Arsenal football club has introduced an official chatbot to liaise with fans.
The Arsenal bot has been dubbed ‘Robot Pires’, after former left-winger and midfielder Robert Pires – a leading player in the successful 2000-2006 seasons – who returned to the club as a coach in 2016.
The new AI-powered personality was developed in collaboration with chat application platform GameOn.
Users can converse with Robot Pires through Facebook Messenger, Skype, Telegram, and Slack to get news, insights, fixtures, results, videos, player stats and ticket information. Those wanting to dig deeper can also receive shot-by-shot match commentary, reports, and analysis in real-time.
Robot Pires is infused with the personality of its namesake, and can offer up historical insights and comment on the club’s history when faced with natural language queries such as, ‘When do we play Spurs?’, ‘Whats the latest news?’ and ‘What was it like on the Invincibles?’.
A tactical change
Commenting on the thinking behind the bot, Tom Hines, senior content manager for Arsenal, said, “We’re constantly looking at ways to bring fans content that makes their match day experience even more entertaining.
“Working with GameOn to craft the bot is the next step in us developing a hub for fans that houses the answers to all of their questions – one that feels intuitively part of the Arsenal voice and experience.
Fans feel a personal connection to Arsenal, and AI is more important than ever for us to give fans a personalised experience.
Fans can customise that experience by following their favourite topics and players, setting-up match alerts, getting targeted news and updates, and allowing real-time reactions and engagement direct from the club.
Alex Beckman, founder and CEO of GameOn said, “As the way fans engage with teams evolves, there are more exciting and dynamic ways that we can craft chatbots.
“Chatbots are a great way for clubs to evolve their platforms for speaking to fans, and we’re excited to work with Arsenal to help bring shape to the category.”
Internet of Business says
GameOn’s cloud-based applications make use of proprietary natural language processing, AI, and machine learning to connect users to relevant content through text chat.
The company has previously created similar chatbots in the sporting world, including Sky Sports’ ‘Jeff Bot’.
For organisations looking for greater engagement with their customers, chatbots can link limitless interactions with access to an encyclopaedic knowledge base, without the costs of one-on-one conversations.
Arsenal also stands to learn more about the interests and information needs of its fans via the chatbot’s usage data – as well as gain a new channel through which to sell merchandise and tickets.
Many people are now comfortable interacting with smart assistants from the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Google. Niche, brand-specific examples are a natural evolution of this trend, as platforms such as GameOn emerge to make chatbots relatively easy to create.
Virtual assistants are likely to revolutionise the way customers interact with businesses, but may also introduce ethical and business challenges along the way, as evidenced by Google’s Duplex AI recently.