Chatbot Platforms

Find the right platform for your chatbot project

illustration of chatbot platforms

What is a Chatbot Platform?

A chatbot or voice assistant is a computer program using artificial intelligence (AI) which conducts a conversation with people over text or voice. This interaction can take place in a number of channels e.g web, mobile, messenger platforms, smart speakers or IVR systems. Conversational AI platforms enable developers and conversational architects to create these conversational experiences.

AI technology has developed to a level where it can mimic some of the complexity of human conversation. Platforms use Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology to help them understand speech, text, and intent, decipher different languages, and respond as a human would. NLU is often a key part of a conversational AI platform, but not always.

Some platforms are specific to certain channels, e.g. Manychat, whilst others are for creating multi-channel conversational agents, e.g. Dialogflow.

Platforms tend to provide similar tools and capabilities, including:

  • Natural Language Understanding, the ability to understand free text questions using trainable models to improve their understanding
  • Speech recognition and speech synthesis
  • Multi-language support
  • Omnichannel integrations, to enable deployment of chatbot and voice projects across platforms including web, mobile, messenger and telephony
  • Visual flow builders to create conversational flows
  • Contextual Handling, a mechanism that allows the conversational agent to remember context from previous statements in order to guide the flow of conversation
  • Flexible ways to integrate with business logic and third-party systems to enable conversational assistants to fulfil their use-case

Our 8 Favourite Platforms

There are a wealth of conversational AI platforms on the market ranging from start-up solutions to the heavyweight players in the cloud computing space.

We've included 8 of our favourites chatbot platforms below, as well as some key information about each of them:

Google Dialogflow

Google's Dialogflow is a natural language understanding platform that started out as API.ai. It was bought by Google and has been one of the most popular conversational AI platforms with over 1.5 million developers.

The Dialogflow platform enables users to create small or very large complex conversational experiences supporting voice or text in multiple languages which can be deployed into a number of different channels. Dialogflow is also at the heart of Google Contact Center AI; enabling enterprises to create advanced contact centre solutions.

Nowadays there are 2 versions of Dialogflow: ES (standard) which is the historical platform and Dialogflow CX which is the latest version offering a new UI and powerful state machine.

dialogflow logo

We Like:

  • Pay-as-you-go pricing
  • New super powerful BERT NLU
  • Testing and CI and Analytics
  • Flow and page support
  • SKD support
  • Easy integration with all the power and scalability of GCloud Services
  • Free version of ES

We Don't Like:

  • CX interface is not exactly drag and drop and is not very intuitive
  • CX could get pricey

IBM Watson Assistant

IBM Watson Assistant is a digital assistant version of IBM Watson artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language conversation system.

Watson was initially developed as a question answering system to compete on the US game show Jeopardy!

Since then, the Assistant platform has been developed to allow users to create advanced conversational experiences.

The platform includes a conversational dialog builder and a content library. Intent recommendations, automatic training and analytics help to improve AI agent capabilities.

ibm watson logo

We Like:

  • Very strong NLU
  • Pay as you go
  • Strong documentation

We Don't Like:

  • Weak channel integration capabilities

Microsoft Azure Bot Service

Another big player in the conversational AI platforms. The Microsoft Azure Bot Service enables you to build intelligent, enterprise-grade chatbots which can be easily deployed to multiple digital channels.

The Bot Framework Composer is an open-source, visual authoring canvas for developers and multi-disciplinary teams to design and build conversational experiences.

Composer makes it easy to create a chatbot and map visual flows as well as build complex integrations.

Context is still not well supported by Luis however there is a labs project: Conversation learner currently in development which promises to handle this requirement.

microsoft azure bot framework logo

We Like:

  • Luis is one of the best NLU
  • Easy integration with extensive Azure services

We Don't Like:

  • Weak channel integration capabilities

Rasa

Rasa is one of the most popular open-source machine learning frameworks for building AI assistants and chatbots.

So far the platforms we’ve mentioned have been based in the cloud. For some organisations, we’ve found that they are uncomfortable putting their data on the cloud.

This can be especially true in finance, insurance and healthcare where use-cases involve sensitive, confidential data.

Rasa keeps your data safe. You can install it on your laptop, or in your data centre, or in your private cloud. It’s fast, stable, and has been downloaded over 10 million times. Rasa also holds contextual understanding at its core.

Rasa X is also an open-source tool built on top of Rasa core and offers easy deployment and training of your automated assistants as well as usability and performance testing.

rasa logo

We Like:

  • Rasa Core is open source
  • The starter packs for building AI assistants
  • Build in integrations
  • Great developer community

We Don't Like:

  • Not a lot!

ManyChat

ManyChat is one of a few platforms which initially concentrated on creating Facebook Messenger chatbots for marketing, sales & support with a focus on growing ROI and revenue. However, the platform now supports WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, SMS and Email. There is a free version and a range of other packages.

The platform powers more than 400,000 businesses across the world and has supported 1bn+ monthly business-to-customer conversations.

ManyChat provides tools to grow your Messenger audience or engage with your current audience. You can send targeted messages and content to all of your subscribers at once. You can also automate your Messenger marketing and send messages from RSS, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube based on time delays, or user interaction-based triggers. The ManyChat visual drag-and-drop chatbot flow builder is also one of the best we’ve seen.

Not an NLU platform like the others mentioned but ManyChat can be integrated with an NLU platform such as Dialogflow and there is plenty of scope for integrations with dynamic content.

manychat logo

We Like:

  • Out of the box templates
  • The brilliant chatbot builder
  • Community

We Don't Like:

  • You are working in the realms of Facebook, so you need to be careful and adhere to their messenger usage

Jovo

Jovo is an open-source conversational AI framework that lets you build voice and chat experiences that work across platforms and devices, for example, Alexa, Google Assistant Facebook Messenger, Instagram and the web. Jovo is constantly being improved, with the latest version 4 recently released.

Jovo is flexible so you can connect your own NLU with the abstracted language model Jovo model, making it easy to train multiple NLU platforms such as Google and Alexa. Jovo also includes an integrated debugging environment.

The Jovo ecosystem also has a marketplace for sharing/finding integrations and there is no shortage of useful resources such as server integrations.

jovo logo

We Like:

  • Great for voice assistants
  • Some cool chat client templates.

We Don't Like:

  • Not as well backed as the bigger platforms
  • No rich UI for building conversations

 

CSML

Slightly different to the other platforms we’ve covered; CSML is both an open-source, domain-specific programming language, and a conversational engine created by Clevy.io.

CSML is actually a fully-fledged programming language with built-in context and memory management. It's also extendable with custom CSML functions.

Its expressive syntax makes it extremely easy to develop complex chatbots, and its processing engine features built-in short and long-term memory, powerful context management, and integrations with other systems through HTTP APIs.

csml logo

We Like:

  • You can plug in your NLU platform of choice
  • The state machine

We Don't Like:

  • Chatbots only
  • No rich UI for building conversation flows
  • Not as well backed as the bigger platforms

OpenAI

OpenAI is an AI research and deployment company. This is not a complete conversational AI platform so different to the other platforms we have covered. However, we’ve been on the beta list for a while and we think it’s one of the most exciting Conversational AI providers.

OpenAI’s mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits everyone. They have created some extremely powerful API’s based on GPT-3.

OpenAI can be applied to any task which involves understanding or generating natural language with a number of different fine-tunable models offering different power levels. There is also a Codex that translates natural language to code.

openai logo

We Like:

  • AI Ethics
  • Mind-blowing capabilities of GPT-3
  • Documentation
  • Growing community and SDK support

We Don't Like:

  • Not having enough time to play with it

Happy Clients

Jamie (Help For Heroes)

"I’m really pleased with the bot and services we’re getting from The Bot Forge. Since we started working with Adrian, he completely lived up to his promises. The end-to-end process has been very slick.

The team was very straightforward to deal with. It was very much about them looking at how they could deliver in the quickest amount of time, with the least amount of investment required.

The Bot Forge understood our pain as a charity with a small team, and they took away a lot of the mystery and fluff from the process."

Chris (Director, Model Office)

"The Bot Forge provides custom software development services for a RegTech company. The team developed a compliance chatbot for the client's platform to provide guidance to their customers.

Excellent, very happy with the personalised services, accommodation of our specific needs within financial services. Their personable and innovative approach was impressive."

Emily (Xe.com)

"We came to The Bot Forge to gain an insight into Chatbot technology, its capabilities and its applications. We found them to be knowledgeable and insightful when discussing bots and AI.

We were particularly interested in how chatbots could help us save on customer service costs and provide a new channel for us to connect with new and existing customers.

The information which we obtained from speaking to The Bot Forge will be invaluable in making more informed decisions in the future about using this technology and we hope to work with them again."

Scott (CEO, Skin Check Champions)

"SPOT BOT has generated a few thousand unique users since its launch without any paid advertising or promotion. Every user is completely organic, spread (as designed) through shares and word of mouth, leading to thousands of skin checks booked and tens if not hundreds of skin cancers found.

A great first dip into the Messenger Bot pool which we're really excited to build on with Bot Forge as a vital partner... It's really lovely to work with them. Very clear communicators. Quick and efficient responses. Strong experience - well applied. Adrian was a really great partner, setting us up for success at all turns. Can't recommend him and his team enough."

Katie (Human Race Events)

"The Bot Forge offered a great service to us for the Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge, which was really helpful for our customers and customer service team alike! They created a Facebook Chatbot based on the FAQs on the event website, which developed over time as more questions came up. Not only did this take some weight off our team and enhance customer experience, but it has also allowed us to better understand what information our riders are seeking, so that we can better answer their questions proactively through the website and social media. Adrian is always available at the drop of a hat, and eager to provide helpful solutions and developments."

Paul (Stitch)

"They’re responsive and organized, providing all the necessary information to track project progress.

The team is incredibly easy to work with. They took our idea and made it into reality."

Carolyn (Fred Whitton Challenge)

"I’m impressed with the chatbot it seemed to work well.

I think it is a good source of help and with it learning as it goes along it would answer lots of questions going forward.

If it cannot help it still contacts the organisers where we can answer."

Jack (Clifford Chance)

"The CIPS Professional Services Group (Procurement) approached The Bot Forge regarding consultancy and the creation of a demonstration Chatbot to support a conference presentation regarding industry 4.0 Technology. This was shown in front of ~100 Procurement professionals on December 2018 at Clifford Chance (London).

The Demonstration Chatbot built by Adrian at The BotForge was brilliant and we received really good feedback on the idea and execution. The Bot Forge perfectly met our requirements.

The team at Botforge will do everything they can to ensure your project is a success at the right price to suit budget! Would fully recommend!"

We're Trusted By...

Reliable Expertise

Google Cloud Partner

The Bot Forge an approved Google Cloud Partner.

We are also recognised, by Google, for Cloud Contact Centre AI expertise.

Highly Rated

The Bot Forge has been consistently chosen as one of the UK's top-ranked AI companies.

Our company is not only 5-star rated, but listed among the best on Clutch.

ManyChat Partner

agency-partner-with-shadow

As a ManyChat Agency Partner, The Bot Forge are recognised experts when it comes to building on top of the #1 chat marketing platform for Facebook Messenger.

Need Help With Your Project?

If you'd like help achieving your chatbot and voice assistant project objectives, please schedule a free consultation with one of our experts.