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Digital Assistant

What Is a Digital Assistant?

A digital assistant is an advanced computer program that simulates a conversation with the people who use it, typically over the internet.

Digital assistants use advanced artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing, natural language understanding, and machine learning to learn as they go and provide a personalized, conversational experience. Combining historical information such as purchase preferences, home ownership, location, family size, and so on, algorithms can create data models that identify patterns of behavior and then refine those patterns as data is added. By learning a user’s history, preferences, and other information, digital assistants can answer complex questions, provide recommendations, make predictions, and even initiate conversations.

How do Digital Assistants Work?

Digital assistants are passive listening devices that respond once they recognize a command or greeting (such as "Hey Siri"). Passive listening means the device always hears what's happening around it, which raises privacy concerns. These concerns have been highlighted by smart devices serving as witnesses to crimes.

The digital assistant must be connected to the internet so it can conduct web searches and find answers or communicate with other smart devices. However, since they are passive listening devices, they usually need a wake word or command to activate. 

When you communicate with a digital assistant by voice, you trigger the assistant and ask your question without pausing. For example, "Hey Siri, what was the score of the Eagle's game?" If the digital assistant doesn't understand your command or can't find an answer, it will let you know. You can try again by rephrasing your question or speaking louder or slower. In some cases, there may be some back and forth, like if you ask for an Uber. You might have to provide additional information about your location or destination.

The Benefits of Today’s Digital Assistants

For individuals, digital assistants bring convenience—and a dose of fun—into homes, cars, and other locations. When used for certain purposes, such as to manage home heating and home security, they can also save people money and free them from tedious tasks.

Businesses are also finding many benefits to using digital assistants, especially to improve efficiency and provide better assistance to their employees and customers. By using digital assistants, a business can:

1. Offer more services

Businesses can provide more services to their employees and customers by using chatbots to handle the more routine help desk or customer service requests.

2. Save money

Digital assistants allow businesses to connect with customers and employees in a personal way without the time and expense of live representatives. By taking care of redundant tasks or shortening the time it takes to perform essential tasks, digital assistants free staff to perform more mission-critical work.

3. Provide better service

Customers and employees appreciate having natural conversations on convenient messaging apps as well as receiving fast and accurate responses to their questions.

Avoid mistakes. Digital assistants can anticipate upcoming events and issue reminders—for example, letting users know that they need to submit a form or that the deadline is coming up for a report.

4. Scale at will

By implementing a digital assistant, a business can provide humanlike, personalized, proactive service to millions of people at the same time—and scale up or down at will.

Learn as they go. Digital assistants gather real-time insights, which businesses can use to continually improve the user experience and learn about their customers and employees.


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Digital Assistant

October 14, 2020

Table of contents

Key takeawaysCollaboration platforms are essential to the new way of workingEmployees prefer engati over emailEmployees play a growing part in software purchasing decisionsThe future of work is collaborativeMethodology

What Is a Digital Assistant?

A digital assistant is an advanced computer program that simulates a conversation with the people who use it, typically over the internet.

Digital assistants use advanced artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing, natural language understanding, and machine learning to learn as they go and provide a personalized, conversational experience. Combining historical information such as purchase preferences, home ownership, location, family size, and so on, algorithms can create data models that identify patterns of behavior and then refine those patterns as data is added. By learning a user’s history, preferences, and other information, digital assistants can answer complex questions, provide recommendations, make predictions, and even initiate conversations.

How do Digital Assistants Work?

Digital assistants are passive listening devices that respond once they recognize a command or greeting (such as "Hey Siri"). Passive listening means the device always hears what's happening around it, which raises privacy concerns. These concerns have been highlighted by smart devices serving as witnesses to crimes.

The digital assistant must be connected to the internet so it can conduct web searches and find answers or communicate with other smart devices. However, since they are passive listening devices, they usually need a wake word or command to activate. 

When you communicate with a digital assistant by voice, you trigger the assistant and ask your question without pausing. For example, "Hey Siri, what was the score of the Eagle's game?" If the digital assistant doesn't understand your command or can't find an answer, it will let you know. You can try again by rephrasing your question or speaking louder or slower. In some cases, there may be some back and forth, like if you ask for an Uber. You might have to provide additional information about your location or destination.

The Benefits of Today’s Digital Assistants

For individuals, digital assistants bring convenience—and a dose of fun—into homes, cars, and other locations. When used for certain purposes, such as to manage home heating and home security, they can also save people money and free them from tedious tasks.

Businesses are also finding many benefits to using digital assistants, especially to improve efficiency and provide better assistance to their employees and customers. By using digital assistants, a business can:

1. Offer more services

Businesses can provide more services to their employees and customers by using chatbots to handle the more routine help desk or customer service requests.

2. Save money

Digital assistants allow businesses to connect with customers and employees in a personal way without the time and expense of live representatives. By taking care of redundant tasks or shortening the time it takes to perform essential tasks, digital assistants free staff to perform more mission-critical work.

3. Provide better service

Customers and employees appreciate having natural conversations on convenient messaging apps as well as receiving fast and accurate responses to their questions.

Avoid mistakes. Digital assistants can anticipate upcoming events and issue reminders—for example, letting users know that they need to submit a form or that the deadline is coming up for a report.

4. Scale at will

By implementing a digital assistant, a business can provide humanlike, personalized, proactive service to millions of people at the same time—and scale up or down at will.

Learn as they go. Digital assistants gather real-time insights, which businesses can use to continually improve the user experience and learn about their customers and employees.


Thanks for reading! We hope you found this helpful.

Ready to level-up your business? Click here

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