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Now in Public Preview: Power Virtual Agents’ new advanced authoring canvas

We are excited to announce the Public Preview launch of Power Virtual Agents’ new and enhanced authoring canvas!

Power Virtual Agents now unifies the sophistication of Microsoft Azure Bot Framework Composer’s pro-code capabilities with the simplicity of Power Virtual Agents’ low-code platform—making it even easier for professional developers and subject matter experts to collaboratively build a bot in one unified Microsoft bot building studio. Try it out now:

Try the public preview for Power Virtual Agents

Hear from Gary Pretty and Phil Topness on the new capabilities now available within the Power Virtual Agents studio.

Here are some of the things that are new in the Preview:

Unified bot building for Microsoft

Professional developers and subject matter experts can easily collaborate within the same studio to build powerful conversational bots together. Developers are already familiar with the sophisticated functionality of Bot Framework Composer and subject matter experts and fusion teams have long used Power Virtual Agents to easily create and manage their bots end to end. Those capabilities are now unified within a single, powerful building experience – making Power Virtual Agents the single bot building tool for professional developers and subject matter experts alike.

Showcasing the new Power Virtual Agents canvas
Showcasing the new Power Virtual Agents canvas re-designed from the ground up

 

Advanced authoring

Rich and powerful authoring capabilities, including developer-focused features for complex dialog management to low-code experiences. Some highlights:

  • Support for interactive adaptive cards and multi-media responses (images, videos, quick replies) help make conversations richer
  • It is now incredibly easy to store, transform, reuse, and work with data that a bot gathers through the conversation – a common need for professional developers. Using the integrated Power Fx editor, builders can connect to a backend custom API using Microsoft Power Platform connectors, receive a response, parse it, extract the necessary information, and easily transform the information using Power Fx for use within the conversation. For example, asking a user for their employee ID, connecting to a backend payroll system that returns a blob, cracking it open and extracting salary information, and presenting it to the user is now all possible within the graphical experience.
  • Advanced flexibility for common conversation behavior, such as fine control over how your bot disambiguates a user intent or handles fallback and escalation scenarios. Bot builders now have control over dialog behavior, including custom validation rules, the number of times to re-prompt following an invalid answer, and what the bot should do if your users get stuck.
  • Enabling your bot to react to event, such as when a spot opens up or a package arrive, with event extensibility and contextual triggers (coming soon).

 

Fusion teams and collaboration

Throughout the industry, bots are increasingly being built and managed in-house by multidisciplinary teams of subject matter experts, developers, and IT power users. Power Virtual Agents is an ideal conversational AI studio for teams working together to build bots and conversational experiences because users can easily collaborate within the graphical canvas, with multi-authoring support and powerful, Office like collaboration and commenting capabilities.

 

Governance, management, and compliance

Power Virtual Agents provides bot builders access to the host of powerful admin, governance and self-management capabilities that Power Platform offers: lifecycle management, a unified admin center, and configurable data loss prevention policies to control bots and data. Additionally, Power Virtual Agents comes with numerous compliance and regulatory certifications that users commonly need:

  • For government users, Power Virtual Agents is Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) certified. Learn more
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) certified for healthcare scenarios
  • For payment scenarios, Power Virtual Agents is PCI compliant to handle payments.
  • Other compliance offerings include System and Organization Controls (SOC), multiple International Organization Standards (ISO), and many more.

Full compliance offerings available here.

Data loss prevention policies within Power Virtual Agents
Configurable data loss prevention policies in the Power Platform Admin Center

You can also read about all the new features in detail here

 

Getting started

  1. Go to aka.ms/tryPVA and login in to your existing Power Virtual Agents account or sign up for a free trial (or even explore the click-through demo)
  2. After you land in the product, click the ‘Create’ tab in the left navigation menu.
  3. Click the option to ‘Try the unified canvas (preview)’ to create a bot with the new capabilities.

    Screenshot of two options to build bots. On the left, build for production. On the right, try the new unified canvas (preview)
    Power Virtual Agents’ new unified canvas button
  4. Select ‘Continue’ to continue with creating a new preview bot. Once ready, you can begin exploring the new capabilities.

 

Limited time offer

Until March 31st, 2023, Power Virtual Agents and additional chat sessions are available at a limited-time price of $200 (base) and $100 (add-ons) respectively.

This is the equivalent of 10c per virtual agent session (100 turns of conversation, or about 0.1c cents per turn), including full Power Virtual Agents features and connected Power Automate cloud flows with 750+ prebuilt connectors.

You can purchase directly via the website or speak with your Microsoft or licensing solution provider.

 

Beginning your journey

As always, these new capabilities continue to be available in Power Virtual Agents’ globally-distributed, multi-tenant SaaS, backed by the full power of Power Platform and the Microsoft cloud.

There’s no infrastructure to manage, no services to stand up, no complex AI models to train — just sign up, work together with your subject matter experts and developers to build your bot within the graphical studio, connect it to your backend systems with hundreds of pre-built connectors and the built-in capabilities of Power Automate – and start talking with your users in Microsoft Teams, websites, Facebook, or the channel of your choice. You can even access built-in analytics on how your bot is performing and insights on what to build next—all from within the same pane of glass.

The Public Preview launch of our new unified authoring canvas is another step along our continuing journey to democratize conversational AI. With the continuing integration of Bot Framework capabilities and Azure Cognitive Services into Power Virtual Agents, bot creators of all stripes – from subject matter experts to developers – have a single, unified conversational AI studio from Microsoft for all their bot-building needs.

Happy Bot Building!

Omar Aftab
Vice President, Conversational AI

 


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