Avaya has said it will demonstrate the first social platform for chatbots at GITEX Technology Week 2018, “ushering in a giant leap forward in customer self-service.” Drawing parallels from traditional social media, the firm’s offering provides a structured platform for bots to engage each other in a secure and controlled manner, extending the expertise and effectiveness of each individual chatbot. According to Avaya, a global survey of 8,000 consumers it conducted found that 80% of people expect an immediate response from their banks, hospitals, hotels and governments, highlighting the need for efficient and ‘always-on’ customer service. “With automation, organizations can overcome their human resource limitations and meet these customer expectations by delivering seamless, intuitive and intelligent experiences across all touch points. Bots are rapidly becoming one of the most powerful means to positively impact customer service, second only to face-to-face interaction,” said Avaya Innovation SVP Laurent Philonenko. Avaya said a key shortcoming of enterprise chatbots is that they are domain-specific and can respond only to a relatively narrow set of dialogues. “This has limited their ability to fully and efficiently service customers’ requests when they face questions they haven’t been trained to answer,” it added. “But what if we could enable chatbots from different domains and industries to collaborate and exchange information via a highly regulated platform, and find answers from other chatbots, not just humans? We could, in effect, securely link enterprises, significantly expanding the efficacy and expertise of any single bot thereby enabling organizations to deliver an exceptional level of customer service, reducing the need for human intervention and enabling deeper self-service, as well as reducing the need for supervised learning,” added Ahmed Helmy, Solutions Architects Director, Avaya EMEA & APAC. GITEX delegates will witness first-hand how Avaya’s platform would allow any enterprise to register its chatbot with a unique social profile and ‘friend’ other member bots from different domains and industries. This social platform demonstration will also allow chatbots to rate each other, and store confidence metrics based on the quality of information received, and feedback from end customers, leading to constant improvements in each bot’s quality and speed of customer service. Avaya envisages two scenarios for how customer and bot interactions will be handled in real timeeither the original bot contacts a friended bot on the customer’s behalf and delivers the received answer, or the original bot connects the customer to a friended bot in the style of a conference call. “This is a huge step forward in addressing the information and service bottlenecks of chatbot systems,” said Helmy. “The social platform model also means that Avaya’s customers can increase the value of their chatbot solutions without having to engage in lengthy and costly data curation or warehousing projects.”