- BET, the cable and satellite TV network that’s available in 86.1 million households, will debut a Facebook Messenger bot to help attendees at the BET Experience, a four-day festival in Los Angeles that ends with the BET Awards show on June 25, Digiday reported.
- Conversable, an Austin, Texas-based developer of artificial intelligence apps, created the bot to answer attendee questions about directions and event times and to share content like GIFs and other images from the festival as they happen. The bot will also send out call-to-action requests to watch the BET Awards broadcast and other follow-up messages after the event.
- About 165,000 people attended the BET Experience last year, a 10% gain from 2015.
Chatbots have received mixed reviews on Facebook since the social network introduced a software development kit last year to encourage publishers to develop bots for its platform. Since then, about 100,000 bots have been developed of varying quality and capabilities, according to VentureBeat, and they're being rapidly adopted to handle simple interactions between businesses and their customers, such as handling transactions and content sharing.
BET’s bot appears to be designed to handle straightforward and simple queries, which may avoid some of the complaints about chatbots being clunky and difficult to use. The TV network avoided making an early jump into bot development after seeing the results from other publishers. “We didn’t really see the promise in many of the examples that were out there,” Kenneth Gibbs, vice president of social media marketing strategy for BET Networks, told Digiday. “But this offered us a great opportunity to assist our visitors in a physical environment.”
In the past month, heavyweights like Facebook, Google and Microsoft have announced new ways to find and use bots on their respective chat platforms, according to VentureBeat. At its annual developers conference in April, Microsoft said that the 130,000 software programmers using the company's Bot Framework can publish their bots on its Bing search engine. With that kind of progress in support for bots, they'll likely continue to expand in use as more companies and users grow accustomed to the new tech and bots become increasingly human-like.