F8 review – Good news for chatbots

Facebook held its biggest event last week in San Jose, California. The F8 conference an annual conference for developers was kicked off with a Tuesday morning keynote from CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The audience got to learn more about what Facebook is working on. A new privacy focus, redesign for many of its sites and apps… But what does this mean for an enterprise chatbot provider like Talk-A-Bot?

F8 conference 2019
source: The Verge

The 6 most important changes revealed at the F8 Conference:

1. Instagram – WhatsApp Messenger cross-platform calls

Cross-platform calls were announced at the F8 Conference. We expect that business messaging and the chatbot API will be unified.
Firstly, this will standardize many common features across the platforms. As a result, chatbot developers will be able to handle them more easily.
Secondly, it will open up huge market opportunities. For instance, WhatsApp is the dominant chat app in many target countries for Talk-A-Bot. Also, it has the capacity to charge its users. This is clearly an opportunity for business messaging.
As an example, WhatsApp’s business product catalog pilot was very successful in India with 1M users. People were enabled to send and receive money. It turns out, users trust chat platforms to do serious business.

2. Facebook Privacy

Mark Zuckerberg finally realized the value of privacy. Above all, it is key for long-term success and business capability.

“We believe that for the future, people want a privacy-focused social platform. I believe that if we build out a fully encrypted interoperable service… that’s going to be an important contribution to the world.” – said Zuckerberg.

We agree, and we’re looking forward to the new, fully encrypted world. It will clearly help business-related communication. Furthermore, it will make more users trust the platform.

3. A more efficient version of Messenger (under 30MB)

A lighter and faster version of Messenger it’s something that everyone has been waiting for. For one thing, many users expressed their disappointment with the speed of the application, both on Google Play and the Apple store. In addition, the app requires huge storage. But still, there are 20 billion messages sent each month. People-to-business messaging on Messenger still has massive growth too. Currently, there are over 40 million active businesses messaging people across the globe. Facebook made one of our main chatbot platforms harder, better, faster, stronger. And for that, we’re absolutely grateful. Even if the technology changes behind the Facebook app – it won’t affect our APIs.

4. Out of the box business functions

Facebook is bringing appointment booking to the Messenger API. In other words, you can have an instant booking, real-time availability, and reminders.

“Appointment booking is a common way that people and businesses are already interacting on our platform, so we built a dedicated solution that can be integrated with a business’ calendaring system to provide people with the most up-to-date appointment availability.”

As a result, these new features will help developers’ jobs, too. More tools mean more opportunities!

5. Easy Authentication

Facebook will also be launching a new feature for m.me links — Authentication. This will allow businesses to direct already authenticated customers (either on a mobile app or website) seamlessly into a Messenger thread. This will create an instantly personalized experience. Easy Authentication will complement the existing account linking platform feature and it will also help businesses handle common care issues such as billing inquiries, refunds, and more. Cool!

6. Messenger for Desktop

“Messenger for Desktop” is coming later this year. This opportunity gives us a new-old platform our bots will be available on.

Besides the many new features, it’s good to see that Facebook continues to invest in its enterprise product “Workplace”. This is great as more and more employees want a social platform-like internal communication. While “Workplace” is well-targeted at the knowledge workers, CHEQ by Talk-A-Bot is designed to do the same for deskless workers. Click here to read more about CHEQ!

Based on these announcements we expect the chatbot market to mature and bloom further. All in all, we’re excited to see how these changes help us connect businesses with their customers over Messenger in new ways.