Launching the Watson Chatbot User Group


Picture courtesy of Bill Jelen on Unsplash

(Note: This is also published on my Medium blog)

I have been working with multiple customers who are now deploying COVID-19 chatbots. Many of them are new to using cognitive technologies, and more specifically to using and applying chatbots. For many of these customers, the questions that they ask are very similar.

One of the most common requests that I’ve been getting lately, are questions about “How are we doing compared to…?”. My users and customers are eager to find out and share best practices for the development of their chatbots. Some of this is more technical and coding in nature — focused on how the chatbot looks, how to include it on a web page, how to integrate it into Facebook, or how the chatbot interacts with users. Some of these best practices questions are more focused on the information being shared, and what some of the most popular end-user requests have been.

I am also hearing from other people inside of IBM, that we need a way for our users to be able to share their experiences, their victories, their frustrations, and other important information. So I have decided that it is time to create a Watson Chatbot User Group (WCUG).

What Will The WCUG do?

The Watson Chatbot User Group (WCUG) is going to be a weekly meeting, with an agenda determined by the user group itself. I will provide some potential topics for discussion, but I want to leave the agenda and prioritization of the list of weekly topics up to the user group itself. If the group would like to have a presentation from an IBM subject matter expert, in some area of chatbot technology, then I will do my best to get those people to present to the user group.

The main goals of this user group are to provide an open forum for people to discuss best practices and techniques that work in the real world, for the development of chatbot based solutions. I want to promote the sharing of knowledge and content which will allow all members of the community to provide higher quality and higher value solutions for their own end-users.

This will NOT be an endless IBM Sales pitch. The topics and agenda will be driven by the community — I am interested in what YOU are interested in. I just want to provide a safe place to share knowledge, communicate, and collaborate.

This Is Wonderful!! How Do I Join?

Right now this user group is just getting off the ground. So we don’t have any kind of automated sign-up or any permanent location to house community approved assets. So if you would like to participate in these calls, please send your name and your email to me at dtoczala@us.ibm.com. I will add you to the weekly meeting invite.

Once we get going, we will provide a more permanent home for the community, as well as some areas where the community can collaborate and share information. I plan on having the first meeting on June 24. So please don’t hesitate, and send me a note with your name and email address, telling me that you would like to participate in the Watson Chatbot User Group (#WCUG).

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