A Conversation About Conversations

David Pitt Conversational Apps, JavaScript, Keyhole Creations, Mobile, Node.js, React, Technology Snapshot Leave a Comment

We created a platform that supports developing a “conversational” type application through SMS. The user experience between a user and an SMS application can be thought of as a conversation. A user texts a question or topic, and a reply is returned, then another question and reply is performed until a desired result is accomplished.

Now, this is not a universal user experience, but for many use cases it can provide an easy to deliver users functionality quickly and conveniently. There is no need to install or download apps, or pop open a browser and type in a URL; just have a conversation through your texting app.

In this blog: Why conversational applications are handy, examples of conversational applications we have created, and a walkthrough of the application architecture used to develop those SMS applications. Includes how to make texting a richer experience, state, and session handling insights.



Creating a Slack Bot

Brice McIver Conversational Apps, JavaScript, Node.js, Technology Snapshot Leave a Comment

If you have ever worked on a team project, then you’ve needed some way to communicate with your team. For a very small team with all of its members based in one place, face-to-face communication might be your go-to method of handling project conversations.

However, once your project size progresses past that point, there’s a good chance that you’ll at least evaluate using a collaborative software package to help manage your project. Slack is a popular option for this.

In this blog, I’ll show the basic steps you can take to integrate Slack with your existing tools and workflows. In particular, we will set up Slack for incoming webhooks and event subscriptions, showing how to program a Slack bot to say personalized “Welcome to the channel” and a “Goodbye” messages.

Let’s get started…



Quick Introduction to the Computer Vision API

Brad Kirtley .NET, Conversational Apps, Machine Learning, Technology Snapshot, Tutorial 1 Comment

Machine learning is a hot topic these days because the biggest tech companies are focused on taking this technology to a new level. For instance, to help develop autonomous driving cars, better interaction between you and your house with products like the Amazon Echo.

Machine learning is a core sub-area of artificial intelligence. Machine learning enables computers to self-learn without being explicitly programmed. As new data comes available, the computer has the ability to learn, grow, change, and develop itself to make better decision in the future. This technology will help reduce the workload and possible incorrect diagnoses when radiologist read films, reducing the amount of accidents on our highways caused by human error, possible reduction of inappropriate message / images / videos from bullying on social network sites.

This article will touch on one of the many Artificial Intelligence API’s that Microsoft has built for public consumption. We will specifically focus on the step-by-step process of uploading a picture, passing that picture onto the Microsoft Cognitive Services – Computer Vision API, and retrieving different attributes about that image. This is an aspect of AI technology that companies like Facebook & Google are using to try to stop bullying and other issue within social networking. Let’s get started…



Creating A Custom Amazon Alexa Skill

Ryan Nguyen .NET, Conversational Apps, Programming, Tutorial 1 Comment

With the explosion of the internet of things (IoT), many companies are competing to create the best smart home ecosystem for consumers.

Amazon Echo, for instance, is a robust system that allows the user to interact with their smart devices via voice command. Alexa is the application that the Echo communicates with, essentially the brain of the Amazon Echo. It controls how your Amazon Echo communicates with your other smart devices and services. It can sync with a variety of smart devices including switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, door locks, music streamers, news outlets, and more. It also allows the third-party companies to create custom skills which are then accessible through the Amazon Echo.

In this blog I will discuss the Amazon Echo and its Alexa application. We will go through the process to create a custom Alexa skill about the Keyhole blog, paying particular attention to keywords you’ll need to understand when you create your own Skill. From there, we’ll show how to test a Skill via simulators and deploy it to your Amazon Echo.