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Why am I all up in arms here? What happened? On September 17th Apple’s iOS 12 update launched. What about it? Well, some time ago Apple gave a sneak peak of the things to come. One of those things was native support for a new 3D format called USDZ. Clearly I’m still not making any sense on the importance of this. Let’s roll back here and start at the beginning. In unison with Pixar (yes, from the movies) Apple defined (or will support, whatever) a new file format for 3D objects called USDZ. just like you have “.JPG” for images, or “.m4v” for movies, you’ll now have a “.USDZ” file format for 3D assets. USDZ stands for “Zero-compression, unencrypted zip archive” of the USD (Universal Scene Description) format (pfew). In and of itself, this isn’t a biggie. There are plenty of 3D formats out there. …


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This is episode 9 of the series. Be sure to check out the previous episodes here:

S01E01 S01E02 S01E03 S01E04 S01E05 S01E06 S01E07 S01E08

Already read these? Super. Let’s dive right in then.

What’s up with those domains, contexts, intents and entities?

Every conversation we have is a combination of contexts, intents and entities, often spanning multiple domains. It is your job to detect all of these in the previous exercise mentioned in episode 7 and construct your bot functionality to encompass these concepts.

Intents

Let’s start with intents first. Unless you build a very rigid action based bot (which can have it’s purposes) chances are you’ll not be able to write out your bot to react to exact phrases. Quick example: Imagine 5 different ways to greet someone. Now imagine you write code to react to each of these 5 greetings. Great. …


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This is episode 8 of the series. Be sure to check out the previous episodes here:

S01E01 S01E02 S01E03 S01E04 S01E05 S01E06 S01E07

Already read these? Super. Let’s dive right in then.

I know, I know. I promised to talk about domains, contexts, intents and entities in bot conversations, and how to develop for these. But given the recent evolutions in the bot landscape, I wanted to splice in a short article on why I believe bots will actually sneak into your life without you noticing it.

The trojan horses amongst bots.

So I’m guessing you all have a smartphone? And chances are a lot of you have one of those fancy little battery powered bluetooth speakers lying around. You know, the little speaker sets that you, given your kids didn’t steal them and took them up to their rooms never to be seen by you again, take along outside when doing some gardening, or when camping or whatever. Always nice to have some tunes. But they remain a bit tinny so you glance at ways to connect your hifi system to streaming services, in order to get some decent tunes. And you end up buying connected speakers like Sonos. They’re nothing fancy. …


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This is episode 8 of the series. Be sure to check out the previous episodes here:

S01E01 S01E02 S01E03 S01E04 S01E05 S01E06 S01E07

Already read these? Super. Let’s dive right in then.

I know, I know. I promised to talk about domains, contexts, intents and entities in bot conversations, and how to develop for these. But given the recent evolutions in the bot landscape, I wanted to splice in a short article on why I believe bots will actually sneak into your life without you noticing it.

The trojan horses amongst bots.

So I’m guessing you all have a smartphone? And chances are a lot of you have one of those fancy little battery powered bluetooth speakers lying around. You know, the little speaker sets that you, given your kids didn’t steal them and took them up to their rooms never to be seen by you again, take along outside when doing some gardening, or when camping or whatever. Always nice to have some tunes. But they remain a bit tinny so you glance at ways to connect your hifi system to streaming services, in order to get some decent tunes. And you end up buying connected speakers like Sonos. They’re nothing fancy. …


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This is episode 6 of the series. Be sure to check out the previous episodes here:

S01E01 S01E02 S01E03 S01E04 S01E05 S01E06

Already read these? Super. Let’s dive right in then.

In episode 6 of this series, we covered step 2 of our discovery phase in bot development (how to define our bot personality).

Let’s repeat the steps here quickly:

In this episode we’ll cover how to define what your bot actually does.

Define your bot functionality

It’s about services

Just to be clear here. Given that you started thinking about a bot means you have at least a rough idea on what your bot should be doing. That, in combination with the insights you gathered from the previous steps in this methodology, should make it clear on what the main functionality of the bot should be. …


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This is episode 6 of the series. Be sure to check out the previous episodes here:

S01E01 S01E02 S01E03 S01E04 S01E05

Already read these? Super. Let’s dive right in then.

In episode 5 of this series, we covered step 1 of our discovery phase in bot development (how to define for whom to build a bot).

Let’s repeat the steps here quickly:

  • For whom are we building a bot? (link to episode 5)
  • Who is our bot?
  • How do we define what our bot does?
  • How do we test and evaluate our bot?

In this episode we’ll cover how to define who your bot is. …


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episode 5 of the Bot Chronicles series.

This is episode 5 of the series. Be sure to check out the previous episodes here:

S01E01 S01E02 S01E03 S01E04

Already read these? Super. Let’s dive right in then.

In episode two of this series we covered a number of questions we were hoping to answer in our R&D.
From a “bot development discovery and definition” perspective we came up with this main question:

Which UX and functional methodologies are we missing in order to provide a proper discovery and Functional Analysis (FA) phase for bot creation?

We’ll try to answer this question in this article.

For whom are we building a bot?

In short, we’ll need to know what methodologies and tools we can re-use from our existing stack or which ones we’ll need to re-invent or adapt to provide answers to the following…


The Bot Chronicles S01E04

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Missed something? Read the previous episode S01E03

If Lego Technics is for the big boys, Chatfuel would be best described as the Lego DUPLO series. Which is good, since I don’t know how to write code. A tool that brings (basic) bot creation to the masses. So I went ahead and created a companion bot to this Bot Chronicles Series!

Meet Ref-it (due to powers beyond my own it is now called Frankie. Helas.), our very own Chatbot:


Intro into the R&D mindset

The original purpose of The Bot Chronicles series was to involve you in our R&D project for bot development. In this episode we’ll cover the scope of our R&D. What do we want to research and why?

Within The Reference we have a thorough R&D submission flow. It’s all fine and dandy to start mucking about with new technology (and often one learns a great deal this way) but in the end we’re still a business that needs to make money. This means that every R&D request needs to be backed up with a vision on how the learnings from the R&D will help us in the long run. This does not mean they need to “make money”. There are plenty of R&D project that in and of themselves don’t generate money, but in the long run they need to provide a benefit of some sorts. …


Our homes are being invaded by AI-infused smart speakers. I’m talking about Google Home and whatever form the Amazon Echo is poured into at the moment (I’m betting there will be a flower pot version soon).

We’re moving into a voice first world.

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The move from mainframes all the way to Voice First

We came from big mainframes, and moved from PC’s to laptops/netbooks. Then tablets and smartphones came along: the “mobile first” era. But now it seems a “Voice first” period is coming along and for the first time, we’re bumping into a new barrier we’ll need to overcome: Speech.

Websites don’t suffer too much from these localisation issues. Most sites can handle multiple languages quite well, and translation is pretty straightforward. Even if you don’t speak the language, chances are you can still perform most tasks on a site that is not in your mother tongue. …

Frank De Graeve

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