Following in the steps of competitors like Slack, Microsoft announced onstage at Build 2016 in San Francisco that it will be generously supporting bots on the Skype platform with a brand new SDK.
Onstage at Build, the company showed off two different bots: video bots, which operate within a live video feed, and text bots working in conjunction with Cortana.
For those familiar with the helpful text AI assistants, a lot of it is the same: bots can help coordinate travel, deliveries and other handy things right within Skype. With Cortana as ringleader, the actions seem very similar to that of Slackbot or Facebook Messenger’s capabilities.
The more interesting opportunity is the video bots, which were glossed over in the presentation. From a superficial standpoint, it appears developers will be able to create real-time video bots that allow users to “connect with your favorite character, business or brand.” This is a novel approach that Skype will dive into, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out in the hands of developers.
In addition to the SDK, which is available today, Microsoft and Skype will be holding hackathons around the SDK starting in May. This is Microsoft’s big jump into AI — it’s also allowing devs to integrate Cortana into all apps.