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The Future of Conversational AI

Predictions from the experts

Trends of 2021

Increased enterprise investment in conversational AI

Our experts saw enterprises significantly increase their investments in conversational AI through building out their own internal teams. As Alex Weidauer puts it, large enterprises are “doubling down” on conversational AI. Joan Palmiter Bajorek also points out how enterprises shifted from having one or two people experimenting with chatbots, to hiring whole teams rapidly.

Covid-19 accelerated adoption

A common theme mentioned by our experts was the impact of Covid-19 on conversational AI. The demand for chatbots and virtual assistants increased as businesses reacted to Covid-19 social distancing and shelter-in-place orders. As Laetitia Cailleteau describes it, there was a Covid “surge.”

Multimodal design — the rise of mobile

Our experts saw an increase in multimodal use cases and design approaches. In particular, there was an increase in building for mobile experiences. As Cathy Pearl indicates, people are getting more comfortable switching modes within a customer journey — starting with voice on a device, then swiping through options on a screen, and tapping and typing responses. Alex adds most of the successful virtual assistants in the enterprise are tightly integrated into mobile apps.

Voice taking off for utility use cases

After years of optimism, the experts are finally starting to see voice assistants take off for real, utility use cases, like customer service. As Maaike Coppens states, people in the voice industry have been eagerly awaiting voice to take off, and we finally saw that happen as voice experiences moved beyond “gimmicky” use cases to utility ones, and multimodal experiences.

Leveraging data for better user experiences

Our experts saw advancements in the underlying technologies and use of data to improve user experiences.

Predictions for 2022

More strategic use cases

While the pandemic may have brought about an increase in tactical chatbots to solve immediate needs, our experts see enterprises moving to more strategic investments in 2022. Alex predicts more and more enterprises will move to strategic implementations. Alan also sees enterprises seeing the benefits of conversational AI and refocusing from pandemic related use cases to future roadmaps.

Empathy, inclusion, and accessibility

A common prediction, or hope for the future, from our experts was to see more empathy, inclusion, and accessibility within conversational AI experiences. For example, Cathy looks forward to more diverse voices and personas, as well as normalizing and exposing people to a wider variety of speakers, genders, and communication styles. Lisa adds to this with the hope to see improvements in voice recognition of non-native speakers. In addition, Laetitia hopes to see a more formalized code of conduct, or ethics charter, for conversational AI interactions.

Increase in multimodal experiences

While our experts saw an increase in multimodal experiences in 2021, they are predicting even more investment in 2022. As Jake predicts, voice and text interfaces will continue to blend as users expect they can talk to digital experiences and/or click to interact.

Leveraging data for optimization and personalization

Data and analytics are especially important in conversational AI as communication is free-form and unstructured — users can say whatever they want, and however they want.

Multi-bot Orchestration

A relatively new concept in conversational AI is multi-bot orchestration, wherein a “master chatbot” directs users to other use-case-specific chatbots. For example, a financial institution may have separate chatbots to handle commercial, consumer, and mortgage use cases and a master chatbot that orchestrates the interactions across them.

Expansion into other technologies

Some of our experts are excited to see conversational AI expand into additional technology areas like AR/VR and the Metaverse. Alan predicts conversational AI will expand into these virtual experiences. Maaike envisions similar expansion into AR/VR, and quite possibly into NFT with “art you talk with.”

In their own words

Alan Kiernan, CTO/Co-founder Cation Consulting / Parly

2021 Trends

Alex Weidauer, CEO/Co-founder, Rasa

2021 Trends

Braden Ream, CEO/Co-founder, Voiceflow

2021 Trends

Cathal McGloin, CEO/Co-founder, ServisBot

2021 Trends

Cathy Pearl, Design Manager Google Assistant, Google

2021 Trends

Jake Tyler, CEO/Co-founder,

2021 Trends

Joan Palmiter Bajorek, CEO, Women in Voice

2021 Trends

Laetitia Cailleteau, Global Lead for Conversational AI, Accenture

2021 Trends

Lisa Falkson, Senior VUI Designer, Amazon

2021 Trends

Maaike Coppens, Chief Design Officer, OpenDialog

2021 Trends

Maria Crosas Batista, Conversational AI Product Owner, Nestle

2021 Trends

Sherry Comes, Managing Director Conversational AI, Deloitte

2021 Trends



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Arte Merritt

Chatbot, Voice Assistant, and AI Entrepreneur; Conversational AI partnerships at AWS; Former CEO/Co-founder Dashbot