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Digital trend: Virtual digital assistants

“Hey Siri, call Mr. Brown”, “Hi Cortana, what meetings do I have today?”, “Google, write an e-mail to Ms. Müller.” Users of virtual digital assistants (VDAs) such as Amazon’s Echo or Apple’s Siri are already delegating tasks that accompany office life. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, many large corporations have their virtual digital assistants on the market. The development to make the equipment ready for use in the office has just begun!

1. Current status
2. Speaking instead of typing
3. Outlook in the future

Artificial intelligence (AI) powered systems like Alexa (Amazon), Cortana (Microsoft), and Siri (Apple) communicate directly with the user. Experts agree: Sooner or later, virtual digital assistants will fundamentally change the way of communication. The market for VDAs has a great future. According to a survey from Tractica, the adoption of VDAs will grow rapidly in the coming years, rising from 145.2 million active users worldwide in 2017 to more than 1 billion active users by 2025.

Enterprise VDA Software Revenue by Use Case, World Markets 2016 – 2025

Source: Tractica

Virtual digital assistants offer great sales potential. Annual sales will increase from $ 3.2 billion in 2016 to $ 7.7 billion in 2025.

“In the past 3 years, significant advances in combining natural language processing (NLP) with other forms of AI, primarily machine learning and deep learning, have made enterprise VDAs more intelligent and more useful,” says principal analyst Mark Beccue.

1. Current status

Despite the significant potential, the scope of use of virtual helpers is still limited. According to a survey by Statista, the use of virtual voice assistants is currently very limited to calling contacts, getting directions, or searching for information on the Internet.

Application areas of digital language assistants

Source: Statista

The goal for all manufacturers is to automate recurring tasks in the future through virtual digital assistants. For example, Alexa is already able to book a suitable meeting room on call, start up the video conferencing system and enter the corresponding dial-in data.


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2. Speaking instead of typing

The virtual listeners are getting better in speech understanding. If it is still often necessary to break up a search query into keywords (e.g., “Weather, current, Munich”), a voice search, as in the conversation with a human being, makes it possible to ask questions: “What is the weather in Munich right now?”. Because of the increasing intelligence of the language assistants, a search query is automatically combined with the existing information. So for example, the question “When is the next train to Hamburg?” For a connection query from the train. The language assistant automatically sets the current location as the departure point.

The principle of “speaking instead of typing” is safer, more precise and above all simpler. The interactions with computers and smartphones will increasingly focus on the language in the long term. This development is comparable to the change from the classic mobile phone keypad to touchscreens. Especially if you have several customer appointments every day, it is essential to document the results thoroughly. You should record the results immediately after your customer appointment. Dictating is faster than writing and apps allow this tasks also from the car. Fatal for the task management would be if it can not be reconstructed, what was discussed with whom.

3. Outlook into the future

All major internet and technology companies invest a lot of money in virtual assistants. Businesses are working hard to make them smarter. The assistants are learning steadily and are becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives. In the US, Amazon has already entered into a number of partnerships with cloud providers (Salesforce) and monitoring tools (Splunk). Through these collaborations, virtual assistants will become indispensable in our offices in the long term.


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