A Brief Look at Virtual Assistants



There is no doubt that you have come across the virtual assistant (or voice assistant). Whether you have it on a smartphone or you use it via a digital speaker in your home, you have probably spent some time using some type of virtual assistant. In case you have not, taking a brief look at virtual assistants could be beneficial.

Today, virtual assistants are integrated into several products: phones, smart hubs, cars, and more. These virtual assistants, fueled by truckloads of data, can be quite useful for an individual, but what needs to happen before they can actually be trusted for business?

Virtual Assistants Aren’t All That Helpful

Virtual assistants, for all that has been made of them, are still limited in their effectiveness. With their simple, direct line of operation, command, action, response, they don’t offer a lot, right now. They are useful to sync to some smart things (maybe), sync to your music, tell you the weather forecast, and a load of other simple functions that could be labeled “useful”, but aren’t going to help a person all that much. If you are looking for basic processes with little variation, they are great.

Some of the most powerful companies in the world are all-in on the development of this technology. Apple has Siri, Google has Google Assistant, Samsung has Bixby, Amazon has Alexa, and Microsoft has Cortana. Those are some heavy hitters developing this technology. It must be important, right? For them it is.

Voice gives organizations the chance to intimately know individual consumers. This type of personalization is exactly what modern consumers use, even if it serves to creep them out. With practical uses of smartphones unquestioned–and the utility of smart speakers (and other distribution methods of these applications) growing. It’s only a matter of time where it will be successfully integrated to the workplace.

For that to happen there needs to be:

Computing Improvements

So, what do you expect to do with your Echo Dot or Google Home Mini? Not very much. The competition between vendors will drive innovation of this technology forward faster than it would without it, but if the only benefit of these devices is to search databases with your voice, it will continue to be a middling product. They will need serious improvements if they will ever want to be useful in a workplace environment.

Enhanced Perception

The application developers have an uphill battle ahead of them. In order to completely understand the intricacies of human communication, you have to be able to ascertain tone, syntax, and even non-verbal cues. While microphone technology is improving, it stands to reason that virtual assistants will need to make massive improvements on how they understand a person’s voice if they are ever going to be a useful tool. Which would honestly be creepy if the device starts to understand different emotions in our tones of voice.

Greater Trust

Unfortunately, these companies did this to themselves. The most significant hurdle in the adoption of virtual assistants is the data collection strategy behind them. People simply do not trust that these devices, and the companies that manufacture them, can be trusted. For now, the technology needs to be viewed as a tool, rather than a rule. Meaning that virtual assistants are a technology that is in its early stages and shouldn’t be trusted.

We hope a brief look at virtual assistants can somehow benefit you. What are your thoughts about virtual assistants? What benefits do you think they can provide the average worker? How do you use your virtual assistant? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. If you need help implementing any kind of IT operations, please reach out to our team today.

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