Slack wants Developers to Build Bots, Sets up an Investment Fund and Releases Botkit Tool
Slack has undoubtedly been one of the most sought after workplace team messaging software closely followed by Hipchat. Slack has announced a new software called the Botkit which would help developers in building apps that latch on to their software. It has further setup an investment fund to back developers solely building apps for Slack.
Slack will also be revealing the number of active users on its platform which seems to be pegged at 2-Million, a rather healthy number for inducing new features, tools and earning revenue. It is but obvious that Slack wants to create a rack of premium features in order to broaden the Gap between its paid service and the free ones.
Slack has been working with Howdy, a start-up focused on building chat-based Slack apps and they would be soon releasing the Botkit under an open-source license. Bots are most of the time associated with spam and scam but the fact is that they are still perceived as an important tool for business communications and the users are willing to get updates from business accounts run by software.
Howdy CEO Ben Brown explained the difficulty involved in building a bot, especially since it is used to send a direct message to the users on Slack. The bot needs to access multiple APIs and it is required to be listening to the users conversation all the time and in turn parse messages for the sake of relevance.
Howdy is trying to design Botkit in such a way that it would be able to decipher the “design patterns” for the bots which includes incorporating a basic level of common functionality in the Bots, Brown says that he wants the Bots to be mannerly and exchange pleasantries.
The bot based apps can be used for functions including reporting and employee feedback collection. Slack seems to be paving a futuristic path wherein the app will integrate with most of the other business app thus letting users make use of multiple apps without actually hopping out of the Slack application.
Figma is a design app that uses Slack login to define the scope of the business. Figma CEO Dylan Field said that “Slack accounts usefully define the scope of a specific business team in a way that email-based options like Google Apps or Microsoft Azure Active Directory don’t.”
As we expressed earlier, Slack will also be inducing an additional revenue slab, one that distinguishes the unpaid users from the paid users better. It will seemingly restrict the number of integration a free user can have thus encouraging the power users to make a switch to the paid mode.
The Bots can also be trained to be used against harassment or leak of company secrets. The bots will bring about a plethora of changes to the way Slack works and some of these might also make the end users slightly uncomfortable.
Slack is not running the business unrivalled, in fact Altassians HipChat is currently trading at a cool $5.5-Billion. HipChat integrates with tools like Jira and other business apps. However last month Atlassian released HipChat Connect, an API which will facilitate developers to build app with unique features inside the HipChat interface.
Slack seems to be approaching the problem in a right way, Bots and messages will prove to be more efficient than the direct third party app integrations. It would not be wrong to compare the Bots with a Artificial Intelligence application like SIRI or Cortana, with the only difference being the fact that it’s based on a singular set of function. The bottom line is that Slacks new initiative will bring in a slew of developers trying to chisel out their very own Bots for the application and this as envisaged might result in a richer Slack ecosystem.