Digital Voice Assistants – The rise of Genies

By –

Swapna Karandikar

December 4, 2018

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On a red-eye flight, while watching an old episode of “I dream of Jeannie”, I couldn’t help but appreciate the potential benefits of having a genie. What convenience it would add to life! I could just ask Genie to book a cab at a set time, pre-order my favorite food, adjust the room temperature to my comfort, to mark my calendar for a special event and so on!

The next morning, I was attending a conference on new IT technologies. The very first topic was on the emergence and adoption of Digital Voice Assistants (DVAs)! DVAs offer an interactive and hands-free interface with the help of one “hot word” (or several “hot words”). Some also act as smart devices, utilizing Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other wireless protocols to extend usage beyond audio playback, such as:

  • Control home automation devices
  • Navigate and adjust ambiance in automobiles
  • Assist in cooking a recipe
  • Manage and prepare a shopping list
  • Keep a tab on expenses
  • Advise on fitness routines
  • Book a cab
  • Provide reminders or flash briefs
  • Play favorite music based on time of day

Some other key features of DVAs include:

  • Interfaces with other devices through various services and platforms like a peer-to-peer connection through meshnet, virtual assistants and others
  • Adapts to language, culture, and geography
  • Built-in screen to show the user a visual response!

Almost sounds like 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000, doesn’t it?

Once again technology and digital transformation has made our fantasies come true through the world of DVAs like these to name a few: Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, AliGenie/TmallGenie , Xiao Ai, Samsung’s Bixbie, Line Clova, SK Telecom’s Nugu, Linglong’s DingDong, KT’s Giga Genie and more.

Adoption of DVAs

The adoption of DVAs appear to be rapidly accelerating over all other consumer devices!

The world of DVAs is currently led by Amazon, with Google gearing up with their assistant providing multi-lingual support coupled with personality, humor and cultural sensitivity. The market is warming up to other players as well.

Voice is revolutionizing the way tasks are carried out everywhere. A Gartner survey shows huge growth in US household smart speakers by 2020 and that trend is not only US-based but worldwide.

Digital Voice Assistants

Use Cases within the Enterprise

The DVA revolution has spread across B2C and B2B markets as well. To name a few:

  • The banking industry has already begun to embrace DVAs. Activities including transaction search, balance inquiry, available credit, scheduling face-to-face meetings with bank reps, viewing bills and scheduling payments, locking and unlocking debit cards, transfer of money between accounts or sending money to a different account, query of bill due dates, etc. can all be carried out using intelligent conversational voice assistants like:
    • Erica (Bank of America)
    • Eno (Capital One)
    • Alexa (New York Life Insurance, JP Morgan, Ally Bank, and American Express)
    • Google Home (National Australia Bank)
    • Siri (PayPal)
  • Insurance players are not too far behind either.
    • Aviva Canada with Amazon Echo helps consumers find answers to common insurance questions and get an insurance quote. If a person is curious about accident benefits, for example, all they have to do is ask, “Alexa, what is my accident benefits coverage?”
    • Manulife with Amazon Echo advises customers on what is left on their health benefits. Need new glasses but not sure how much coverage you have? Simply ask, “Alexa, ask Manulife Benefits how much I do have left for glasses?”
  • In Retail, Smart Speakers can dictate the entire shopping ecosystem.
    • Apart from speakers, Amazon also provides a retail platform, delivery drivers, and a smart doorbell. Amazon is working towards the completion of a fully integrated ecosystem in which it has access to every touchpoint of the consumer experience.
    • Google Home customers can make voice purchases from national retailers on Google Express or directly from Walmart and a number of other retailers. While consumers can directly order Amazon’s products through Amazon’s services. Google Home system allows customers to choose where they shop and who delivers their items.
  • Healthcare is another industry adopting DVAs extensively.
    • Nuance’s Dragon Medical Virtual Assistant is now common in clinical settings. This is used to capture clinical notes in electronic medical records (EMRs).
    • Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA) at Boston Children’s Hospital is used by the ICU and organ transplant departments. Patients and their families can receive customized guidance and education from Boston Children’s Hospital via the toolset, including suggestions for when to visit the doctor and what instructions should be followed to attend and care for a sick child at home.

The applications and use cases for DVAs are endless. Voice-enabled Cognitive Supply Chain, C-suit DVAs replacing traditional Personal Assistants (PAs), Voice-assisted classrooms/lesson plans/quizzes/coaches, voice interactive intelligent customer service support and more are all ways that this technology can make a positive impact for everyone.

If you don’t have expertise with DVAs but want to start to explore ways they can help your business, the best option is to work with a Emtec Digital-  your Digital Transformation Partner.

It’s time to get your Enterprise its own Genie!

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