Impact of Digital Assistants in Consumer Tech

Keshav Jeet

Do you remember Jarvis, Tony Stark or his better-known persona, Iron Man’s, highly-advanced robot assistant? Didn’t we always wonder how great it would be to have such an assistant? Interestingly, the thought which once was a mere fantasy somehow appears to be making its way into reality rather rapidly.

Human-machine interaction has taken quite a leap in recent years. Apple’s Siri personal digital assistant is a great example of the ubiquity of voice-enabled digital assistants. Turn on your TV and odds are high that you will find a commercial about them running on the screen. Other than Apple Siri, the biggest names in the space are Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft Cortana.

So what are digital assistants?

Fundamentally, these virtual personal assistants are machine-versions of a traditional personal assistant, only much quicker and smarter. Artificial intelligence enables it to understand different types of inputs like text, data, voice etc. and process to follow the command.

Voice assistance from the machine has found a great liking and acceptance among people and the trend is set to continue at a phenomenal pace. According to a research by iProspect,  over 500 million people today are using a digital assistant enabled by voice-search. What’s more astounding is that this number is expected cross 1.8billion by 2021.

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Needless to say, mobile technology has revolutionized consumer behavior. With an increasing use of smartphones, digital assistants have found the way to people’s lives and their applications range from the usage of their initial features such as telling directions, weather and running searches to making smart homes and offices and enhancing home-based care etc.  Using a personalized user input, bots enable digital assistants to provide tailored responses to the users. Yes, a big credit to the success and high adoption of digital assistants goes to bot technology. Empowered with natural language processing and advanced machine learning, they are able to engage in intelligent conversations with humans and drive a conversation. Remember the last time you interacted with a customer service chatbot?

Read: Do AI Bots Need Some Regulations?

Impact on consumer technology

Digital assistants are leaving a noteworthy mark on the consumer electronics industry. Let’s take a cursory look at it.

◙ They give personalized experience to the users.

According to a new research by Epsilon, if brands offer a personalized experience, there is a likelihood that 80% of consumers will make a purchase. Well, in the view of this research, it’s clear that personalization has gone up beyond being a value-addition to a bare minimum. Immediate responses from digital assistants have given them a trust and assurance and they are ready to share their personal data with them.

◙ They are turning interactions screenless.

Interactive and real-time responses are turning out to be more effective than carefully designed visual advertising. Virtual personal assistants are bringing an enhanced experience to the consumers. Voice-interactions help the users get the users the required assistance without having to swipe their smartphone screens. Since voice is the most convenient input, the interactive interface is able to provide them a seamless assistance at their convenience. You can now ask a dedicated assistant to play your favorite music while shampooing your hair!

◙ They get users rid of digital clutter.

The rapid expansion of the digital world is leaving behind a lot of intrusive digital clutter to the extent that the digital overload has upped the adblockers market.  Voice-enabled digital assistants are proving to be a great relief to the consumers as they can use the technology to get their tasks performed quickly and accurately without having to shuffle between apps and devices.

◙ You can interact with them in your preferred language.

So, English is not your preferred language! No worries at all. Language shouldn’t be a hurdle in communication. Your intelligent digital assistant comes with multi-lingual capabilities and is able to receive input in your language and translate it to get the context in real-time.

◙ They negate the existence of typos and annoying autocorrects.

Typos and “incorrect” autocorrects often prove a source of irritation while typing. Digital assistants come to our rescue here. Not only does their intelligent interface get rid of this problem but also understands the context behind the words and offer responses in an enjoyable manner. Moreover, improved word error rates make these responses more accurate. This feature encourages the consumers to engage with assistants more frequently for more tasks.  

Read: How will Chatbots Drive Value to Your Enterprise in 2018

How are digital assistants impacting marketing approaches?

Digital assistants are earning the trust of more consumers quickly which presents a tremendous opportunity for the retailers to reach them better and connect with them more effectively and efficiently. Here is how the path ahead looks like for marketing and advertising approaches to winning the evolving consumer mindsets.

◙ Know thy customer

It’s not the age of selling anymore. It’s all about keeping the consumer interest on top priority. It has become more crucial than ever for the advertisers to know who they are than what they want. Days to come will witness digital assistants providing them significant insights into buying behavior of the consumers and help them understand the underlying context and intent. This will help them develop meaningful relationships with the consumers.  

◙ Focused marketing

Advertisers will be seen leveraging this technology to filter through volumes of digital clutter and noise and make their way to the consumers. Focused marketing will be able to yield better results and provide an enriching experience to the consumers. This will play a key role in increasing brand loyalty.

◙ Interactive advertising

The arrival of digital assistants will encourage the advertisers to take up a listening role in an otherwise unprecedented two-way advertising. They will have to listen to what the consumers are saying, answer questions about the messaging and provide what’s missing in their value proposition. Use of customer service chatbots will be on the rise. They will have to assist the consumers to make more informed decisions.

◙ Focus on structured information

With more adoption of digital assistants, the marketers will have to prepare structured information about their products, services, and business. They will have to do this so that their messaging can reach the consumers who turn to their digitals assistants with specific questions.

◙ Think global, act local

Yes, this will have to be a critical consideration for the marketers while designing their digital strategy.  There will be increased local queries, mostly run on mobile devices. Searching for a restaurant, making a reservation, looking for local services etc. are already becoming quite common instances. Marketers will have to design mobile-friendly campaigns and keep a local presence, irrespective of whether or not the brand is global.

Although launched not in a very remote past, digital assistants have surely traveled a long distance in a short span of time. Their role has gone far beyond from just answering questions to taking actions based on the consumer’s command. The consumer today are conversing with machines in totally different ways.

These intelligent digital assistants are all set to revolutionize the consumer electronics and technology space and redefine the way brands and consumers interact and connect with each. According to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be run through voice by 2020 and this figure sends out a loud message to the marketers and advertisers. The scope of voice assistance is unlimited and leaves a lot to imagine. However, what’s sure is that a majority of consumer population is soon going to have their own Jarvis’!

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about the author

Keshav Jeet

Keshav is the most creative and innovative thinker who is never isolated with the bandwidth. He always strives to bring out the potential of technology to deliver a remarkable impact. Started as a programmer he gradually gained expertise in Developing, Designing and Architecting solutions for startups and enterprise. He has varied experience from healthcare, public procurement, ERP and mobility. He helps clients ideate, innovates and uses cutting-edge technologies to solve real-world problems. He brings technological leadership, by evaluating and implementing solutions on next-generation technologies.