2 min read

Announcing new features for Microsoft Power Virtual Agents

With the launch of Power Virtual Agents in December 2019, Microsoft released a SaaS-based chatbot-building experience that empowers subject matter experts to easily build chatbots in a variety of verticals with a simple, no-code experience.

In Wave 1, our initial focus was on increasing the reach of Power Virtual Agents through language and geo-expansion, enhancing authoring capabilities, and addressing key features for large enterprises like collaboration across multiple bot authors, bot lifecycle management and other admin experiences.

Here’s a quick summary of the features that will be coming in April and May as part of Wave 1:

 

Reach

  • Languages:  In May, Power Virtual Agents will be available in Preview in 15+ languages including French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese – and many others. And in June, language support will be Generally Available, with a fully localized UX experience. This will enable bot builders around the world to easily create chatbots in their local languages using Power Virtual Agents.
  • Geos: Power Virtual Agents is already globally available today with data centers in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. We will be adding a data center in Canada to allow Canadian users with special data sovereignty requirements to build and deploy chatbots using Power Virtual Agents.

 

Advanced Enterprise Features

  • Multi Author support: Power Virtual Agents now allows multiple users to collaborate and co-author a chatbot together, empowering teams to work together. Team members can work on different topics simultaneously, or delegate complex tasks – like adding actions or setting up authentication – to team members with different skill sets.
  • Export and Import chatbots: Administrators can now easily manage the chatbot’s lifecycle to address change control, governance, data residency, and latency requirements. They can import and export a bot across solutions and environments and stage it for release.

 

Authoring Enhancements

  • Pass context to a chatbot: Bots will be able to use context passed to them from the hosting website. For example, the bot can be made aware of the specific page the user was visiting before initiating the chat and can tailor its conversation accordingly. This enables a number of rich, personalized scenarios.
  • Share information across topics with global variables: Information gathered during the course of a conversation in one topic can now flow to others using global variables – making the entire chatbot conversation contextual. For example, if a user has already provided their account number while asking for their balance, the chatbot will not need to ask for it again when the users follows up with a request for a withdrawal.
  • Improved Power Automate Integration: Power Virtual Agents already supports a way for chatbots to invoke actions using hundreds of prebuilt connectors that come with Microsoft Power Platform. With this new feature release, we have made the experience for invoking Power Automate workflows even easier and have added key features such as enhanced error handling and validation.
  • Better integration with Microsoft Power Platform: Power Virtual Agents is now fully integrated into Microsoft Power Platform. Users will be able to create and manage their chatbots directly from the Power Apps maker portal.

Over the past months we have paid close attention to our customers and we are confident we have made the right decisions on what new features to make available in the April and May timeframe. For the full list of new functionality coming up in Wave 1 – and to get a sneak peak of the new features that are coming up next – please refer to the Power Virtual Agents release notes.

 

Happy chatbot building!

Omar Aftab

Partner Director, Power Virtual Agents