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In a series of reports, we cut through the hype to assess the prospects for intelligent agents in consumer commerce. This report provides detailed analysis of the drivers and barriers in the intelligent agent market.


  • AI applications are complex and difficult to build, which has proved a barrier to entry for third parties wishing to develop services. But this is changing as leading tech companies provide the platforms, tools, and API frameworks for building the AI service ecosystem.
  • Intelligent agents will help improve customer support, and the deep data insights they generate will enable marketing and advertising messages to be targeted with much greater precision and contextual relevance, which will have a positive impact on advertising revenues.

Features and Benefits

  • Analyzes the key technology developments that are driving the market for intelligent agents in consumer commerce.
  • Discusses consumers' attitudes towards intelligent agents, what they like and dislike.

Key questions answered

  • What are the market drivers and barriers for chat bots and digital assistants in digital commerce?
  • What are the prospects for telcos, financial institutions, messaging platforms, consumer tech companies, and more?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view
  • Recommendations

Technology developments

  • Exponential growth in data
  • Speech recognition
  • Natural language processing
  • Machine learning is going local

Building the AI ecosystem

  • Tools are at hand to drive service development
  • Easier access to AI API frameworks
  • Heavyweights are making AI open source
  • A surge in AI start-ups

The consumer perspective

  • Increasing consumer exposure to AI and intelligent agents
  • The conversational interface is appealing to consumers
  • Chat bots and digital assistants can remove friction
  • Task-driven digital assistants make life easier
  • Keeping the appeal of intelligent agents in perspective

Intelligent agents and B2C players

  • Publishers and media companies
  • Retailers and brands
  • Financial institutions
  • Mobile operators
  • Messaging players
  • Consumer tech firms

The race to lead in AI competency

  • Acquisitions are paramount in the AI capabilities arms race
  • Close-up on Facebook's AI competencies
  • Close-up on Google's AI competencies


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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