Skype Bots

At Build 2016, Microsoft demonstrated how Skype users will soon be able to leverage virtual assistants like Cortana to get organized.

Demonstrating Skype on a Lumia 950 XL, Principle Group Manager Lilian Rincon showed how companies will be able to leverage the all-new Skype Bot SDK to allow the platform's 300 million users to book hotels, order pizza, and much more via conversations within Skype itself.

Skype conversational bots will begin arriving today on updated iOS, Android and Windows versions of the communication platform, reflecting Satya Nadella's vision to "open up" Skype. Microsoft showed how their own virtual assistant, Cortana, will be ever-present in future versions, allowing users to access all sorts of services using natural language right within the chat window.

Cortana will highlight key terms in your conversations and begin privately messaging you to inquire whether or not you need assistance. To accomplish more complicated tasks, Cortana will communicate with other bots to co-ordinate and deliver the results you're looking for.

Microsoft announced a new open source Bot Framework to enable developers and companies to create all sorts of conversational bots. Microsoft also showed how those bots can easily connect with other services outside of Microsoft's own platform, including Slack, via their new Bot developer center.

Additionally, Skype will automatically provide transcripts of video messages in your native language thanks to Skype Translate, and will allow companies and brands to create video bots to add further personalization to the service experience.

Microsoft's Skype Bot SDK and open Bot Framework previews are now live, with global hackathons coming in May to stir innovation.

For all the latest information from this year's Build, keep an eye on our all-access topic page.