Virtual assistants (VA), also known as digital or voice assistants, are a newer technology that strives to make daily life streamlined. These smart programs are able to recognize and understand natural language voice commands to help the user complete the task. Typically, voice assistants have a specific phrase that alerts them to the user’s command. Apple’s “Hey Siri” is an example of a trigger phrase.
Nearly every smartphone comes equipped with a virtual assistant tailored to best fit the need of their user. Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby, and Window’s Cortana are prime examples of virtual assistant software that comes with a flagship’s version of smartphone. Smartphone assistants also have the perk of turning on through trigger actions, such as text commands, as well as trigger phrases
Virtual assistants aren’t constrained to their smartphone home, however. Many well-known brands, websites, and platforms are creating their own home products that go beyond basic commands to simplify aspects of daily life that aren’t reached by smartphones, appropriately named “smart assistants”. Typically, these smart assistants take form in products such as speakers and smart appliances that optimize your living space.
Saves You Time
One of the more obvious perks of virtual assistants is the expansive amount of time you save by letting the interface do things for you. This tool is especially helpful for business owners. AI assistants can be set to automatically update your customer records, keep track of your to-do lists, and optimize the massive amounts of emails you go through daily.
On the topic of emails, many AI assistants can skim through your inbox and automatically log calendar events and put important emails at the top of your inbox. All of this is without any effort on your part, allowing you to spend less time on menial tasks and dedicate more of your focus on the big things – like family, business deals, and your own health.
Virtual Assistants Make You Smarter
Another obvious perk, digital assistants can also increase your own intelligence. Not only can you pull any fact or information you are interested in with a simple command, your VA can give you riddles, puzzles, and other tasks that allow you to strengthen your brain power.
The Beauty of Automation
Having many aspects of your life streamlined to one convenient place, like your smartphone, is a big perk of virtual assistants. You can program your VA to have an alarm to go off at the same time everyday to remind you of a task. With smart appliances, you can set your coffee pot to turn on and brew coffee before you wake up.
Amazon’s Alexa is one example of a home virtual assistant that greatly expands the reach of virtual assistants. She can connect to various smart appliances in a home, such as smart electric sockets, thermostats, garage doors, among others, and uses Bluetooth to connect these appliances to your phone. With her “Alexa App” you can see your settings in real time, working in tangent to check on your house and ensure you performed essential tasks.
As voice-activated assistants continue to grow in complexity and features, it won’t be long until the medical/healthcare community is affected. Shocking enough, virtual assistants have already started evolving to improve your health. Researchers from the University College London have created a disposable sensor that can be plugged into your smartphone and diagnose HIV. Many virtual assistants have also been outfitted with features that will send you text messages, as well as track your activity levels and sleep quality as means of suicide prevention.
These features stack onto the already health conscious features that virtual assistants already have, such as finding healthier food options, encouraging you to drink more water, and reminding you to get up and move after being sedentary for long periods of time.
Increases Life Quality
With a virtual assistant, you can dedicate less time of your life worrying about something you forgot to do. A VA can keep track of all-important tasks, goals to meet, important dates, and reminders. For those with anxiety, many digital assistants can lead you through deep breathing exercises to help you calm down and destress.
Virtual assistants can help you filter distractions and focus more on your physical and mental wellness, making you happier, less stressed, and healthier.
Streamlined Shopping Experiences
AI assistants can make your shopping experience more streamlined and less stressful. This is especially true for smart assistants like Alexa and Google Home. When linked to grocery list apps, you can tell your VA to add the specific item to your list.
For example, if you just realized you are running low on paper towels, you can command Alexa to put paper towels on your grocery list and she will automatically update the list. While it may not be as impressive as the other features on this list, it is incredibly convenient – you will never forget to pick something up from the store.
Less Work for You
Digital assistants are designed to make your life easier by reducing the work you have to complete every day. They can help you focus on the more important emails, tasks, or dates and filter out all the junk, spam, and unneeded distractions from your life. Making you work more efficiently and help you enjoy more of the little things in life.
Are you keen to learn more about AI Assistants and how they're impacting your daily life? Join us at the AI Assistant Summit in London this September, or in San Francisco next January and save 25% on passes when you register before August 23.