HairGuru - HackIllinois 2017 Create
- Chatbot built using Microsoft Azure Cloud Services and the Cognitive Services (LUIS: luis.ai)
- Allows customers to make reservations for barbershop appointments
- Provides basic information such as hours of operation, directions to the shop, and pricing
Barbers build up loyal followings over time. They are also frequently very busy. So much so, that they don't have time to answer phone calls and take reservations from their patrons. Enter HairGuru. By setting up a friendly chatbot for the barbershop, HairGuru streamlines the process of getting that haircut appointment for the customers, as well as allows barbers to serve their clients better as they no longer have to be interrupted by the ringing of their phones.
What it does
This chatbot allows customers to make appointments on their barber's calendar. It uses the Google Calendar API to constantly sync and keep track of available time slots.
How we built it
We used Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Cognitive services i.e. LUIS to make the chatbot, and the Google Calendar API to help schedule appointments.
Challenges we ran into
One of the biggest challenges we faced was integrating with Google Calendar. Accessing an external API is an asynchronous procedure, and we had to make a clever series of callbacks from the chatbot to fetch and update events in the calendar.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We did a good job of deploying the chatbot to its own website as well as Facebook Messenger. Right now it's only accessible by developers on Facebook Messenger but we plan to publish it to public soon.
What we learned
We gained a lot of useful knowledge about Microsoft Azure services, the Google Calendar API, and Firebase among other things.
What's next for HairGuru
We shall dig deeper into our project and add more features to this chatbot. At the top of the list is adding analytics services using Firebase. We plan to work with barbers to bring this to many barbershops.
To run the app:
You will need to install the Bot Framework Emulator from here.
Open the Bot Framework Emulator, and enter
in the address bar. Leave App ID and Password blank. Hit connect and you can now chat with the chatbot!
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