- The 7th edition of the report "Monitoring trends in innovation" of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) shows that by 2025 the value of the global artificial intelligence market will increase to over 190 billion dollars, with an average annual growth rate of 36.6%. At the same time, according to forecasts, solutions based on AI will be implemented by as many as 97% of the largest international companies. Artificial intelligence is also used in solutions proposed by startups in Acceleration Programs, offering the development of innovative technology companies - managed by accelerators we chose - says Mr Dariusz Budrowski, President of PARP.
Technologies based on artificial intelligence are used not only by business giants, but also by smaller companies from our country. Poland ranks seventh in the European Union and at the same time first in the region of Central and Eastern Europe in terms of the number of experts working on the development or implementation of artificial intelligence - according to the report "State of Polish AI 2021" by the Digital Poland Foundation.
What are chatbots? What are their advantages?
One of the most popular examples of the use of artificial intelligence in business are virtual customer assistants, i.e. chatbots and voicebots. Chatbot is a computer program used to conduct a conversation that imitates human behavior, e.g. by automating answers to repetitive questions. In turn, a voicebot is - to put it simply - a voice chatbot.
In 2020, the value of the global chatbot market was estimated at USD 430.9 million. According to Grand View Research, by 2028 it will reach a value of almost USD 2.5 billion with an annual growth rate of 24.9%. Forecasts indicate that by 2024 the number of voice assistants may reach 8.4 billion, which is more than the world's population.
A survey conducted by the Symetria agency showed that respondents prefer to talk to a bot due to the possibility of getting a quick answer (36% of respondents expect it immediately). For 21% of users, chatbots are the easiest way to communicate with the company. Other advantages of chatbots include: the possibility of using them at any time of the day or night, they are good for shy people, they allow companies to reduce costs and can relieve employees of repetitive, monotonous activities.
Virtual customer assistants operate on the basis of more and more advanced technologies, and a growing number of companies begin to notice the benefits of using them. Polish startups offer interesting solutions in the field of chatbots and voicebots. The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) supported the development of their products thanks to Acceleration Programs, financed from the Smart Growth Operational Program (PO IR).
European funds support startups offering AI-based solutions
- Thanks to the PO IR funds, our accelerators have supported over 600 startups since 2018, of which almost 500 have already successfully implemented the acceleration program. Among 130 cases of market implementations there are also those in the field of AI - notes Mr Marcin Seniuk, director of the Startup Development Department at PARP.
One of the companies that received industry support and a grant for the development of its product is Roboticon Sp. z o. o. The aim of the project was to prepare and launch a chatbot enabling customer service for the Tauron company. As part of the project, a solution was developed to install a widget (chatbot) for communication with customers in the areas of: contact / help (chatbot responsible for handling the first contact process with the customer); contracts (chatbot responsible for handling the process of rewriting the contract / signing a new contract) and photovoltaics (chatbot capable of providing answers / hints for the client, enabling the decision related to the purchase of photovoltaics).
- We implemented the project together with the Technology Recipient - Tauron S.A. in the Krakow Technology Park during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Poland. The need to adapt to the prevailing restrictions resulted in changes in the customer service department, i.e. from a traditional visit to contact by phone or e-mail. When looking for a contact, customers used the Tauron website to find a telephone numer - then they found our chatbot, which solved many problems without having to wait for a phone call. Our software helped to solve the problems of the energy company, which were developed with a dedicated team responsible for the first line of contact with the client. Our software and the experience of the Technology Recipient enabled quick service and assistance to customers in the field of information about planned interruptions in electricity supply, change of the meter owner or finding the appropriate forms. As part of the second milestone, we collaborated with the sales team during acceleration. We have developed scenarios in which the chatbot helped in signing a new contract or selling additional products from the Tauron company's portfolio. Our last milestone was the biggest challenge - also from the software side. It was a module that selected the appropriate set of photovoltaic panels and made it possible to order a visit by an installer - emphasizes the president of Roboticon, Mr Łukasz Kafel.
- After the acceleration was completed, the project was commercially implemented for 13 months. Our chatbot was written in Cloud Native technology (mainly with Lambda functions), which allowed us to build a scalable solution with a maintenance cost below USD 10/month, with millions of conversations with customers. An additional curiosity was that our UX/UI, which was based on the interface of decision graphs, was built two years ago, and now we see that the largest solutions are also moving in this direction - he adds.
The biggest advantages of chatbots include: speed of service, no learning barriers (a new employee requires additional courses and trainings), 24-hour service, the ability to quickly search through large databases, the ability to solve a large number of repetitive problems without the need of an employee intervention, cost optimization in the enterprise, no language barrier (multi-language support). He emphasizes that although chatbots are an excellent tool to support sales / sales processes, they will not replace people, because someone has to program them in advance, and for complicated questions, write a good algorithm that will allow you to quickly get answers.
Currently, Roboticon Sp. z o. o. is involved in the production of software and runs projects for dedicated solutions in the e-commerce industry, as well as systems related to toll collection on highways. - In these systems, we have customer support modules that use technology developed during acceleration - emphasizes the company's president.
Another company that received acceleration support from the PO IR funds is Teldoc sp.z o.o. The main goal of their project was to improve the patient service process and make the healthcare system more efficient and "human". Thanks to this, patients are to receive care appropriate to their needs, not necessarily the most expensive procedure. Teldoc creates voicebots - virtual medical assistants based on AI, neurolinguistic programming and medical knowledge.
"Our latest project is the cooperation with the Nencki Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Thanks to the use of the institute's proprietary research method for asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 carriers, Teldoc provided the entire platform for patient service: voice bots for epidemiological interviews, a web portal for patients, QR code scanners with an application for collection points and laboratories. Thanks to the cooperation in the SONAR system, we are able to offer tests faster and cheaper than the traditional testing methods. These factors, plus the fact that all tests are performed contactless, make SONAR a great solution for testing the mass population", says the project description.
It's also worth mentioning the products of Shopai Sp. z o.o. The company creates solutions that, based on the latest achievements in the field of artificial intelligence, provide business customers with values that build their competitive advantage. One of the co-financed projects assumed the construction of an innovative voicebot tool for handling and analyzing calls in the Santander Leasing call center. The second project, on the other hand, was to create and test a chatbot for Bank Pekao S.A., including designing a technological architecture that includes connecting a chatbot to a mobile application.
The company Botwise.io also benefited from acceleration programs financed from the EU funds. They created a special platform for managing distributed knowledge in the organization. The solution allows you to quickly search documents, websites and data from various systems and applications. The intelligent chatbot window created in the course of acceleration provides all employees with a place of access to the distributed knowledge of the organization.
“Unlike traditional chatbots, BOTWISE does not require time-consuming scenario design and prediction of specific user interactions. Proprietary algorithms using artificial intelligence automatically process the added documents and match their fragments to the content of the questions asked. Thanks to this, the very start and scaling of the knowledge base is very easy and effective”, we read on the company's website.