Various outlets put the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for chatbots at between 24.3% (Business Insider) and 37% (Orbis) for the coming years in revenue terms. In between them, MarketsandMarkets predict growth from $703 million in 2016 to $3,172 million by 2021, for a 35.2% growth rate.
Analyst firm Forrester describes “…chatbot growth as crazy. Bots are easier to develop than apps, and they’re a way to reach consumers where they spend the majority of their time.” The other big IT analyst firm Gartner says that 55% of companies will have a chatbot in operation by the year 2020, with bots operating as a key part of a business and at home for families.
All of which points to a vibrant development and deployment market, with many players looking to help businesses roll out their bots.
While script-base bots will be more than satisfactory for many use cases, Business leaders are already looking at artificial intelligence and natural language processing to help drive the next generation of bots. Flexibility and context will be king as chatbots aim to fit alongside the likes of Alexa and Siri.
AI will help with issues like eliminating human bias from interactions, while natural language processing can widen the topic of conversation and the number of valid responses. Between them these can improve business performance for internal-facing bots, and improve the customer experience for clients or site visitors.
These features and growth drivers like multilingual interfaces, multi-channel capabilities will help chatbots become more capable and universal. That’s the high-level view, but for any company developing a chatbot, they will want the bot, whatever its technical origins, to become more
useful, to be able to answer a wider range of specific questions and provide more information to users.