Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Automating your Mobile Presence with a Telegram Bot

Telegram is an open platform for chat on mobile and other platforms. Telegram lets you chat on your mobile phone or online for free, with no ads, and no SMS charges, with anyone, on any platform. Telegram is one of the top 10 mobile chat platforms with over 100 million users.

Bots lets you automatically respond to messages, or post content. The Bot Libre platform supports bots on many different platforms including Twitter and Facebook, and now supports Telegram bots. Bot Libre's Telegram support lets you manage a Telegram channel to post updates from your business, organization, school, club, family, or any other type of group. Your bot can also be connected to a Telegram bot account that lets it chat with your users, customers, friends, or any users on Telegram.

You can chat with some of our bots on Telegram, or join our Telegram channel.

Getting Started

To create a Telegram bot, the first thing you need is to create a Telegram account, and a Telegram bot.

To create a Telegram account, just download the app from Google Play, the Apple App Store, or your favorite app store. You can also sign up online at, https://telegram.org/. To sign up you will need a phone number, and Telegram will send you a SMS message code, so have your mobile phone handy. If you don't have a mobile phone, I think it can also call a land line, or you can use a free online SMS phone (google "free virtual sms").

Creating a Bot on Telegram

Once you have downloaded your client and signed up, you can now create a bot. Bots on Telegram must use special bot accounts, you cannot create a bot for a regular user account (well maybe you could, but it would not be kosher). To create a bot on Telegram you actually have to chat with a Telegram bot.

To create a bot chat with the @BotFather.

Send BotFather the command "/newbot" to create a bot. Give your bot a name, and user id. BotFather will create your bot, and give you an access token. Save this access token, as you will need it later.

Creating a Bot on Bot Libre

Next create a bot on Bot Libre. You can create a bot here, is it free.

For more information on creating a bot on Bot Libre see, How to create your own chat bot in 10 clicks.

Linking you Bot to Telegram

To connect your Bot Libre bot to your Telegram bot, go to your bot's Admin Console. Make sure you login and go to your bot's page first.

In your bot's Admin Console click on the Telegram link.

On your bot's Telegram page paste your Telegram bot's token. If you forgot to save the token, that is ok, just talk with @BotFather. Send him the command "/token", and he will list your bots and give you their token.

Next click "Connect" to connect your bot. If successful, it will auto fill your bot's name, and your webhook URL.

Your bot can respond to chat messages, or post to a channel. To have your bot respond to messages, you can either click "Check messages (poll)", or "Realtime messages (webhook)".

If you use polling, our server will cycle through all of the Telegram bots, and every cycle your bot will check its messages and reply. How long the cycle is depend on which of our servers you use, and if you upgrade your account or not. See Upgrade.

The other option is realtime messaging using a webhook. Realtime messages will use your user application id. Your application id supports a limited number of API calls per day. You can upgrade your account to get more API calls. See Upgrade.

Note for realtime messaging you need to register your webhook. To do this just click on "Save", then click "Disconnect", then "Connect" again. This will send Telegram your webhook, and now your bot should respond instantly to messages on Telegram.

Channels

A Telegram channel is like a bulletin board where you can post information about your business, organization, school, club, family, or any other type of group. You can create a channel from your Telegram client (I was only able to create a channel from the mobile app, the web client didn't seem to have that option).

To connect your bot to your channel enter the channel name on your bot's Telegram page. Your bot can post to your channel from an RSS feed, or auto post.

An RSS feed is an XML content page of news or articles. Most blogs, forums, and news services support RSS feeds. You can add multiple RSS feeds to your bot, and enter keywords to only post articles with the matching keywords.

Your bot can also randomly post from a list of posts you define every set number of hours. You can enter "-1" to post more than once per hour (if your account has been upgraded). Your auto posts can contain script code in Self or AIML to do funky stuff.

What Next

Now you can review your bot's conversation from its "Training & Chat Logs" page in its Admin Console. You can also add new responses and correct your bots responses. Training your bot does not require any programming, but if you want to write code, you can script your bot using Self, or AIML.

When a new user connects to your bot it will send it a "/start" message to start. It is a good idea to define a respond for "/start" for your bot to greet the user.

That's it your done, having fun with your bot and don't forget to list it in our bot directory under Telegram.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Bot Libre Open Bot Directory and External Bot API

In addition to providing a free open bot platform, Bot Libre also provides an open bot directory of all the bots on the Internet. Chat bots, Twitter bots, Facebook bots, Telegram bots, Slack bots, IRC bots, email bots, bot apps, and every other type of bot on the Internet.

The Open Bot Directory

The Bot Libre open bot directory lets you link your favorite bots, or your own bots that you created on your own website, or through any other service. Your bot link will appear in our bot directory and can be browsed, categorized, tagged, thumbed up, and rated like any of our other bots.

To add a link to an external bot to the Bot Libre directory, click on Browse, then click on the New Link button.

Enter the bot's name and a link to its website. That's it, your bot can now be found by all of our users.

The External Bot Web API

If your bot supports a web API, such as an XML API, you can go beyond just linking your bot. When you create your link you can specify your bot's API, then users will be able to chat with your bot directly on the Bot Libre website. You will also be able to integrate with Bot Libre's services, including:

  • Text to speech
  • Animated avatars
  • Chat Bot Wars
  • Embedding and JavaScript API
  • Mobile Android and iOS SDK

You can link your bot's API when you create it, or from its 'Edit Details' page. Enter the HTTP GET or POST URL and a template of the XML response. You can use tokens such as :message, :conversation, and :response in your URL or XML template to be translated when the API is called. You can include your bot's ID or API key in your URL or XML argument.

You can configure your bot's voice and avatar from its Admin Console. You can embed your bot's new interface using our JavaScript SDK, or create a new website for your bot in our free web script hosting. You can engage other bots in our directory in Chat Bot Wars, where bot's talk with other bots, and users decide which bots are the best.

You can even earn money from linking your bot. If you have a Bronze account, you can add your own ad code to your bot's page, such as Google Adsense, or Amazon Ads.

You can also link other content in our directory, such as avatars, graphics, scripts, chatrooms, and forums. You can browse all linked bots in our directory from Search. Some example linked bots include Paphus the virtual agent from the Paphus Solutions website, and BotFather the Telgram bots that lets you create a bot on Telgram.

Proxy Bots

It is even possible to connect your external bot to Twitter, Facebook, email, and Bot Libre's other services. This can be done by creating a bot "proxy". To create a proxy bot, create a new bot, not a new link. The proxy bot will be a real Bot Libre bot, but it will just forward questions to your web API.

For a proxy bot currently the AIML2 SRAIX XML API is supported. To make your bot a proxy bot, create a bot from the empty_template, or reset a bot by clicking the "Delete All" button from your bot's Knowledge page in its Admin Console.

Go to your bot's "Training & Chat Logs" page, and select "Add Default Response". Set the default response to a request call.

This will make your bot forward all requests to the server using the AIML2 SRAIX XML web API, and return the result.

That's it, have fun linking your bots.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bots, the New Communications Platform

We crossed into a new era last week, the mobile era has been superseded by the bot era. With announcements from Microsoft, and Facebook we are now entering a brave new world. Bots have become the new business and communications platform, what does it mean for your business?

Quick links:

Back in the Old Days - Lessons from History

Back in the Stone Age if you wanted to talk with someone, you had to walk over to their hut, find them, and start a conversation. If Ug wanted to get a new spear, he had to walk over to Thug the spear makers hut, wait for him to be home, and barter with him to have him make Ug a new spear.

Contrary to popular belief the Stone Age was not superseded by the Bronze Age. Although bronze changed the way humans killed each other, it did not drastically affect the way people lived. The new age was the Paper Age. After the invention of paper by Cai Lun (蔡伦) in China 102 AD, writing and paper dramatically affected the way people lived and did business.

Paper was the main factor why China dominated the world economy until the middle ages. It took until 1,100 AD before paper made its way from China, to Islam, and finally into the then backward Europe. Paper, and the invention of the print press, was the main factor that lead to the European renaissance.

Now if Ug wanted to buy a new spear, he could go to a merchant in his town and write a purchase order on paper, giving payment in paper currency. The merchant could send the order by mail to Thug the spear maker who could send Ug's new spear in his next shipment. This let Thug greatly expand his business's market and its efficiency.

The Paper Age entered its peek after the invention of the printing press, but was soon superseded by the invention of the Telegraph, then Telephone as we entered the Telephone Age. Telephones greatly increased the speed of communication, and allowed people and businesses to communicate instantaneously over long distances.

With the invention of the personal computer and the launch of the Apple II in 1977, and the IBM PC in 1981, we entered the Computer Age. Computers had the biggest impact on the way people lived and did business than any previous invention in history, at least that was until the next big thing, and it was a big one.

The global network of interconnected computers, The Internet, has had the biggest impact on humanity and our planet than any other invention in history. Although many people claim to have invented The Internet, the single point that defines the start of the Internet Age was the release of Netscape Navigator in 1994. After this event the Internet took off and was used or at least know to exist by everyone. This is when the Internet passed the "grandma test", in that even people's grandmas were on the Internet, or at least knew what it was, and knew it was important.

Now Thug was able to put his spear business online. Thug was an early adopter of the Internet, so was able to capture this new market and sell his spears all over the world. With the Internet Thug could automate much of his business, and could deal directly with his customers, and suppliers without having to deal with merchants and third parties. This changed the spear making business almost overnight, and because Thug was an early adopter, he was able to become the biggest spear maker in the world. At the same time, many of Thug's competitors went out of business, as they failed to put their businesses online.

We are no longer in the Internet Age. After the release of the iPhone in 2007 we entered the Mobile Age. The Smartphone has again changed the way people live and do business, and unlike any other invention, has become part of us. Most people feel naked, cut off, and alone without their phone and cell data service. Businesses that have adopted the mobile platform have been able to connect with more clients, partners, and users, and at a more integrated level, than ever before.

Although many businesses are still struggling to get onto the mobile platform, and some haven't even made it onto the Internet yet, we have yet again entered a new era. With the announcements by Microsoft and Facebook this week we have entered the Bot Age.

In the Bot Age, Thug can fully automate his business. Thug can interact directly and instantaneously with all of his customers, suppliers, and partners. Thug's bots can integrate all of his communications platforms, automating interactions on phone, email, Internet, and mobile. Bots can interact with Thug's customers on his website, from his mobile app, on social media, email, and phone.

Brave New World - The Bot Platform

The "Bot Platform" is the new way of living and doing business. This is not the future, it is the present.

The bot platform will revolutionize the world faster than any previous technology. This is because the bot platform does not replace existing technology, it unifies and automates them. The bot platform does not operate on a single medium, the bot platform spans and integrates the Internet, mobile, social media, email, SMS text, voice phone, cars, transportation, factories, education, retail, and every facet of life.

Businesses that have adopted the bot platform will have bots that provide customer service, and technical support on their website and from their mobile app. Their bots will also answer customer request from email, from SMS texts, and using speech technology will automate their voice phone call centers.

The business's bot platform will also interact with their users, customers, and potential customers on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Telegram, Slack, and others. Bots will automate sales, marketing, and customer service.

Bots will not just answer common questions. Bots will reply to users questions in context, and get to the root of their problem or request. Bots will remember their users and their information, and will custom tailor their interactions with their users. Bots will be connected to their business's information systems, will be able to know a customer's details, give up to date information on their orders and status. Bots will be able to securely validate their identity, sell services, take orders and process payments. Bots will be able to change their customers account status, book and schedule deliveries and service engagements.

Bots will interact with other bots. Customer service and social media bots will pass information and leads to sales bots. Bots in a business's data center will interact with the bots in their factories that interact with their manufacturing robotics to change what products are manufactured instantaneously to their orders and market demand. Data center bots will interact with bots in their shipping and delivery systems to automate delivers using driverless trucks, cars, and drones. A business's bot will interact with their partner's and supplier's bots in the new bot driven economy.

The Bot Age means that more communication will be done between people and bots, and bots and other bots, than between people and other people. We are already their, bots automate many call centers, virtual agents automate service on websites, bots reply to SMS text messages, bots are on social media, some of your friends and followers are probably bots.

Bots crawl the Internet, track your web usage, and decide what ads you see. Bots know everything about you. Bots email you, phone you, text you, reply to and retweet your tweets, like and comment on your posts. Today more Internet traffic and bandwidth is used by bots, than by people. Bots post content, harvest data, change content, email, tweet, text, post, chat.

Web crawler bots like the Googlebot, Bing, Yahoo Slurp, Yandex, Majestic, browse the Internet every day, looking for new and updated content, searching for copyright infringement, and gathering statistics and information. Bots decide what is new, what is cool, how important your business is, what news the world wants to see.

Bots will change your life. You will have your own bots, on your computer, on your phone, on your TV, in your car, in your house. You bot will be your personal assistant, your nanny, your chauffeur, maybe even your lover.

Bots will change your business and your life, are you ready?

"Hello, we are here to help" - Your experts in intelligence automation

At Paphus Solutions we are in the bot business. The bot business is our business, we were founded on it. Our free open platform Bot Libre hosts over 20,000 bots. Chat bots, virtual agents, Twitter bots, Facebook bots, email bots, bots on IRC, bots for web and mobile.

On Bot Libre you can build your own personal bot, to be your virtual assistant, to automate your social media or email, to be you, to be your friend. Our platform is free and open source, including our AI engine, our scripting languages Self and AIML, and our web, Android, and iOS SDKs.

Our commercial platform Bot Libre for Business offers professional hosting and services to help your business adopt and be succesful in the new bot economy. We can add a bot to your website or mobile app to provide customer service, automated your business presence on social media, automate your email and other services. We are not just experts in our platform, but also experts in Facebook's automation platform, in Twitter's platform, in Microsoft's, Apple's, Google's, in Telegram, and Slack.

We live at a monumentus time in human history, in bot history, will you join us, or be left behind?