Are the Tools up to the Task? an Evaluation of Commercial Dialog Tools in Developing Conversational Enterprise-grade Dialog Systems

There has been a significant investment in dialog systems (tools and runtime) for building conversational systems by major companies including Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon. The question remains whether these tools are up to the task of building conversational, task-oriented dialog applications at the enterprise level. In our company, we are exploring and comparing several toolsets in an effort to determine their strengths and weaknesses in meeting our goals for dialog system development: accuracy, time to market, ease of replicating and extending applications, and efficiency and ease of use by developers. In this paper, we provide both quantitative and qualitative results in three main areas: natural language understanding, dialog, and text generation. While existing toolsets were all incomplete, we hope this paper will provide a roadmap of where they need to go to meet the goal of building effective dialog systems.

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