Artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way out of the universities' ivory towers into the business world. With the implementation and application of AI, many things are going to change.
Personal assistants are usually only spotted in the upper floors of a corporate building: They assist upper level managers, who have tight schedules, complex task-lists, and are assigned with a high level of responsibility. “Human” personal assistants coordinate meetings with stakeholders, prepare decisions and information for the manager, and remind their superiors of relevant results and issues. Personal assistants pull the strings behind the stage and increase the efficiency and quality of their manager through tremendous commitment.
Everybody deserves a digital assistant
Not every employee has the privilege to have a personal assistant like a manager, due to cost- and HR-reasons. With artificial intelligence, however, a personal assistant is no longer a privilege of managers only.
82 percent of surveyed managers expect in the next couple of years that the integrated teams consists of employees, machines and systemsStudy conducted by DELL Technologies (n = 3,800)
What exactly is a digital assistant?
There's basically two types of "digital" assistants: There are "virtual assistants", who are "real humans" oftentimes located in lower-wage countries or respectively not on-site (remote) and execute tasks on demand. In contrast to a traditional personal assistants, virtual assistants are often assigned tasks by various clients, and handle them on a per-request basis. The second type of personal assistants are currently emerging digital assistants based on artificial intelligence. Essentially, they're smart software-applications, which use a conversational interface.
Key differences between digital and virtual assistants
Sometimes, these terms are interchanged and mixed, though there are major differences in virtual and digital assistants:
- Digital assistants are not a real person, they're software-programs simulating a person.
- Digital assistants thus can work on several tasks simultaneously (as they're essentially a computer).
- Digital assistants can execute more complex, data-driven tasks much faster.
- Digital assistants provide a chat-interface via voice or chat on devices such as smartphones, notebooks, wearables and designated smart-speakers.
- Digital assistants can be activated via text, voice or – in the future – possibly also by measuring brain activities.
Developing yet very promising market for digital assistants
The big-5 tech corporates (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft) developed and released assistant services in the recent past. Apple's Siri was the very first assistant on the market back in 2011, followed by Google Assistant (for Android), Amazon's Alexa (accessible via separate smart-speakers), Facebook's virtual assistant M (which never made it's way out of beta) and Microsoft's assistant Cortana.
Revenue from digital assistants for end-consumers
The revenue for digital assistants for end-users was about 18 million US dollar in 2015 and quintupled within a year to roughly 105 million US dollar. In 2017, revenue was estimated at 690 million US dollar and is expected to skyrocket to 12 billion US dollar (which would equal an increase of 1,700 percent compared to 2017).
Market for enterprise digital assistants
In comparison, revenues from enterprise digital assistants were estimated to be at at 800 million US dollar in 2017. Until 2025, revenues are expected to grow annually by 35 percent to 7.7 billion US dollar (Tractica).
Further terms for digital assistants
The following synonyms are commonly used to describe concepts equivalent to "digital assistants" and used interchangeably.
- (Personal) digital assistant
- Intelligent personal assistant (abbr. “IPA”)
- Intelligent virtual assistant (abbr. “IVA”)
- Virtual digital assistant (abbr. “VDA”)
- Voice-enabled digital assistant (i.e. Amazon Alexa)
What's the buzz? How can digital assistants create real business-value?
What are the benefits of having digital assistants at work?
Collaboration is done digitally, project-coordination is conducted via messenger service in real time and processes can be automated: Teams and companies work more efficiently, thanks to software tools. However, altogether the benefits of the tools cannot held up to their promises. Instead of relieving the work load of the staff, employees are stressed by information overload, which is an accompanying symptom of the so-called digitalisation.
Making work less complex
Digital assistants can combat the problem of the information overload and orchestrate the armada of software tools.
Digital assistants should act as a mediator to reduce the complexity. They should not act as another software tool that exists among many others, but instead be an interface to these tools. Even today, digital assistants are technologically advanced enough to support use cases with the help of natural language processing (NLP), artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Assisting you is our top-priority
To give you an idea of the areas, in which a digital assistant like our AI-based assistant Neo can be of use to you, here's a list with possible tasks for an assistant:
- Gathering, summarising and preparing information
- Requesting and saving information
- (Partially) automating processes and decisions
- Prioritising and executing tasks
- Scheduling and preparing meetings
Neo, your digital assistant for business
Our personal assistant „Neo“ is powered by artificial intelligence and aggregates information from various systems, sums it up for the user und takes over mundane tasks.
Neo enables you to focus on important (and value-creating, purpose-generating) tasks – allowing you to be more productive by connecting tools and aggregating information into one simple format: A conversation.
With Neo as your digital assistant, extensive email ping-pong to schedule meetings, research to prepare meetings and manual database enquiries for KPI reports is no longer necessary. All of this (and even more) is only one simple command away.