Virtual assistants becoming increasingly popular

Digital workers will soon end up using virtual assistants at work daily to delegate tasks.

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According to a global research by Gartner, 25 per cent of digital workers are expected to use virtual employee assistants (VEA) at work every day in the next two years. Presently less than two per cent are using VEAs, such as Google’s Alexa. These assistants are helping to increase employee productivity and ensure positive engagement.

The use of smart conversational user interfaces has added to their popularity. There are many types of AI-based assistants available today— virtual personal assistants (VPAs), virtual customer assistants (VCAs) and virtual employee assistants (VEAs).

Many insurance and financial services are already introducing VEAs for their internal work. The IT sector is also opening up to its advantages.

Amazon’s Alexa has been very popular with employees for delegating tasks, such as scheduling meetings and logistics operations. Nokia’s MIKA has been relied on by engineers for performing complex tasks and for problem diagnosis.

According to the report, within the next four years, 25 per cent of the workforce will be interacting with apps using their voice. The chatbots and VEAs available currently are mostly text-based, but the AI-based technology that facilitates conversion of speech to text and vice versa is rapidly improving. Therefore, voice-based solutions will be more sought after in the times to come.

Devices that work like the Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod and Google Home on the domestic front, are expected to become more in demand at the workplaces too. Businesses are expected to spend more than US$3.5 billion on VPAs in the next two years.

Amazon has recently collaborated with Marriott, with the latter using Echo VAs powered by Alexa to facilitate the checkout procedures and room management systems at the Group’s hotels.

The day is not far when companies will have VAs as an indispensable part of the workforce. And what’s more, they will not be seen as threats by the people, but be accepted as productivity-enhancing tools.

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