Dreamforce Concierge Voice Bot Built On iPaaS Built.io Flow Cuts Development Time In Half

Every year, industry leaders in sales, marketing, service, and IT come together at the Dreamforce conference for four days of workshops, keynotes, and networking. In 2016, Dreamforce partnered with Built.io Flow to create an interactive concierge bot for its 150,000 attendees.

1,000+

User interactions with bot

50%

Development hours saved

10 hrs

Saved at help desk on site

Case Study

Case Study

About

Dreamforce, hosted by Salesforce, is one of the largest tech conferences in the world. It brings together thought leaders, industry pioneers, and thousands of IT professionals.

Company Profile

Website: www.dreamforce.com
www.salesforce.com

Industry: Technology Conferences, Computer Software

Company Size: 10,001+ employees

THE CHALLENGE

The welcome desk plays a critical role at Dreamforce, providing attendees with everything they need to know to get the most out of the annual conference. But with a reported 150,000 visitors, the three Salesforce staff members running the booth knew they wouldn’t have the bandwidth to provide sufficient one-on-one attention to each attendee.

Dreamforce – specifically the IoT cabin for developers – needed an effective solution for providing automated answers to common visitor questions so that the welcome booth team could use their bandwidth for more meaningful exchanges with Dreamforce attendees.

The demonstration of Amazon’s Alexa at the previous year’s conference left attendees fascinated by new voice technology and Dreamforce used this momentum as a springboard for their own bot. Joshua Birk, Principal Evangelist at Salesforce, then partnered with Built.io to help bring his vision to life in time for the Dreamforce conference 2016.

As a developer, using a tool that can help me build something resilient and reusable is incredibly appealing. I want to recycle things. I want to be able to swap out microservices for different ones and not have to start completely over. That’s the real value that Built.io Flow provides.

– Joshua Birk, Principal Developer Evangelist, Salesforce

THE SOLUTION

“We wanted the output of the bot to be via ‘Alexa’ because it’s a visual representation of IoT for most people,” says Birk. It was the perfect talking piece to illustrate the IoT cabin in the Developer Forest.

To build the bot, Dreamforce first added conference event information to a Google Sheet. Built.io then created a workflow to pull data from the document and used a webhook to connect to the voice bot built on Alexa’s AI. From there, it used another webhook to parse specific data to the relevant company or session and reported back to Alexa.

“From a development perspective, we were up and running instantly thanks to Built.io Flow’s drag and drop interface,” says Parthiv Patel, Technical Marketing Manager at Built.io. The bulk of the time it took to build the bot was spent on accessing the information; building the workflow and setting it up took only minutes. “After that it was basically plug and play from Dreamforce’s point of view,” says Birk. Dreamforce was thrilled with the results for the following reasons:

  1. Dreamforce wanted a voice bot that could answer basic, repetitive questions when the information booth had many visitors. The Alexa-based concierge bot drew in a crowd.
  2. By partnering with Built.io, Dreamforce was able to accelerate building its concierge bot which was built in five hours.
  3. By leveraging the integration platform Built.io Flow, Dreamforce can add capabilities to the voice bot at any time using microservices and by swapping outputs as attendees’ interests change or new technology becomes available.

If in the future we want to add another element or swap out technology – say, include a text-based aspect to the bot or enable it to send people information to their preferred collaboration tool, such as Chatter – we could do that easily, leveraging the drag and drop interface that Built.io Flow provides. If we had built the bot without Built.io Flow, it would have taken twice as long and left us with a static solution that wouldn’t evolve without additional heavy lifting.

– Joshua Birk, Principal Developer Evangelist, Salesforce

THE RESULTS

The initial goal of the project was to provide Dreamforce with a digital assistant to help answer visitor questions at the information booth, but the bot's real value emerged as it became a conversation piece. “Although we’d originally planned for it to answer common questions while we were busy, it instead enabled and led to much more interesting conversations about how people can apply new technology like AI, IoT, and voice recognition to their own Salesforce data,” says Birk.

Birk says he envisions a long relationship with Built.io in the years to come. “In the future I could see us taking a turn away from presenting the bot with voice and making people come to us. Instead we might focus on a text-based version so we can ensure it is within the reach of our attendees at any given time – on their phones.” He added that his thinking behind the change is centered around encouraging even more participation and engagement that would in turn entice people to stop by the welcome desk.

Due to the versatility of Built.io Flow, the Dreamforce Concierge Bot can easily be updated in a matter of minutes. Birk sees this as a major benefit. “We can make edits to the workflow on the fly to easily leverage new technology via the drag and drop interface that Built.io Flow provides. Having that sort of flexible option is extremely appealing for us.”

Few people are going to walk up to the welcome desk and ask how AI works with Salesforce, but featuring an Amazon Echo draws people in. When a bot provides event information, it’s more natural to enter a conversation about how to communicate with your Salesforce data using just your voice. So our interactions become more meaningful, and that’s the real goal.

– Joshua Birk, Principal Developer Evangelist, Salesforce

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