Imagine the future. We are living in an era when office messaging apps like Slack and HipChat have taken the place of Email and Skype and become the main tools for collaboration at work.
Rising bots for everything
In the morning, we are no longer checking our emails, or maybe only occasionally just to see the valuable updates from our numerous Slack channels and groups. There is a special bot for that.
To get a car, we don’t need to use the Uber app anymore (at least not at the office) as it is much easier and more convenient to hail a car through the bot by just typing ‘@large I need a car to the Workshop Cafe’.
At work, we are scheduling our design reviews and retro meetings through the Meekan right in the main channel of the project by just typing, ‘’@meekan let’s have a retro meeting on Wednesday.’’ The bot will compare our calendars to find open slots and suggest the best time for the group meeting, and — after simple confirmations from the participants — will add the event to everyone’s calendars.
Furthermore, all our business metrics and decisions are augmented with the information from other clever bots. For example, even decisions on what and when to post to social media channels are based on the previous posts’ performance.
Attention is a king for advertising and services.
Slack users spend nearly 10 hours using the app every day. This is a lot of people’s attention that one could use and monetize. There is a good chance that we will see some Slack native advertising platforms (the parts of it are already in place with great Slack API and bot capabilities). Let’s see how it could work.
1) You are just at the beginning of the discussion about where to go for dinner, and a native ad bot can already suggest the best new places nearby.
2) You are starting a private channel with your colleagues to discuss a gift for your boss’s birthday this month. The bot can give you the best possible suggestions right in the message thread based on what it already knows about your team from all previous messages and conversations.
3) You need a ticket to London to attend the conference next week and the bot has found the best fare and all you need is one click to buy it.
Isn’t it great? … Or terrible?
Payment integration and one-click buying
Slack could become a great platform for small one-stop corporate shopping. Every team already has a credit card linked to its account that later can be used for automatic (semi-automatic or one-click) purchases of items, such as lunches in the office, taxi, airline tickets and other day-by-day services.
There should be specific settings for such purchases, such as the maximum limit that the team can spend on services, or a whitelist of services qualified for one-click purchase, etc.
Messaging is a new media
There is a constant search in the tech community for the next big thing to come after mobile. What will be the next tech frontier with explosive growth and the possibility to change the way we live, work, create? I believe that messaging apps and chat bots are empowered with all necessary data about us, and the high level of their AI capabilities have the best chance of getting us to the next level of interactions with the world and other people.
I like the future with bots; they could be really helpful and fun when done right. So let’s create more AI messaging bots, but don’t abuse this nice, new media with spammy native bots too soon.
BTW, if you need help with mobile software development — let us know!
Originally published at stanfy.com on November 5, 2015.