A new strategic move

Facebook a virtual assistant called ‘M’ in the messenger app. The unique aspect about ‘M’ is that it is powered not just by artificial intelligence, but also by real people.

Typically, in virtual assistants such as Google Now, Siri or Cortland, virtual assistance is provided only by artificial intelligence, but, in ‘M’ there are real people working behind the scenes. There is a limit to what pure virtual assistants can do, though Google is constantly trying to stretch it. Google has added Hindi and customized Google Now for use in India.

At present, Facebook is testing with examples of what M can do: make restaurant reservations. Find a birthday gift for your spouse. Suggest – and then book – weekend getaways. Help chat, an Indian startup is an app-based personal assistant that helps to get things done and in the previous issue we wrote about startups like Busy Orders which help with ordering or booking a ticket through Whats app. The latest move is expected to be in this direction: a hybrid of automatic plus manual to get more done. Real people behind ‘M’ accomplish tasks that software may not do accurately.

Facebook doesn’t have the advantage that Google
has – its own operating sys­tem. And therefore Facebook wants to make it so power­ful that users don’t go any­where to look for answers, which will help Facebook get more data about users and their searches that Google has currently. This data helps them understand the ‘intent’ of the user – what is it that the user wants? Remember how Google serves you ads on the basis of your search query and his­tory. If the testing is successful, the oppor­tunities for Facebook are endless.

Facebook has been trying to get into the search business for some time now. Even­tually, ‘M’ will be available to all users as a feature in the Mes­senger app post the testing phase. The big point: the Messenger app is used by more than 700 mil­lion people.

They are listening


s the usage of social media and consumption of media on the internet increases exponentially, brands want to put an ear to it and listen to what’s being written about their brands online. Connect Social is a startup that provides listening tools monitoring what happens online. It crawls everything on the internet. About 90 per cent of its cli­ents opt for the listening tool and then social media analytics. It is working with 32 brands such as RCom, IIFL, Zappa and agencies such as

KonnectSocial —                            —

Konnect Social is India’s leading Social Media Monitoring tool pi and Agencies



WatConsult, Perfect relations in India. Moving beyond Lis­tening, Konnect Social is now a social media moni­toring tool. It has been boot­strapped and the founders are now looking to raise invest­ment for global expansion.

RCom in IoT

Reliance Communica­tions has 11 data centres, 200,000 km of optical fibre cable network under its fixed line business and 2G, 3G, 4G bandwidth under its wireless business. The partnership will help RCom monetise these assets further.Reliance Communications has entered into a part­nership with Jasper to help enterprises launch, man­age and monetise internet of things (IoT) businesses. Jas­per is an internet of things software platform founded by an Indian entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and it works with 25 large telecom oper­ator groups in the world including SingTel, Docomo, Telstra, China Telecom and Telefonica. Jasper helps
manage large-scale imple­mentation of IoT, such as in cities and factories using its cloud platform.

♦ ROH1T PANCHAL [email protected]