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Automated chat bots will soon be socially accepted FB peers, at your service
Ghassan Khayyat
January 11, 2017
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Brndstr brings interactive chat bots one step closer to the market, and builds the region’s first VR studio in Dubai.  

The word bot may soon be gaining an all new connotation in casual conversation veering towards the more positive thanks to the introduction of recent AI technologies. Social media trends will be putting the non-human personnel on almost the same level as random Facebook peers, to sit in for what would otherwise be your everyday tellers or customer service representatives. Neatly framed in a chat box, they will appear as public, instant-karma acquaintances in the virtual sphere who are all ears for you and your requests…when exchanged on Facebook.

This new and growing reality has been confirmed ever since social media and FB commander in chief (and everybody’s insider connection on Facebook, by default, who can neither be blocked or added) Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement in April of 2016 that the technology giant has invested a mega fortune in the millennial strain of automation. This will bring to the table a new and omnipresent army of virtual bots whose sole function is to respond to requests on FB Messenger with upbeat, computer-generated chatter. The automated assistants will soon be occupying more chat-boxes for your convenience, and while they won’t be affected by the weather, or offering their political views or favorite colors just yet, that might just be the next step to bringing on the imminent singularity.

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News orgs like CNN have already recruited the bots who are there to disseminate whatever news you demand, and instantly, to your chat window. That’s service.

Meanwhile in the Middle East, burgeoning companies are heeding the call to bring this haunting wave of technology safely to our shores. Brndstr is one such company: a UAE-headquartered creative tech house with a solid reputation for custom built technologies dedicated to building brand equity and elaborating real time solutions, while relying on the magic of this curious, automated tech.  

According to CEO and founder Simon Hudson, who jumpstarted Brndstr in 2013 after building on his previous experience as city planner for Groupon in the UAE, “part of my role as a City Planner was to listen to our audiences and see what deals they wanted to be featured. At the time we had a huge number of Facebook fans but not so much website traffic. The idea was if we could integrate the deal wall into Facebook then users would essentially not have to leave Facebook to shop and buy”. And that is the general idea.

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“In 2013 the word BOTS was seen as spammy but this is essentially what we were building. By offering a user immediate gratification increased engagement dramatically and improved overall campaign metrics. People no longer needed to wait days to get a digital voucher for a free burger, they simply just had to Retweet” he continues. “The campaigns we have created for brands use our automated tech to instantly reply to a user when they engage with a social post” explains Hudson.

Zuckerberg’s announcement in 2013 set the tone for the widespread, social acceptance of these bots, whose career prospects and status in virtual society will now improve from being seen as infectious spammers to an integral part to everyday browsing and shopping. This motion served as a pat on the back to Brndstr, as it had been already been shooting in this direction, and pre-emptively, for the past 3 years and counting.


With BRndstr’s precious input, a BOT studio is available to allow you to burp out a BOT for your convenience on FB messenger or Twitter Direct Message. The Brndstr BOT Studio indiscriminately allows big and small brands to build and host said BOTs on Facebook Messenger or Twitter Direct Message. The bots give the brand the added benefit of creating a digital PA to be integrated into their communication channels to in in turn divulge information such as product details, direction coordinates, contact info or opening times. While automated voice messages are standard, the technology goes a leap further than being a glorified answering machine.

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Bigger spending brands can go so far as to use the bot studio to integrate their backend systems to communicate real time, up-to-date information such as flight times, hotel room availability and restaurant reservations, essentially negating the need for actual human tellers to be on the receiving end of service phone calls. “Last year we worked with Emirates NBD and were able to integrate Twitter DM’s into the Banks mainframe meaning that their customers were able check their balance and credit card statements simply by sending a DM on Twitter” says Hudson. Should you be a brand in the making and are interested in creating your own bot, please visit http://bot.studio. 


Brndstr will also be launching a Virtual Reality Lab where it will help brands simulate customer experiences. Through a window into these 3D, virtual worlds, brands can offer their audiences firsthand experiences of their products or services using any compatible headsets, such as the Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR. And although this is becoming almost standard procedure in the modern world, Brndstr gives the added value of using BOTS and integrated tech to incorporate this new dimension into corporeality or what we call the physical world.  

“From the 150+ partners we have, we are excited to see what magic we can build together – imagine things like walking through the Business Class of an A380 and not only getting see first hand what it looks like, but also book and select your seat directly from the VR environment”, explains Hudson. “We are fast moving into an autonomous world where people want access to things instantly.

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by Ghassan Khayyat

Ghassan was tuned into the writing world on a transistor radio-wave of an unbeknownst frequency, once upon a daydream dreary. With a firm belief in Dr. Seussims and all things gadget and gizmo-tronic, he tinkers before he speaks, and chooses his words technologically. He is Editor for T3 Middle East’s Levant English publication and English website, and Associated Editor for the GCC English publication. Reach him at ghassan@t3me.com.