According to estimates, the number of AI enable device users will reach 1.8 billion by the year 2021, and the market of virtual digital assistants will grow to $15.59 billion in 2021. A survey also finds that most consumers use it for communication, browsing the Internet, listening to music, finding weather forecasts, or traffic updates. However, as integrations with cars, smart devices, operating systems, and mobile applications increase, virtual assistants would take on a more central role in areas such as retail, education, healthcare, and communications where uses for the speech recognition technology is expanding year-on-year.
The benefits of virtual assistant technology are centered mostly around ease of accessibility. It offers touch-less accessibility for all, which makes it excessively convenient while multitasking. The best example of this is while driving or cooking. Voice-controlled virtual assistants also make it easy for the visually impaired or disabled persons to access and navigate the Internet independently. And the same goes for kids and elderly who might not be comfortable with typing on a smart device.
In the business setting, virtual voice assistants can take over mundane tasks, streamline processes, and are widely used for customer services and sales interactions.
Range of Virtual Assistants
Top of the pile is dominated by the big names in the smart home tech sectors such as Google Assistant, Cortana by Microsoft, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa. Then come Bixby by Samsung, Lyra Virtual Assitant, Butlerboy, Edison Assistant, and many more.
So, now we come to the main question! Which Virtual Assistant should you recommend to your clients?
Frankly, it's a question of personal preferences, budget, and existing ecosystem integration. Most clients – homeowners or small business owners – will be looking for a well rounded and extendable system they can hook up immediately with the smart devices they already have. Hence the choice really falls between Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri.
Siri by Apple is widely known and is fully compatible with the entire Apple ecosystem as well as a whole host of third-party devices and brands.
- easy to use,
- precise voice recognition,
- focused on security and privacy,
- great design
Alexa by Amazon is well supported by the massive stable of Amazon devices (and, of course, external brands as well).
- great for Amazon Prime or Amazon Music users or firestick owners,
- has the biggest number of same brand devices,
- more affordable
- a perfect fit for Android users
Google Assistant integrates exceptionally well with a range of devices and benefits from Google's research in AI and its monopoly on consumer data.
- Supports a wide range of entertainment channels
- Well-integrated with Google services
- Can perform a massive range of tasks
So, how can you recommend the perfect assistant to your clients?
Like we mentioned before – it all comes down to existing brand preference and ease of integration. The only way you can advise your clients is by first finding out what they like. Here are some questions you can ask to get a better understanding of their preferences -
Do they use or prefer an Android phone or an iPhone?
Which smart home devices they use currently or plan to buy in the near future?
What are their favoured entertainment channels for streaming video, content, music, and podcasts?
What type of services would they like to access through their virtual assistants – weather, sports, music, online shopping, etc.?
Some information on family members and their interests could also be helpful.
What is their budget?
What is their main concerns around technology – is it price or privacy or functionality?
The Bottom Line
The only way to give competent advice to your clients is to work with in-depth knowledge of the entire smart home ecosystem – only once you know all the various integrations and the pros and cons of each brand will you be able to identify the one that works best for your client’s needs. There is no shortcut! You will just have to read up a lot and stay updated on all the new devices and trends.
But all this research will certainly be worth it! Because as the smart home tech sector booms, you will be asked this question a LOT!