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NEWS: survey on 3000 US and UK consumers shows it is time for chatbot integration in customer service!read more..

Gartners report on Virtual Assistant Vendors is there!!!

It has taken a while, but it’s finally there:

The Virtual Assistant Vendor Landscape 2011

by Analyst Johan Jacobs

Johan has written several articles on virtual assistants (just a synonym of chatbot or virtual agent)  before, and I’ve spoken to him a while ago. He’s pretty informed in this matter. Also, many developers contributed (by filling out extensive survey forms), so this report supposes to be very thorough.

We’ll study the report carefully and report back on soon!

Keep you posted!



  [ # 1 ]

It seems the report is not publicly available without registration and a document fee. I look forward to your review, Erwin!


  [ # 2 ]

yep, that’s true. And it’s even hard to find the price. It had difficulties downloading the document, and even emailing with Gartner IT support because the proces was too hash.

Anyway, keep you posted indeed!


  [ # 3 ]

chatbots for download:

and chat applications for your iPhone

(we should actually also work to have listings for Androids etc as well)


  [ # 4 ]

Erwin, did you manage to download the report? What do you think about it? Looking forward to your review!


  [ # 5 ]

Yes, I bought my copy for 999 US$. I’ve gone through the 20 pages last weekend.

I haven’t been able to write a review, but I’m quite critical so far:

-Only 20 chatbot (virtual assistant) developers are mentioned, not necessary the best in the world, and also other important parties are missing
-A lack of shared vision: where is this heading to? What solutions can be assumed as future proof?
-A 50% focus on visualisation: 3d animated characters with speech are considered a higher level than those which are text based, but have a much higher accuracy or lower maintenance costs, just because of smarter AI. In my opinion, visualisation is not at all where this industry is about. Also, looking at those developers, they hire AI specialist, linguists, computer scientists, socialogist etc but no computer animation people because they simply use standardized tools for that. It’s not all what distinguishes them.

So far, my first notes. I’ll dig into it more deeper, and create a report afterwards. Hopefully this week.


  [ # 6 ]

999 US$ Wow downer


  [ # 7 ]

Yikes, that is one expensive report..! Too bad you aren’t more satisfied with the contents, Erwin. :(


  [ # 8 ]

We’ll organize research ourselfes. However, first thing first, we first have to launch our research and business (companies) area, followed by forum upgrades and our New Home Page Project.

Anyone interested to help is more than welcome.


  [ # 9 ]

It’s an interesting list of vendors—NextIT, eGain, Synthetix, Creative Virtual, VirtuOz, are all there, as is Indisys.  They are all offering eneterprise-level virtual assistant applicaitons—and enterprise-level support—to enterprise customers.

There are a few missing, but possibly that’s related to the number of clients they have.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on different vendors offering enterprise-level VAs and support over the past few months and it’s a very interesting field indeed!


  [ # 10 ]

How many of these companies have demos of their bot technology online?  I wonder what underlying technology they each use, how much is generic and how much proprietary in-house developed.


  [ # 11 ]

@Glenys: you’ve probably already seen our vendors list as well:

Are you still missing companies in this list? Please let me know and we’ll add them straight away!

The list is an early version, we’ll extenf this pretty straightforward list to a extremely useful vendor selection tool. Expected in April! First some other priorities… grin We’ll keep you posted!

@Vic: did you know that most of the mentioned developers already maintain their chatbot implementations on already? Next IT, eGain, Synthetix, Virtuoz are amongst them. is not only a forum cool smile


  [ # 12 ]


I see that - I am checking those companies out right now!


  [ # 13 ]

@ Victor—A few of the vendors I mentioned have demos online, as well as listings on I think it’s always interesting to see which vendors actually encourage you to try out their technology.

As a designer of enterprise-level virtual assistants I would point out that when you are trying out a real-world implementation—a chatbot on a website, for example—what you are seeing, in all likelihood, is the technology constrained by the way the client has elected to use it. In other words, it is sometimes the case that the technology can actually do a lot more, but that the client has elected to only implement certain feaures or, perhaps more importantly, certain content. Also, some of the chatbot vendors do not publicly advertise their latest developments and implementations.

In terms of the platforms they use, in my experience they are mostly proprietary. I am a co-inventor of one of those platforms, and it is a fascinating, completely absorbing process to be involved in.

@ Erwin—Yes, I’ve seen the list—you guys are doing a great job! I’ll send through updates. As you’ve probably gathered, my focus is on the business/enterprise end of the VA spectrum, where I’ve gathered a large amount of info over the past few years. Some of the material I have I can’t share due to NDAs, but I’m happy to contribute to the business pages where I can if you’re looking for input.


  [ # 14 ]

@Glenys: You might want to help us with the Australian market inventory. We could list you on as a local consultant. That might bring you some extra business.

What local consultants in these position normally do is helping us to complete our local company directory and enter information about public (and sometimes non-public) information about (local) chatbot implementations. Furthermore, they may want to advise us about the content of the country pages (just checked out the Australian page and it now appear that the erotic chatbots are somewhat unbalanced compared to the corporate chatbots).

Anyway, working in such a a way, the listing on the /au page is for free. Visibility for you, content for us.

Wouldn’t that be a win-win? Let me know what you think! Here in this thread or through the ‘e-mail erwin’ link just below my picture.



  [ # 15 ]

@ Erwin: I’d be very happy to be a local consultant for Australia. I’ve sent you an email and look forward to sending you some updated info about chatbots in Australia.

Just let me know how to get started.


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