Notes from Microsoft Ignite OD212 – Conversational AI powered Customer and Employee Virtual Assistants
My notes from Conversational AI powered Customer and Employee Virtual Assistants, delivered by Darren Jefford, Principal Group Program Manager , Microsoft
What is Conversational AI?
Mixture of out of box solutions, plus the individual components, such as Bot Framework and Cognitive Services.
Over 2.5 BILLION monthly messages sent using Bot Framework with over 500,000 developers! Big names including BBC and CDC.
Bot Framework 4.10 – Update to Composer – now has QnA support, Orchestrator in Preview, investments in Virtual Assistant.
QnA Maker – multi-turn support, rich text editing, role-based access control. Moving forward – more simplification around management of resources needed for QnA Maker
Language Understanding – new, much easier labelling experience
Azure Bot Service – Alexa channel in Preview, SSO Preview for WebChat and Teams (end users won’t be prompted to log in when using web chat / Teams), Adaptive Cards 2.0 brings new features, human handoff support
Can now create from a knowledge base:
Why? Because you can then extend it after it’s built the template from the KB. Embeds the creation of the KB, creates the basic QnA experience you can then extend and customise:
Can also create from template, including a VA Core template. Makes it much easier to see what the VA bot is doing, and the utility functions it provides. Includes some interruption diaglog examples, which look really good (for example, why do you need my name).
Demo of bot storage for welcoming user, doing QnA pairs, lookup data via skill:
Orchestrator built into Composer and can be used as a Recognizer Type. Advantage over LUIS is it uses a transformer model – you just need to provide keywords for the domain. Means you can simply “wire up” a skill into your bot. That’s pretty cool!
Some nice changes coming to Composer to group together skills into a Bot Project, to make it easier to bring together multiple skills into one project:
Integration with Power Virtual Agents
Will be able to launch Composer from P-VA, build a bot and then combine back into P-VA. Coming later this year.
Demo of Direct line and Alexa support. (see my blog post from earlier this year about Alexa Support)
WhatsApp integration from infobip via a special adaptor. Infobip WhatsApp Adapter for Bot Builder v4 .NET SDK
Investing significantly in a “new creation and management experience for Conversational AI built around the Virtual Assistant work”.
Telephony Capabilities – will be able to connect your bot to a telephone number