Past week I attended Oracle Open World in San Francisco. I hadn’t been there for last 7 years so it was good to see lot of familiar faces there again. Still what comes to conference itself there are always good presentations but the percentage for hit & miss sessions is a lot higher compared to other conferences in my opinion.

One of the key topics this year was artificial intelligence and machine learning which was on my interest list as well. There are lot of possibilities with these topics for companies and I guess everybody is trying to look how their business could benefit from AI.

From the sessions which I attended one of the most interesting one was Oracle Intelligent Bots hands-on lab. The Intelligent Bot Service isn’t launched yet but should be in the next few weeks. We still got sneak peak on it and could build up our own chatbot during the one hour session.

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Going through the dialog low in the hands-on lab

The bot service cloud had nice user interface where you got to build your own chatbot service. My initial thought was that the layout was really simple and they had some good features which makes it easy to build chatbot using Oracle’s own BotML language. They said the language is basically YAML with some differences to it but they did not go through what are the differences though.

I don’t remember exactly what the different modules were which had to be defined but you build up your dialog flow which is then picked up if the user input matches to that flow. From the developer UI you could also easily add more sentences which match to action required and this was clearly one thing they had put effort on.

After that you defined actions further and if there was requirement to get more data then bot would reply to user with a new question.

In the lab we created simple bot which checked user’s balance from her account. This was two-step action as once the keywords were matched the bot asks which account (check, credit card etc) should the balance be checked and then finally replies with correct balance.

Also there is possibility to modify the BotML directly from the editor. Given sometimes editing YAML is bit frustrating they had made it easier with line breaks going to correct place and so on. In further versions they are going to add new GUI editor there as well which Oracle was excited on.

We did not go through data sources as they said there isn’t enough time to do that in one hour session but from the cloud service you are supposed to be able to add your sources and then build the service using those sources. This is the most interesting part how it will work out.

Once the service is released I will definitely check it out further and see how they have priced it and what you can do with it. I’m at least excited myself that Oracle is looking new clever ways to improve customer / user experience overall. Chatbots don’t need to be just for external users but there is definitely room to look ways to integrate this with your e-Business Suite for example.

Supposedly it integrates with Facebook, Slack and so on.

More information on the service from Oracle’s pages: https://www.oracle.com/solutions/mobile/bots.html

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