Bots Outpacing The Growth Of Smartphone Apps In 2016

Countless number of apps in Google Play Store and in the Apple store have inundated users with games, productivity apps and health apps all promising to improve life quality. Industry observers have been calling the rise of apps and the smartphone as the fourth revolution, but analysts are seeing a newer wave of technology that may surpass the impact of apps. Here comes the bots!

What are Bots? described bots as sophisticated software programs that are coded to either simulate human conversation about different topics or automate preprogrammed tasks.

Bots are early types of artificial intelligence which Google has used in its "Google Now" and Amazon which employed it in "Alexa," the voice assistant in its wireless speaker device Echo.

Despite being in its early stages, several consumer applications are already available using bots like buying movie tickets online or making hotel reservations. Some businesses are already using bots to do former human tasks like handling customer service and scheduling meetings.

A Changing Landscape: App to Bot 

Wall Street bank Citigroup Inc. opines in its latest research that the development of bots powered by artificial intelligence is proliferating faster than smartphone apps.

Citibank analyst Mark May said, as quoted by Bloomberg, that the decision of Facebook to transform its ubiquitous Messenger app into platform not only for text messaging but also for commercial transactions using automatic responding chat bots seems to signal a possible shift of software development in the mobile landscape from smartphone apps to the creation of bots.

Facebook's move runs parallel with Apple's latest announcement that it will create an app/bot store specifically for its iMessenger with the launch of iOS10. Microsoft has followed suit with the launch of its "Bot Framework" software tools for software developers, 

The Citibank analyst explained that in comparison to app development, the rise of bots in smartphones and websites has been dramatic lately. 

He compares the rate of growth Apple Inc.'s App Store and Facebook's bot creation platform for its Messenger app.

Both groups have had significant increases, but bots outpaced apps in growth rate. According to May, bots currently has three times more active developers than smartphone apps.

Speculations say that the rise of bots will further integrate people and machines in daily life bringing to reality what tech savvy people have called as the "Internet of Things. "

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