Microsoft Previews a Smarter Skype With Bots, Cortana Integration
The company shows off how Skype Bots and Cortana will help deliver new interactive experiences for brands and their customers.One of the major themes of this year's Build developer conference in San Francisco is "Conversations as a Platform." Microsoft envisions ushering in an era of conversational intelligence, in which devices, software tools and cloud services coalesce to form intelligent "conversational canvases," as CEO Satya Nadella termed the concept during his keynote presentation yesterday. One of those canvases is Skype, the popular voice and video communications software with more than 300 million users. One way Microsoft is readying Skype for the conversational computing era is with helper bots and Cortana integration. "The Skype that you know and love is going to be smarter, more helpful and entertaining," said Lilian Rincon, principal group program manager of the Skype Consumer division at Microsoft, during her presentation at Build yesterday. "We are moving into a world where you will soon be able to plan trips, shop, even talk to intelligent bots, all from within Skype chats." Using a Windows smartphone, Rincon then demonstrated how a Skype text chat can act as a springboard to interconnected experiences and new opportunities for brands to engage with customers.
Within a Skype chat session, Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant technology, picked up a mention of the upcoming Codess conference in a video message that was sent to Rincon. Cortana then assisted her in blocking off the conference dates in her calendar and connecting her with a Skype bot belonging to the Westin Hotel group to help book a room based on the information previously gathered by Cortana.