Applying artificial intelligence and machine learning in construction might involve using chatbots for lead generation on building trade websites, as well as for training.
I have been talking about artificial intelligence and construction sporadically for some time, and a news release about a new UK service for lead generation in the building trade reminded me about both recent and past conversations about chatbots and natural language processing.
Leadoo, a 40-strong Finnish lead generation martech company based in Helsinki, has launched its interactive chatbot in the UK (a chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate an intelligent conversation with one or more human users via auditory or textual methods).
In uncertain times (Brexit, anyone?), Leadoo believes the chatbot will generate an average of between 30 – 100% increase on lead conversions for businesses in the building trade (targeting a similar market to two other startups recently covered in Extranet Evolution, Buildiro—post and Snaffle—post); Leadoo chatbots are generating leads for a Nordic roofing company, and you can talk to one to download the case study. It advocates using chatbots to take better care of website visitors, turning them into leads and potentially increasing online sales (average website conversion rates vary between zero and 1%).
Leadoo founder and CEO Mikael da Costa says:
“Leadoo brings website content alive! Our chatbots activate passive website visitors, who represent over 90% of all traffic, by providing a two-way conversation between the visitor and the site which converts them into leads. In our experience in other markets in Europe, we find that all aspects of the building trade – including tradespeople, suppliers and merchants – can benefit from our bots.”
“We believe it’s the perfect time for us to enter the UK and achieve a return on the investment that businesses have already made in their websites. The building trade spends an enormous amount of time, money and energy attracting visitors to their sites only for them to lose interest – for every 100 visitors, less than one would typically convert. We are going to help UK businesses overcome this challenge.”
Leadoo believes it can help any company so long as they have enough website visitors to make it worthwhile. It’s then a matter of ensuring that the interactive help matches with a visitor’s thoughts and expectations, which makes it twice as likely they will convert into a lead.
Depending on a company’s requirements, Leadoo can implement different bots including ModalBots, VideoBots and InpageBots, the latter being hugely successful. Leadoo says InpageBots sit as a natural part of website content, do not distract or interrupt the visitor, and have a 6x higher engagement rate than traditional chatbots as they ask just the right questions at the right place and time.
Leadoo aims to keep its processes and customer service as simple and responsive as possible and aims to have a client signed up and working in two weeks. There are three packages starting from £399 per month (annual contract) for use of one of the Leadoo bots (Modal, Chat or Video for example).
Conversations about chatbots reminds me of Birmingham, UK-based Daden (who still send me their newsletters). Almost a decade ago (see March 2010 post), when BIM was still at an early stage in its UK roll-out, they were pushing the boundaries of Second Life, a web-accessed virtual reality application, for a variety of construction industry scenarios. In March 2011, Daden felt virtual worlds could be used in planning, in consultation, for project collaboration, for building user feedback, to model use by wheelchair users, to model services for future maintenance needs, to show different environmental conditions, to test security strategies, to identify building navigation issues, for simulation and training purposes, etc. Many of these scenarios were also being tested on real projects, supporting design activities relating to the new Library of Birmingham, for example.
In addition to immersive learning and ‘Trainingscapes‘, Chatbots were then an early part of their online toolset and over the past decade Daden has been exploring how such tools might be used internally for employee coaching, knowledge management, virtual tutors and customer service. This latter application is therefore similar to Leadoo. Meanwhile, last week at the LondonBuild show, I also talked to Botmore’s Aydin Ozcekic, CEO of Botmore Technology, who has been developing a ‘construction digital assistant’ combining project data, sensor-derived data (the ‘internet of things’) and interactive chatbot technologies, using natural language processing techniques (see February 2019 post: AI, Machine Learning, construction and bots) – also being exploited by HiveMap (post), whose co-founder Torsten Wolter was also at LondonBuild.