A WAVE OF NEW ENTERPRISE OFFERINGS
Because of these developments, at least one research firm recently identified conversational interfaces as one of the most important technology trends.24 Corroborating this perspective, a wave of vendor activity has significantly increased the number of conversational UI offerings on the market.
Four broad categories of vendors are emerging. First, legacy chatbot providers such as NextIT25 and Aspect26 are expanding their applications to include dedicated enterprise solutions. Meanwhile, established technology vendors—such as IPSoft, which introduced the virtual assistant Amelia,27 and Microsoft, which is offering a suite of chatbot development tools28—are adding chatbot offerings. Additionally, a host of start-ups have emerged to serve the enterprise market, ranging from platform providers, such as Kore,29 to single-purpose apps, such as x.ai.30 Last, enterprise messaging providers such as Slack31 and Hipchat32 are promoting the use and development of chatbots that work with their platforms.