Microsoft Bot Technology
I have been reviewing technologies available to build a chatbots using Microsoft platform. The client is perticularly using Microsoft platforms in the company so they prefered to use Microsoft stack. Here are some of the options available in MS stack.
Microsoft provides two frameworks to build bots or chatbots.
- Microsoft bot framework
- power virtual agent
Both Microsoft Bot Framework and Power Virtual Agents are capable tools for creating conversational agents or chatbots. However, there are some differences between the two
On the other hand, Power Virtual Agents is a low-code tool that allows you to create chatbots using a visual interface. It’s designed to be easy to use and requires no coding experience, making it a good option for less technical users who want to create simple chatbots quickly. Power Virtual Agents also includes pre-built connectors to a range of Microsoft services, such as Dynamics 365 and Power Automate, which can be useful for integrating your chatbot with other tools.
Microsoft Bot Framework: Microsoft Bot Framework is a free and open-source platform, which means you can use it without any cost. However, some of the premium features cost additional amount. We will need some serverless functions to integrate backend.
Power Virtual Agents : There are several pricing tiers available, depending on the number of chatbots we want to create and the number of messages they can handle per month.
Power Virtual Agents – building PVA bot is very quick and easy but operational costs are very high ( We will need 3-4 days to build a PoC for PVA) . Microsoft Bot Framework is flexible and highly customizable and operational costs are low. ( Development efforts will be high )
Depending on how much traffic they expect we can go with one of these options. PVA – Costs about $200 per months for 2000 chat sessions.
Microsoft Bot Framework – For low traffic sites it will almost stay in free plan / within less than $50 including premium channels.
In terms of hosting, both Microsoft Bot Framework and Power Virtual Agents can be hosted on Microsoft Azure. Hosting costs on Azure depend on the specific resources and services you use, but you can get an estimate of the costs using the Azure pricing calculator. Alternatively, you can host your chatbot on a different cloud platform or on your own servers, but the hosting costs will depend on the specific platform you choose and the resources required to run your chatbot.
Conclusion - Buiniess users can use Power Virtual Agents to build low traffic bots that can easily integrate with Microsoft echo systems like Dynamics , building it is very easy but operational costs will increase with traffic. However microsoft bot framework needs specialized developers to build and deploy bots. One can build versatile bots by taking advantage of various features like Language Understanding (LUIS) , QnA Maker , speech services. It can be cost optimized for high traffic websites.