Learn the difference between AWS Chatbot and Amazon Lex and how you can use both of these services from Amazon.
If you are looking to build a chatbot or conversational agent with Amazon Web Services as your platform, you might be wondering the difference between AWS Chatbot and Amazon Lex. In case you didn’t already know, the AWS platform comprises of almost 200 products and services across its spectrum, with some services overlapping in terms of features. It’s not hard to see why it can be confusing to understand which services from Amazon can help you build a conversational chatbot or conversational agent to elevate your business’s support and marketing efforts.
In this post, I’m going to be talking through a comparison of AWS Chatbot and Amazon Lex, what the differences are, what the similarities are, how both can work together, and also use cases for each of these different services.
If you are completely new to the cloud platform providers as a whole, just know that the other major players in this space are Microsoft and Google, along with some boutique companies that specialize in chatbot platforms. In this post, I’m going to focus on AWS, specifically on AWS Chatbot and Amazon Lex to dispel some of the confusion (potentially because of the name).
Main Difference Between AWS Chatbot and Amazon Lex
AWS Chatbot is an interactive agent that has been prebuilt that allows you to monitor and interact with AWS resources, allowing you to receive alerts and diagnostic information from AWS services like Amazon Cloudwatch and AWS Security Hub in channels like Chime and Slack. Amazon Lex allows you to build conversational chatbots using natural language with automatic speech recognition (ASR) to allow you to convert speech to text and natural language processing (NLP) to allow you to recognize and identify intents to then provide an action to a bot user.
General Overview of AWS Chatbot
Advantages of AWS Chatbot
AWS Chatbot is a service that allows your team to respond quickly, become updated, and collaborate on any operational issues, security events, deployment workflows, and any other alerts for applications your team runs on your AWS accounts. It allows teams to collaboratively monitor and resolve issues immediately in real time.
The advantages of AWS Chatbot are:
- Configuration to Slack or Chime channel only takes a few minutes to setup
- Immediate and real time alerts to your Slack or Chime chat rooms to inform your team of operational events or incidences
- Collaboration support by allowing commands to be issued from Slack channels
- Permissions can be set by individual Slack channels or Chime Chat rooms and can be customized using pre-defined templates with specific permissions
Disadvantages of AWS Chatbot
AWS Chatbot allows you to easily monitor and quickly interact with your AWS services and resources. Disadvantages of AWS Chatbot are:
- Only two channels are supported for AWS Chatbot, which are Slack channels and Chime chat rooms.
- If your organization, does not use Slack channels or Chime Chat rooms, then you will not be able to use this service.
- If your organization has multiple AWS accounts and has a need for a single AWS Chatbot configuration, you will only be able to map the configurations independent of each other.
- AWS Chatbot notifications does not support custom formatting. Commands and actions are only supported in Slack, but not in Chime.
General Overview of Amazon Lex
Advantages of Amazon Lex
Amazon Lex allows teams to build conversational user interfaces into any application using a combination of voice and text. It interweaves deep learning using automatic speech recognition and natural language processing to identify and recognize the intent of a user request, allowing teams to build applications with humanlike interactions with a bot.
The advantages of Amazon Lex are:
- Console provides a user friendly interface that allows administrators of a bot to supply a few examples phrases which then builds a sophisticated model where users can then interact with the bot
- Deployment is simple because teams can build, test, and deploy chatbots across a multitude of channels and platforms in a single click
- The pricing model requires no upfront costs or minimum fees, thus allowing you to scale costs with usage so that you don’t have to pre-determine hardware and infrastructure costs
- AWS integration with other services is generally seamless, so integrating AWS Lambda, Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon Cognito, and Amazon DynamoDB will be easy.
- Amazon Lex can be deployed across mobile and messaging platforms.
Disadvantages of Amazon Lex
While Amazon Lex is a great service, there are also some challenges to consider as well:
- Amazon Lex currently supports Amazon Lex supports US English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Australian English, British English, Canadian French, Latin American Spanish, and US Spanish.
- To support other multi-language functionality with Amazon Lex, you’ll need to combine the use of other services including Amazon Comprehend and Amazon Translate to support non-English languages.
- Maximum duration of speech input is 15 seconds.
- Amazon Lex bots require an Internet connection and cannot be accessed locally.
AWS Chatbot and Amazon Lex Use Case Comparison
Both AWS Chatbot and Amazon Lex allow users to interact commonly with a bot interface, but both use cases are very different. AWS Chatbot is more of a niche use case for software development teams whereas Amazon Lex is a platform designed to build sophisticated chatbots that can interact with a broader user base.
AWS Chatbot is used for alerting team channels about AWS resource/service incidences in Slack and Chime chatrooms to assist with streamlining DevOps, allowing you to even interact and send commands in Slack. Amazon Lex is a chatbot platform that allows you sophisticated natural language understanding algorithms to interact with users on mobile and messaging platforms.
Summary of Key Differences Between AWS Chatbot and Amazon Lex
If you are new to the AWS ecosystem and have a need to build your own chatbot, navigating the services that AWS has to offer can be confusing and daunting. I hope this comparison between AWS Chatbot (AWS referring to the niche use case for this bot) and Amazon Lex (Lex referring to a similar service like Alexa, which should not be confused for the Alexa Skills Set) is a platform for those wanting to build their own serverless chatbot.