looks at the ramifications for Gaming, eSports and Twitch but for my money they are missing the big picture …

The Warptest POV

Anyone not living in a cave and reading about Live Streaming right now will know all about the battle for dominance in Social Live Streaming between Meerkat and Periscope (Twitter’s recent acquisition).

When I wrote about this in March I already suspected / predicted that it was a natural evolution of YouTube / Google+ Live Streaming and Hangouts mobile app to begin competing against these other two apps.

youtube - google+ hangout app

With the news today, the technology is in place and it doesn’t take much to see a YouTube Live app with Google+ social integration landing in the Play Store in the next few weeks or months.

One of the prevalent arguments I’ve heard is that without curation Social Live Streaming has a poor chance of success as the good content simply won’t be discovered. I disagree. If you follow people in your social networks already who provide you with valuable, meaningful content then some of them will already be delivering the same through Meerkat or Periscope. We don’t need curation, we need to use our common sense and leverage our social networks or robust discovery within the app(s).

This is where YouTube / Google+ has an advantage, it has Google search and an existing network to build on. In addition Google+ Hangouts On Air already has API support in place. Until now, the race was to see who would go from just having an iOS app to launching on Android (and hopefully Windows Phone too); Meerkat won this stage of the race.

youtube livestream competitor meerkat android

The next and even more important stage of the race will be based on API launch and Google is already there. The only question is when they launch a mobile app will it only be for Android?

So I’m going to ask one more question, who will be next (after YouTube) in the arena of Social Live Streaming on mobile? Who do you think?