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June 1, 2016 • 4 minute read

The Rise of Intelligent Virtual Assistants

I recently presented at SpeechTEK 2016 and was very encouraged by the enthusiasm and momentum surrounding our industry. It’s clear that Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have finally come of age. I’m thankful to all the scientists and engineers who have invested their time and energy over the last few decades, and what’s most exciting to me is how AI technologies are being applied to Intelligent Virtual Assistants.

Based on my presentation at SpeechTEK 2016, here are five key takeaways on The Rise of Intelligent Virtual Assistants.

1. What is an Intelligent Virtual Assistant?

An Intelligent Virtual Assistant is an artificial intelligence system that emulates human interaction to perform particular tasks, like customer service. Virtual Assistants are proliferating because of deep neural networks, machine learning, and other advancements in AI technologies. The intelligence behind the technology indicates the capacity for learning, reasoning, and understanding – three key elements required to emulate a customer service agent’s ability to solve problems.

2. How are Virtual Assistants used?

Virtual Assistants are used for a variety of applications across industries. One big consumer-facing application is a Virtual Assistant as a personal assistant. They help consumers accomplish a wide variety of tasks, such as Apple’s Siri or providing an intuitive interface for connected homes or cars. Another use on the rise is Virtual Assistants taking on the role of customer service or sales agent. For enterprises, this solution is particularly appealing due to how scalable and efficient Virtual Assistants can be.

3. What’s contributing to the rise in Intelligent Virtual Assistants?

Large companies, from technology powerhouses like Google to auto manufacturers such as BMW, are investing heavily in Intelligent Virtual Assistants. We’re at the point now where these artificial intelligence-driven interactions are more than just a feature – they’re the products themselves. This shift speaks to the fact that customers are using the technology more frequently. Consumers are comfortable speaking with “a robot” when the productivity and convenience value is there. Communicating with Intelligent Virtual Assistants isn’t a novelty anymore – it’s becoming an expected feature.

4. So how are Intelligent Virtual Assistants impacting customer care?

Even right now, Intelligent Virtual Assistants are replacing traditional Interactive Voice Response systems. Why? Because consumers view these traditional Interactive Voice Response systems as frustrating, outdated, and ineffective. Alternatively, Intelligent Virtual Assistants are improving customer and brand experience with a more nimble and consumer-friendly approach. Virtual Assistants are also empowering the next generation multichannel experience that lets consumers seamlessly and conveniently communicate with business across voice, text, and other channels. There are many technologies driving these systems forward, but perhaps the most impactful is human-assisted technology.

5. Human-assisted technology – what about the humans vs robots debate?

There is ongoing debate about the role of humans and machines in customer service. I think that there will be a continued role for both, but the dynamics are changing. The capabilities of the machines are increasing, which enables them to take on more of the workload. However, machines alone cannot solve every problem.

Many times the machine needs the assistance of human to complete its task. There are some very exciting emerging human-assisted technologies that leverage humans for advanced machine learning. Interactions happens to be at the forefront of these innovations and has deployed Intelligent Virtual Assistants that seamlessly blend artificial with true human intelligence. These systems deliver the highest level of accuracy and understanding. It’s further proof that human-assisted technology does more than provide the best experience. It also allows for continuous training and tuning, which enables Virtual Assistants to learn and improve over time.

Want to learn more about how you can improve your customer experience? Contact us to discover how Interactions Virtual Assistant solutions offer unprecedented comprehension and operational savings.

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