Oswald is a powerful platform to build chatbots, with many features packed into one easy to use interface. Sometimes it might be nice to integrate your Oswald chatbots with other services or platforms. That is what our latest update, released today, is all about!
Let's dig a little bit deeper into chatbot integrations. After all, they can make your chatbots more powerful, more accessible and more useful. There are three kinds of integrations:
- UI integrations
- Backoffice integrations
- Platform integrations
Let's make this a little bit more clear.
A UI integration is an integration into for example a messaging platform, like Facebook Messenger. This is an integration that is important for your users. After all, your chatbot should be as accessible for your users as possible. The chatbot should therefore be where your users are.
A backoffice integration is an integration with your own backend systems. For example, your CRM or CMS systems, your databases, your backend services... Backoffice integrations are used to make your chatbot responses dynamic, based on your own content. Backoffice integrations are implemented in Oswald using advanced code responses.
A platform integration is an integration that replaces some parts of the Oswald platform with other services. For example, Oswald has its own human takeover feature, but customers can replace this feature with an integration of the Zendesk chat service.
Announcing new integrations
Today, we're announcing four new integrations in the Oswald platform, bringing us to a total of seven integrations. Let's take a look at these integrations and what they can mean for you and, of course, your chatbots 😉
Microsoft LUIS or 'Language Understanding Intelligent Service' is the NLU service by Microsoft and was released as part of their cognitive services. Since it is Microsoft's primary service for building chatbots, LUIS is very good at understanding intents and extracting entities. Often LUIS is combined with Microsoft Bot Framework, which is a free SDK to construct your chatbot. We plugged LUIS into Oswald as a platform integration. When LUIS is used, the custom Oswald NLU is disabled and ignored and LUIS takes over. All other Oswald functionalities work exactly the same!
We believe the Oswald NLU is very good, it supports a lot of languages, it gives you the flexibility to not interact with any third-party servers and it will satisfy your needs for most chatbots. Still, some of our customers might want to integrate Microsoft NLU, because of their strong partnership with Microsoft. Therefore, we built this integration with the idea to offload the NLU to a more experienced vendor. Oswald will keep investing in its own NLU, but working together with Microsoft only makes our offering stronger than ever!
How does it work?
It's very simple! Just enter your LUIS API keys in the Oswald integrations page and everything else works automagically 🧙♂️
Google Assistant is Google's personal assistant, like Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana or Apple's Siri. Google Assistant is available on mobile devices (like Android smartphones), smart speakers (like the Google Home or Sonos), headphones, watches, TV's... Furthermore, you can install third-party 'chatbots' on Google Assistant using Google Actions, making it more powerful and dedicated to your needs. We made an integration for Google Assistant in Oswald as a UI integration, so you can easily deploy your chatbot on Google Assistant powered devices.
Why Google Assistant?
We want to make Oswald ready for the future, and we believe that future is voice! That is why we started with this Google Assistant integration, since it is a fast growing, very intelligent voice assistant that supports a lot of languages:
- Dutch (!!)
How does it work?
You can create your own Google Actions project on actions.google.com. Then you can follow the steps on the Google Actions integration page to link the Oswald chatbot to your Google Actions project ✅
This news is already huge! It means Oswald, the easiest platform to create chatbots, packed with useful features, is now powered by the most intelligent NLU service and the most powerful and popular voice assistant. But there's even more!
Facebook Messenger is Facebook's primary messaging platform so users can communicate with both friends and businesses. It's one of the most used messaging platforms all over the world. Furthermore, the Facebook Messenger Platforms allows developers to develop chatbots and make them accessible via Facebook Messenger.
Why Facebook Messenger?
We don't need to tell you why we built this integration. Facebook Messenger is the number one bot platform, with over 300.000 chatbots deployed on Facebook Messenger*. Furthermore, Oswald UI elements, like buttons, carousels, images, videos are visualised very nicely in the Facebook Messenger UI.
How does it work?
Facebook Messenger is definitely our easiest integration. On the Facebook Messenger integration page, log in with your Facebook account. Then, you get an overview of all pages that are managed by you. You click on one of them and the link automatically made. You can take the term 'one-click integration' quite literally here 😊
Twilio Programmable SMS
Twilio is a service that is pretty known by developers to automatically make phone calls or send text messages. These services are called 'Programmable Voice' and 'Programmable SMS'. We integrated Oswald with the 'Programmable SMS' service. Result: chatbots are now available through SMS 📱
SMS can be a very handy touch point for users to communicate with your chatbot, especially for small chatbots or if your users are not available on Facebook Messenger. Twilio is the number one service to make this possible.
How does it work?
There is a new Twilio web hook endpoint in the Oswald API. After configuring your account on Twilio, you can paste the right URL in the 'a message comes in' field in Twilio. You can find the exact steps on the Twilio integrations page.
Total list of integrations
Let's take a look at a little overview of all Oswald integrations available:
- Oswald widget
- Oswald chat API
- Google Assistant
- Facebook Messenger
You can implement backoffice integrations yourself using advanced code responses.
- Zendesk chat
- Microsoft LUIS
As with every Oswald update, we did some other improvements as well. Let me sum up the most important ones:
- A new timeframe selection for statistics
- Drag, drop, save and restore scenario subtrees
- Much faster retraining times
- Preview your chatbot on your own webpage
- Set environment variables to use in advanced code responses