Niki.ai shares plans to get half a billion users transacting online via simple conversations | Digital Asia

News Update

Niki, India’s homegrown conversational bot, developed by India’s leading AI startup — Niki.ai and loved by over 2 million Indians, is learning new capabilities which will help her touch lives of over 500 million Indians and help them make their first and subsequent transactions online.

Like how WeChat has become a ‘Super app’ for over 900 million Chinese using it daily for variety of needs ranging from hailing cabs, paying at the restaurants, reading news and what not, Niki is a one stop shop for who frequently talk to her for cabs, movies, hotels, bus booking, recharges, utility bill payments and a lot more! These services are fulfilled by reputed merchant partners like Uber, Ola, Bookmyshow, Redbus, Cleartrip and more. End-to-end transactions happen without any manual intervention in a single chat window.

Unlike WeChat, Niki doesn’t support one to one with other users on the platform instead, all the interactions happen with the bot and all are transactional in nature.

Power of messaging: Relevance with the demography

A report by Statista puts India at the 2nd highest position with 390 million Indians predicted to be using Social Media by 2022, second after China, with 720 million users. In India, growing Social Media Penetration can be attributed to the fact that around 50% of the population is below the age of 25 and falls in the age group most active on these channels, while being susceptible to change and being able to adapt to new technologies and the online ecosystem.

Extrapolating a recent Facebook report suggests that highest Facebook penetration around the world is in India, which stands at around 11% of the total population. What’s more interesting is the popularity and penetration of messaging apps like Whatsapp in the country, which stands at around 28%, as per an end of 2017 report by Statista.

Whatsapp has more than double the active users in India as compared to that on Facebook, owing to a number of factors. Only around 33% of the Indian population lives in Urban areas (as compared to 58% in China) and is truly exposed to the online world. The rest 67% in tier 2 and tier 3 cities are still a little unexposed to a number of apps for a number of things, thus lacking ‘familiarity’ and tech-savviness to come online and use apps which have ever-changing interfaces and thousands of fields and buttons to get simple tasks done.

Also read: Three pitches that WOWed us at the MOX demo day and why they stood out

This makes the gazillions of apps remain non-intuitive and non-natural to them and hence, a blocker to get online. A simple messaging app, however, worked a great deal in their favour. For most of these users, Whatsapp is their Facebook. They text, share pictures, documents, videos and more with family/friends and have a community of their own on the platform with everyone just a text away.

Covering Masses: Voice & Multilingual Support

2018 census reveals that there are more than 19,500 languages or dialects spoken in India as the mother tongue, with over 121 languages spoken by more than 10,000 people. Only a fraction of the population is comfortable in English. And hence, products designed with English as the primary language for branding and content put them somewhat at a disadvantage. The number of such users grow as one moves from Tier 1 to Tier 2 & 3 cities which comprise of more than 450 million people, estimating to around 90% of the total workforce.

To mitigate this pain, localisation cannot be ignored. As more and more users from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities come online, it’s paramount to not only address their needs, but in a manner that they’re not intimated. Niki is already learning regional languages, starting with Hindi (most widely spoken language in India) and aims to learn more among the major ones including Marathi, Kannada, Bangla and likes, by the end of 2018.

Also read: 5 signs that you need to localise your product

Regional languages support, topped with voice recognition capabilities will give these users a jumpstart eradicating language and visual interface barrier, thus providing a non-intrusive, natural and personalised experience with minimal to no learning curve.

Present Everywhere, For Everything

Being a bot, Niki can reside on multiple platforms and operating systems, creating a consistent experience for the users. One can avail numerous services on apps and platforms of one’s choice, with the same ease and convenience.

The organisation’s unique customer acquisition strategy is driven by an SDK (Software Development Kit) less than 1MB in size, which brands can integrate on their apps and websites within 30 minutes, to let their users avail Niki’s services on their own platform. This makes Niki reach millions of new users with every partnership. Top organisations like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Karbonn Smartphones & Federal Bank, to name a few, are Niki’s SDK partners.

Already equipped with more than 20 services to transact for, Niki plans to continue expanding its portfolio so that for most of the needs consumers may have, Niki is the first thing that strikes their mind. Thus, in the world where your phone is everything, we essentially aim for Niki to be your phone.

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