5 July 2018

East Africa: Oracle Chatbot Week to Showcase How the Tech Can Transform African Business

Oracle recently announced its Chatbot Week Africa, hosted in cities across the continent to drive awareness of chatbots for different industries and to demonstrate the power of the technology.

"Companies from a range of industries will be impacted by intelligent chatbots in a similar way to the rise of mobile devices. Business to consumer use cases for chatbots are being seen in retail, financial services, travel and hospitality and even in utilities, for service-related and transactional conversations," says Craig Nel, Mobile & Cognitive Experience (MCX) Leader at Oracle Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted in South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town), Mauritius, Kenya, Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja), Senegal, Ivory Coast and Ghana this week 2-6 July 2018.

Chatbot Week Africa offers a number of demonstrations and real-world examples as well as discussions around the business opportunities that chatbot technology can bring for organisations in each country.

"Technologies such as artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine learning come to the fore in African countries with their many cultures and languages," says Nel. "In South Africa we have eleven official languages, but take a country such as Ghana where more than 250 languages and dialects are spoken. One way to attract new customers in Africa is through intelligent chatbots that better understand and process customers' needs, desires and requirements, in a language preferred by the user."

Oracle in June announced the availability of its next-generation Oracle Cloud Platform services featuring built-in autonomous capabilities, including Oracle Mobile Cloud Enterprise. With embedded artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), this platform automates operational tasks to enable organisations to lower cost, reduce risk, accelerate innovation, and obtain predictive insights.

In addition to the self-driving, self-securing, and self-repairing foundational capabilities that are shared by all Oracle Cloud Platform services, additional autonomous capabilities by functional areas now include Mobile and Chatbots.

In the rapidly expanding mobile economy, businesses are looking for smart and personalised ways to engage with customers via mobile devices. With an estimated 5 billion mobile phones used worldwide, Oracle is helping enterprises meet growing customer demand by being able to seamlessly build, integrate, and secure reliable mobile services.

As user behaviour dramatically shifts to mobile and messaging platforms, it is critical for enterprises to evolve to support stakeholders' preferred channels. Oracle Mobile Cloud Enterprise enables businesses to continue strengthening these relationships, even as users move away from engaging on websites and traditional mobile applications to messaging channels.

Features of the new Oracle Mobile Cloud Enterprise include:

Self-learning chatbots observe interaction patterns and preferences to automate frequently performed end-user actions;

Smart bots enabled by machine learning for fluid conversations using natural language;

Automated caching of API calls to nearest data centre in real time for lowest latency responses based on end-user location.

"We are continually improving algorithms around user sentiment, image analysis, language translation, self-learning and behavioural analysis, to both simplify chatbot development and enhance users' experience. In Africa, we will soon see chatbots that will add significant value related to ease of use for healthcare and education amongst many others," adds Nel.

Live production chatbots

Oracle Intelligent Bots use cases range from the public to private sector. Public sector organisations benefit from Facebook messenger chatbots that enable citizens to book appointments online, which reduces call centre costs. Citizens benefit by having an easier way to access services and shorter waiting times. Similarly, a Facebook messenger chatbot can help citizens access election results.

In the conference industry, web personal assistants enhance the conference experience by helping attendees with everything from pre-registration and the agenda to a map to the event and how to get there.

In the healthcare industry, chatbots answer frequently asked questions around diseases and hospitals using chatbots now interact with patients and families in new ways to give a better service, reduce waiting times and maximise service hours.

ases were built in the past year using Oracle Intelligent Bots.

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