Consumers are expecting every organization to deliver products and services with a seamless experience. Technology is enabling the users, but organizations are struggling to keep up and cannot meet these expectations. Millennials and subsequent generations are digital natives, and by 2025 they are expected to make up 75% of the workforce. Millennials will impact the landscape of the business applications and how they are consumed. With this change in consumer and business operations, companies will have to utilize technologies like Virtual Digital Assistants to satisfy their consumer and employee needs.
Virtual Digital Assistants (VDA’s) help companies improve efficiencies and customer support by leveraging natural language processing (NLP) in forms of chatbots or voice commands. The rise of Virtual digital assistants is impacting the way companies operate. Companies are launching digital assistants to manage customer requests with minimal human intervention. The quality of the service provided by chatbots is now indistinguishable from human support. By deploying VDA’s, companies are transferring the technological challenges from the user to the systems. Instead of training users becoming technology literate, systems are becoming people literate.
Voice User Interface (VUI) will become significant in interacting with smartphones, televisions, in-car controls when searching for information. Voice-enabled remotes support natural language speech recognition and have transformed on how you search for content on TV. Traditionally you look up content by movie name, actors using numeric keypad is now replaced by asking what is on TV now? Turn on the Monday Night Football. The users want instant answers and rely on voice commands to invoke Alexa, Siri, or Cortana, making searching for content and information more accessible and faster.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, in his book Hit Refresh, talks about how humans and machines will work together in the future, not against each other. He describes it as a symbiosis between humans and technology. Humans learn and adapt to technology; Technology learns and adapts to humans. Nadella also remarks for AI to succeed, it’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ) must complement with its Emotional Quotient (EQ)
VDA’s do not just manage information but also learn from the interactions with the physical world. Virtual digital assistants like Cortana and Alexa are working together to summon each other to extend the functionality and access to additional apps and services. “Alexa, open Cortana” will launch Cortana on Echo devices and “Hey Cortana, open Alexa,” will open Alexa on Windows 10 PCs. You can integrate Alexa for Business to Office 365 and Google G-Suite to check your calendar, schedule and start a meeting.
St. Louis University (SLU) is the first university in the country to deploy Amazon Alexa on the campus. SLU has deployed 23,000 Echo Dot smart devices in student dormitories to get instant answers to questions specific to the university. Students can ask questions about campus events, class registration, schedules, technology, and residence life. Student’s personal information is not collected through these shared devices, thus protecting the privacy.
Market intelligence firm Tractica forecasts that enterprise VDA users will rise to $843 million by 2021. The firm also estimates that the total VDA revenue will grow to $15.8 billion in 2021.
Millions of people are conversing and working with digital assistants every day. VDAs find a use case in several industries like e-commerce, healthcare, taxes, legal, and business applications. Merchants can find quick insights into their sales, marketing, and customer service KPI’s. Consumers can order or ask questions about products. Chatbots and Alexa for Business can be deployed in the organizations to offer employees information about the commonly requested queries across HR, Operations, Marketing, Sales, Project Management, or enhancing the line of business applications. Katalyst Digital and E-Commerce practice can help you discover how the smart apps improve the customer journey and experience.