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67% Users Prefer Virtual Assistants with a ‘Friendly’ Personality: Study by Haptik




Haptik has published a research study on “Virtual Assistant Personality Preference Among Urban English Speakers”. The study was conducted by Brinda Mehra, a Psychology student investigating the effects of inserting personality in chatbots and virtual assistants, and its influence on customer experiences primarily across three domains- likelihood of re-engagement, comfort levels and estimation of productivity and efficiency.

The research paper is available for download here.

As a part of the study, Haptik conducted experiments using bots with three distinct personality types:

  • Transactional bot(impersonal and serious bot solely focused on efficiently completing tasks).
  • Prosocial bot (attempts to mimic a ‘helping hand’, engaging in social niceties and easing users through task completion).
  • Friendly bot (emotional and energetic bot that uses slang and pop culture references, simulating conversations between close friends).

The study revealed that urban English speakers overwhelmingly prefer virtual assistants that exhibit a friendly personality – rating them higher than more impersonal, purely ‘transactional’ assistants when it comes to factors such as comfort level and efficiency while completing tasks. They were also more likely to re-engage with ‘friendly’ assistants.

In the first experiment, participants, aged between 18-50, were asked to order food using each of the three bots. Although their ages varied drastically, their demographics were roughly the same. All participants had completed or were completing some level of tertiary education, had access to a smartphone or laptop (if not both) and were fluent English speakers living in metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Hong Kong.

They were then asked to rate each of the three bots on a Likert scale, on three parameters – likelihood of re-engaging with the bot, their comfort level with the bot, and the efficiency with which the bot completed the task at hand.

The results of the experiment were as follows:

  • 40% of participants said that they felt extremely comfortable interacting with the friendly bot.
  • Participants were nearly three times more likely to state that they would definitely want to interact with the friendly chatbot again, as compared to the transactional bot.
  • The friendly bot was nearly four times more likely to get the highest rating for productivity and efficiency, as compared to the transactional bot.
  • The average ranking of the friendly chatbot was around 22% higher than that of the transactional bot.

The overwhelming preference for the friendly personality was further validated by the second experiment, with participants being asked to rate the three types of personalities based on viewing an interaction with a chat-based dictionary. The participants of the second experiment were aged 11 to 15, indicating that the preference for the friendly bots applies across age groups. The findings revealed that 67% of participants expressed a preference for the friendly bot, over the prosocial and transactional types. Qualitative feedback collected from the participants indicated that the friendly bot made them “feel like they were talking to another human being”. The use of gifs, slang and emojis by this bot also appealed to them.

What this means for the future of user engagement?

The one-of-its-kind study by Haptik has revealed interesting insights that can have far-reaching effects on how we understand man-machine engagement today.  “The popularity of the friendly bot gives enterprises a new perspective to look at conversational AI solutions,” said Prateek Gupte, VP – Product at Haptik. “The evolution of virtual assistant personalities is currently enjoying the beginning of its golden age.  This study is an important contribution to the literature on the subject. At Haptik, we have continuously stressed on building bots that have both a distinct personality along with targeted utility.  Chatbots and virtual assistants, after all, are essentially the 24×7 voice of enterprises and brands to engage with end-users. Therefore, they are best served to have bots which can make conversations fun for users and something to look forward to.”

Interestingly, Haptik has been doing significant work in the field of enhancing user experience in chatbot engagement. Its research team conducts extensive, granular level analysis of each element involved in chatbot conversations, such as the font, sound design, tonality of conversation, length of sentences, and even the emoticons used.

Kartik Poddar, Haptik’s Business Head, also commented on the study by saying “While there have been previous studies on bot personality, they have largely focused on general conversation chatbots like Mitsuku or Xiaoice. Our study is a rare experimental investigation on the role that personality plays in the context of enterprise virtual assistants. It will certainly inform our approach to designing superior conversational experiences for our partners – by enhancing our understanding of how to make human-to-machine interactions a lot more engaging, while still keeping our partners’ unique brand voice and personality in mind.”

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Tata Communications Joins Hand with CII to Launch ‘The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge’





Tata Communications has partnered with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and used the platform of HackerEarth, to launch a 3-month long hackathon, called, ‘The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge’ (#giiotic), for engineering students from 26 select colleges and universities across India. Riding on the theme, ‘Solutions that create a better society,’ students are invited to build prototypes of IoT enabled solutions based on the LoRaWANTM specification. The students will have access to Tata Communications’ dedicated IoT network, IoT platform and expert mentorship offered by Tata Communications and an opportunity to compete for prizes amounting to INR 9.5 lakhs.

With global advancements in technology, a strengthening local startup ecosystem, and access to a young talent pool, India is on its way to becoming the next innovation hub for the world. The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge is an initiative by Tata Communications to engage with India’s youth to build solutions to cater to the digital transformation needs that will enable government bodies, corporates, private institutions, amongst others, to make data driven proactive decisions, thereby enhancing organisational and public engagement and transforming our living and work spaces into a smart environment.

The 3-month long challenge is divided into three phases: idea submission, prototype development and the grand finale. Tata Communications will provide the students with Raspberry Pi™ kits, access to LoRaWAN-based technology, expert mentorship, and more to build impactful IoT solutions and guide them through this journey.

“We are rapidly progressing towards a future where people and devices are all connected. Unless there is awareness of the true potential of IoT as a ‘public good’ to be shared by all, its commercial and social potential won’t be truly realised in India.” said VS Shridhar, Senior Vice President & Head, Internet of Things, Tata Communications. “The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge is Tata Communications’ endeavor to invest in and nurture India’s youth by giving them the platform to apply their academic learnings to a practical scenario, by prototyping innovative IoT solutions. This practical experience will benefit them hugely as they enter the job markets and get ready to take on real life civic and corporate challenges.”

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII said, “India is rapidly progressing on the path of digital transformation and requires continued collaboration across industry bodies, governments and corporates to realise the full potential of IoT. Tata Communications’ technology and leadership have been at the forefront of our country’s IoT innovation and we are thrilled to partner with them and engage with talented youth to create path-breaking solutions for a better tomorrow.”

Tata Communications has played a key role in enabling IoT solutions globally – from providing a fully managed IoT solution through the Tata Communications MOVE™ platform to ensuring an end to end IOT solutions in India based on LoRaWAN.

Earlier this year, Tata Communications, in partnership with CII, set to launch the CII – Tata Communications Centre for Digital Transformation, to help organisations in India unlock the true benefits of digital technologies. The newly formed CII – Tata Communications Centre for Digital Transformation will act as a catalyst to accelerate digital change for the nation by bringing the industry together to spur adoption of mobile, cloud, Internet of Everything and champion the cultivation of new talent and help drive innovation forward.

Driving further awareness and adoption of IoT is a critical aspect of this initiative with CII. Tata Communications is already laying the foundation for IoT in India with the world’s largest LoRaWAN network spanning across 2000 communities and 38 cities in the country to create an end-to-end connected ecosystem. This will give rise to a new civic operating system which will be fuelled by data to enable seamless and secure connectivity between devices to make public services more accessible, reduce environmental impact and empower communities at large.

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GCR to Revolutionise Education System by Providing IoT Solutions to Educational Institutions 





GCR has taken a step forward to enhance the Educational industry. GCR now offers various IoT solutions for the Educational institution as well.

Gone are the days wherein schools used to follow the traditional methods of teaching. Since, Change is only constant and ‘Technological Advances’ are bringing about these changes. We can evidently see schools, colleges and other educational institutions inculcating IoT solutions in the already existing teaching methodologies. This is where GCR comes into plays in providing a wide array of products and services to uplift the educational demeanor.

GCR, therefore, provides Interactive Display to increase student Interaction and learning experience, School ERP(Enterprise Resource Planning) a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of educational courses; Digital Signage which allows centrally controlled, content distribution platform enabling one to playback digital content on one or many displays/noticeboard/screens,  LMS(Learning Management System), a cloud-based e-learning platform that facilitates learning, delivery, measurement and management of any learning programs; Cloud-based AV Conference for seamless virtual classroom allowing participants to login from any location using any device on internet.

GCR also offers Campus Tracking Solution which includes Asset Tracking, Library Management, People Tracking (students, teachers and staffs), and School Bus Tracking in order to maintain and not compromise on the security of students. Every solution which GCR offers for the Education vertical is SaaS connected solutions.

“The Education vertical of India is the future of our country. When every other vertical is pacing towards digitization, this particular sector should also get a fair and square chance to up their game. Internet of Things (IoT), is slowly but surely revolutionising the Education Industry globally. We at GCR strive to achieve solutions for every sector including Education; such that we are able to do our part for digitization of our country” quoted Amod Phadke, Director – Sales and Marketing, GCR.

With these, Some Education institutions use it to control data as well as save money, whereas some use it to make students and classroom sessions highly tech-literate.

“In exploring who would be best to implement the IoT based technology for the AV system, we reviewed several options. We decided upon GCR, an online Partners Platform, who offers various IoT based solutions for various sectors. GCR assisted us to evaluate various AV system options and then tailor made it to the needs of our school’s extensive list of learning programs. GCR’s team ensured successful configuration of AV solution at our school to support critical and high-tech school learning sessions”- Said P B Shyam – President, Trigyn

“Interactive SmartBoards and Digital Highlighters are one of the booming IoT based devices in the field of education. This can boost, simplify and make the learning experience more interactive by viewing, responding and sharing learnings. Therefore, using these devices, our students sitting in their classrooms can interact with teachers and students worldwide” said Dhananjay Wakode, Managing Director, Benchmark Solutions

IoT is influencing everything, and the learning and education domains come well equipped within the gamut of this disruptive technology. The proliferation of user-friendly connected devices paired with improved and budget-friendly technology platforms have increased the rapid growth of IoT-enabled applications and capabilities in the education industry.   GCR’s Partner Platform enables end-customers, System Integrators, and Solutions Providers to avail complete technical and commercial information; this said the platform further lends a supporting hand towards GCR’s venture to uplift the education vertical of India.

All the above-mentioned products and services are available on GCR; the Partners’ Platform aims to be budget-friendly and light on the pockets of the users. GCR has over 300 IoT products/solutions positioned through 200+ partners on their platform.

“In this innovative scenario, our Partners Platform has all the advanced IoT Solutions and solutions which complement IoT Solutions, providing reasonable and practical tech products for teachers, administrators, and students such that they can match and benefit from the changing technology”, added Amod Phadke.

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