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Talking to a smartphone as if it were a person may seem strange at first, but chances are you will be getting the weather report, ordering a new laptop or requesting a day off with a chat bot pretty soon… if you aren’t doing so already. And this is just the beginning.

Using natural language – whether via voice or text – is so powerful because it is so human. People want to talk like humans, not in a limited set of staccato commands that are easy for machines to understand but require us to learn and just plain feel ridiculous. Although the richness of human speech, with its jargons, dialects, and turns of phrase, has taken computer engineers time to master, the technology has evolved rapidly. And the results do speak for themselves, even if the voice is digitally generated.

Conversational user interfaces (CUIs) are poised to revolutionize the way people interact with each other, with companies, and with information systems. According to a recent article in VentureBeat, “Chatbots are the singularity that smart devices have been waiting for, the streamlined experience that will finally unshackle us from the burden that our apps put on our devices.” What Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Facebook M, and Google Now are to consumers, SAP CoPilot will be to enterprise users. The vision of SAP CoPilot is to apply native-device capabilities, natural language processing and machine learning. By recognizing patterns and making predictions based on data, algorithms enable machines to “learn” without being explicitly programmed. The advantages? By deeply understanding users and organizations in the context of their business, SAP CoPilot can adjust quickly and support users with amazing speed to call their attention to things they may have otherwise missed or totally forgotten.

The most important features planned for SAP CoPilot are:

  • Conversational UI: Communicate with you in natural human language via text, gesture or voice. Enable you to converse with others, within your business context.
  • Awareness of your business context: Offer relevant insights just when you need them based on your role, context and current business situation. Recognize business objects on your screen or within the conversation in the chatbox.
  • Quick actions: Provide split-second insights and suggestions to help you decide on the proper course of action when you need it. Enable you to quickly create a business object, prompting for minimal input.
  • Learn and recommend: Starting with pre-defined business rules and gradually learning from behavioral data, recommend which actions would be best to take next.

SAP CoPilot will be part of the SAP Fiori launchpad as an optional component of Fiori 2.0. Are you interested in co-innovating with us on the development of SAP CoPilot? If so, please contact Michael Falk for details.

Over the course of the next few months, we will be publishing a series of blog articles (#SAPCoPilot) that will go into more detail about the research, concepts and technology behind SAP CoPilot. So please follow SAP User Experience and Design on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss the next blog.

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