Not everyone has access to a stable internet connection on a mobile device, or may not want to download an application to complete seemingly simple tasks. We see the value in SMS and have leveraged this to automate a real world common task.
WHAT WE MADE
FlightBot is an SMS mobile application - where nothing is needed other than a phone with texting and calling capabilities and the phone number for FlightBot. FlightBot allows you to look up flights via a text message of no particular format and returns a list of roughly three flight choices - listed in order of price.
You can then select a flight for booking. A phone call is sent to the number prompting the user to insert payment information through keypad presses during the phone call. The payment process is then simulated and a text confirmation response is returned with a flight confirmation code - which can then be used at the airport to print the boarding pass.
HOW IT WORKS
We built FlightBot using Python and Flask to set up a web server that would listen to calls from the Watson IBM chatbot. Our Python backend would then talk to the Amadeus API to get relevant information, parse that information, and send that back to Watson, which would then send out a text message through Twilio to the user.
When the user finds a flight s/he is interested in and sends out a text to book it, we send out a phone call to the user through Twilio to ask for payment information which is inserted as keypad presses during the phone call. The conversation is tracked on our Python backend, and a confirmation ID is generated and returned to the user via text message along with the flight itinerary.