conference bot workflow automation

Automate Business Workflows with Real-time Communication and Intelligent Bots

Published March 13, 2018 by Michal Raz

The collaborative power of embedded communications and the efficiency of bot automation can yield significant increases in workplace productivity. The cognitive resources that artificial intelligence can bring through bot integrations can take productivity to an even higher level. Now Vonage and Converse.AI have combined all these technologies to automate the development of communications-enabled workflows.

With the release of Nexmo, The Vonage API Platform, as a channel on the Converse.AI Platform, developers of all kinds-from full-time software developers to departmental citizen developers-can quickly build SMS and voice communications capabilities into business workflows without delving into the integration details. The graphical interface of the Converse Designer, along with an available set of prebuilt Nexmo modules and templates, enable software and citizen developers to quickly build features such as text notifications and alerts, interactive voice response (IVR) systems, and conference calling into business workflows without writing code. They can simply drag and drop Nexmo-powered modules into a graphical representation of their desired workflow and publish. The Converse platform will automatically create the module integration behind the scenes, effectively automating the workflow development processes with a bot.

The workflow automation capability does not preclude software developers from using their programming skills, however. In fact, they can extend and customize workflows by integrating them into other systems or by writing their own custom plugin for Converse.AI.

Through the Converse Platform Extensions feature, Nexmo SMS, Voice and Verify (e.g. 2FA) functionality was integrated with the Converse Platform. “Converse have done a really good job of abstracting Nexmo API functionality to a configurable UI level with their Designer tool,” said Phil Leggetter, Head of Developer Relations at Nexmo.

Boosting Departmental Productivity with Purpose-specific Workflows

With the Nexmo channel on Converse, developers are able to build custom workflows that can boost the productivity of an organization. Any department can determine the combination of Converse workflows and Nexmo communication features that will best enable them to collaborate, automate and achieve their objectives. With the workflow requirements defined, a software or citizen developer can configure, build and launch that specific service on Converse in a matter of hours. After launch, the workflow can be optimized and updated as needed.

Messages in these workflows can be sent and received around the world reliably, as they are delivered through Vonage’s global platform. The platform handles the complexities of regional compliance, while leveraging its patented Adaptive Routing technology to ensure the best message delivery. This further abstracts developers from the underlying details so they can focus on the utility of their workflows.

An HR department, for example, could have an intelligent bot broadcast urgent companywide alerts when immediate action is required-e.g. enrollment for benefits ends today or a safety instruction for employees due to a natural disaster. A customer support department could use a bot to build an escalation protocol into its workflow, culminating in an automated, Nexmo-powered phone call to a designated task force when a service ticket requires urgent attention. Marketing departments can implement click-to-message or click-to-call buttons on their display ads. Sales departments can leverage simple IVR to route incoming sales calls intelligently through a bot.

These are just a few examples of the possibilities. Converse.AI and Nexmo now allow software and citizen developers to build any new voice or text communication service they can conceive of into custom workflows.

Workplace by Facebook Integrated with Converse and Nexmo

Converse.AI integrates the SMS and voice communication features of Nexmo with the collaboration ecosystem of Workplace by Facebook. Workplace, launched in October 2016, has gained significant customer adoption as a powerful business collaboration platform with the ability to connect coworkers via features such as groups and chat-all within the familiar Facebook interface.

Workplace reflects Facebook’s developer-driven culture with an open platform that technology partners and tech-savvy users can easily augment with custom workflows. For businesses who have invested in the Workplace platform, this can also help onboard users and keep them engaged. By enabling custom communication features on top of Workplace’s built-in collaboration tools, Converse.AI and Nexmo can drive purposeful engagement-the type of productive engagement that drives adoption.

The Nexmo-powered Conference Bot template that is now available on Converse platform is a prime example of what’s possible. The bot enables a moderated conference call where upon completion a recording is posted on Workplace and shared with all the participants. Developers can customize the call workflow to fit any business requirements with very little effort.

The Conference Bot template enables the following workflow:

  1. A business user or defined event initiates a conference call to have stakeholders collaborate on an action plan.
  2. The participants can either be called directly into the conference or they can be invited to join via a message with a click-to-call option.
  3. A lightweight IVR with configurable response options can be offered.
  4. The bot records the call.
  5. When the call ends, it stores the recording on Workplace and shares a link to the audio file with participants.

At its simplest, this workflow can serve as a simple voicemail system for storing the proceedings of important business calls. Beyond that, developers could extend the functionality by integrating an auto-transcription service that would create a transcript of the call as well. The discussion would then be a searchable text record that anyone on Workplace can find and reference at a later date.

Dolby, a Workplace by Facebook customer, has deployed this conference bot solution to drive collaboration among teams and increase productivity.

“We used Nexmo and Converse.AI’s tools within the platform to create a conference call bot that allowed us to easily jump into an ad hoc conference when needed. It was an added bonus that the call recording is then posted back into our Workplace workgroup so we can refer back to it as part of the group Workplace chat stream,” said Jeff Smith, Senior Director of Product for Dolby Laboratories.

The diagram below shows a diagram of the Conference Bot template flow.

Converse.AI Nexmo conference bot
Conference Bot workflow

The above template can begin simply as an outbound voice message. By simply dragging additional modules into the flow and republishing the template, developers can build upon simple functionality as needed to meet the complexity of a given call use case.

The Converse platform offers numerous templates for different communication use cases using the Nexmo channel. Custom voicemail and next-generation IVR are two others, for example. Leveraging the other business systems currently integrated into Converse, the Nexmo channel can bring these communications features into workflows that connect business-critical applications such as CRM, HR, and billing as well.

“Converse believes that there is enormous potential in enabling conversational workflows and services across a wide variety of interfaces, from web and social to enterprise instant messaging and more.

Our integration with Nexmo is a great step forward in bringing our capabilities to SMS and Voice services as well. We are excited about the use case potential for conference calling, intelligent IVR and many other scenarios that this integration makes possible.” said Tony Lucas, CEO of Converse.AI.

Nexmo Enables Communications Innovation with Bot Integrations

The Nexmo integration with Converse is the latest partnership in an ongoing effort to make companies more productive by extending embedded communications and conversational interfaces to business workflows.

“As a pure play CPaaS provider, Nexmo is continually driving new integrations with business platforms that can extend our core communications capabilities to companies and empower them to become more productive,” said Nexmo President Tony Jamous.

“These partnerships also allow us to put the power of our platform into the hands of business analysts, product managers, and other non developers, empowering them to build communications experiences just like more than 350,000 developers already have using Nexmo. The practical workflows created from AI and bot integration will only increase as more and more business users realize the productivity gains of embedded communications in their departmental workflows.

Getting Started with Converse and Nexmo

Any developers who want to start building custom workflows with communications features need only create accounts on the Nexmo and Converse.AI platforms. With their accounts active, they can jump right into building bots on the Converse platform. The Nexmo channel documentation provides all the required information, along with an example of a simple IVR. For a look under the covers at the Nexmo voice plugin source code, Converse has a GitHub repository.

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