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Basic conversation concepts

Whenever you talk to Alexa, Google Assistant, or a chatbot, you are having a conversation. The only difference is that in the case of voice assistant devices, speech is automatically transferred to text and vice versa.

All those systems are quite similar, both by conversational flow and technical implementation.

Conversation flows like this:

  • bot greets the user and offers basic info about possible options
  • the user makes a request
  • bot either understands the request, does some action and informs the user about further options, or the bot doesn’t understand user intent and asks for missing details
  • the user performs the next request

As you can see, it’s basically like a real conversation.

Now, let’s take a look at how it looks under the hood and what are the relations between Convoworks (bot engine) and targeted platforms.

When the user uses the bot or voice assistant, he is interacting with the platform-specific interface. It might be one of the smart speakers, it might be a Viber application, in any case, it is related to some external platform. That means that in handling user requests, the platform is the first in the chain and the platform forwards that request to the bot engine (Convoworks in our case).

That communication is enabled by using webhooks for different platforms so that they know where to forward requests. Mainly, in Convoworks you do not have to worry about webhooks because the system will propagate correct information to the targeted platforms, but it is good to know how the overall concept works.

It is useful to know that some platforms just forward textual information (Viber, Messenger, webchat) while others enrich requests with predefined intent information (Alexa, Google Assistant via Dialogflow).

Summary

  • When the user communicates with the bot or voice assistant, the requests are initially handled by the particular platform server and then they are forwarded to the Convoworks webhook
  • Some platforms will send just text that the user entered (Viber, Messenger), some platforms are using the intent model (Amazon Alexa, Dialogflow)
  • Convoworks will take care of configuring webhooks and unifying requests from different platforms