Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Mobile Apps and the Virtual Assistant Industry


The virtual assistant, or the virtual assistant office, niche has undergone a series of changes. This evolution has recently been powered by cloud-based mobile apps which are obviating the need for human agents. The industry usually outsourced the various professional assistance services to humans residing abroad in such nations as India and the Philippines. Outsourcing enabled US firms to lower their operational expenses as well as reduce their overhead costs. Nonetheless, this form of remote tasking relied heavily on telecommuting, and this sometimes served to hamstring the delivery of virtual assistant services, especially when the (human) virtual assistants experienced power outage or loss of Internet connectivity. During such instances, firms experienced disruptions in their service delivery processes alongside poor customer service delivery. Fortuitously, advances in the field of artificial intelligence are addressing the demerits of the human-based virtual assistant office.
Photo Credit: AndroidAuthority.net
Intelligent Personal Assistant
A series of innovations and inventions in the field of artificial intelligence have led to the development of the Intelligent Personal Assistant, abbreviated as IPA. The IPA functions as a virtual assistant and is thus able to perform the tasks associated with virtual office assistance such as provision of technical, creative, and administrative assistance. Moreover, this assistance is powered by a voice-activated technology, and this ensures that prompt assistance is provided when needed. It also ensures that the user never experiences periods of service loss. Furthermore, this development has also lowered the recurrent costs of US firms thus enabling them to increase their profit margins. The recurrent costs are usually reduced by lowering labor costs. The reduction in labor cost results from the need of firms to maintain lean staffs who attend to virtual assistant services.
Advances in mobile technology, especially those related to mobile apps have accelerated the pace of development of IPA. These advances have allowed IPAs to be integrated with the mobile operating system, and also be able to seamlessly fit in with the other mobile apps already in use. This is evidenced by the ability of some IPAs to access the email inbox and read messages, and thereafter notify one when he or she has a meeting scheduled or when the next plane is scheduled to take off. This shows that the IPA does have the capacity to acquire privileged access to email accounts as well as read and decipher the messages. These messages are processed through a complex algorithm that sorts out the messages and thereby identify the key messages that relay assorted notifications to the user. Moreover, these IPA-based services are geo-located based on user input. This means that the IPA knows the location where one is, and this location awareness enables the IPA to customize its assistance to the user. Therefore, US entrepreneurs and executives can now access virtual assistant services locally and conveniently on their smart phones, and at a low cost, while at the same time benefiting from the services of a full-time personal assistant.
The aforementioned changes in outsourcing patterns, from outsourcing the job to human employees residing outside the US to outsourcing the task to mobile apps, do define the revolution that has occurred in the virtual office assistant industry. This revolution has changed the dynamics of the industry as well as spurned off new market niches, with the main beneficiary being the cloud-based mobile-enabled content management and delivery systems. These systems enable the user to ask the Intelligent Personal Assistant various questions, and the IPA provides answers to these questions. This also means that one can place a query to the IPA at any time, and receive a prompt reply; and this has eliminated the inconveniences caused by the need for one to wait till a telecommuting virtual assistant is available. It has therefore eliminated time-delays associated with the operations of human-based virtual assistant industry, and in the process lowered the expenses associated with the attendant loss of man-hours.
Progressive Intelligence
The virtual assistant office industry has also been revolutionized by mobile apps in another salient way which is described hereafter. The advent of Cortana, a Microsoft-based virtual assistance mobile app that runs on Windows-based smart-phones, has pioneered the concept of user authorization for mobile IPA apps. This means that the virtual assistance app asks the user whether or not the app can access the emails and other private content stored in the phone or in password-protected cloud accounts. The need for explicit approval enables the IPA mobile app to function in a similar way to a discreet or modest human personal assistant who never assumes too much, and is always ready to ask for permission. This has led Cortana to be categorized as progressive intelligence and not as autonomous intelligence because it still upholds the liberties of the user.
Voice-Powered Mobile Apps
Voice-powered virtual assistant mobile apps have fostered the building of complex algorithms capable of filtering the messages in the smart-phones and promptly informing the user when an important message is received. Unlike Cortana which requires user authorization, this form of prompt notification can be quite helpful in cases of emergencies such as car accidents and poisoning. Emergencies require prompt action and these mobile apps can deliver emergency messages promptly to the user without requesting for authorization.
Intelligent Automated Assistant
The IPA can also operate as an Intelligent Automated Assistant, and can therefore manage schedules by sending appropriate alerts, updating schedules, and even changing some of the reservations that were made by the user. Additionally, it can serve as a personal health management app, and it can thus monitor caloric intake, determine the heart rate, and even issue prompts of available vaccines for US businesspeople travelling outside the nation. Therefore, the virtual assistant mobile app is versatile software capable of providing the full services of a human personal assistant as well as offering other vital life-preserving services.
In conclusion, the virtual assistant mobile app has revolutionized the virtual assistance office industry by providing the full spectrum of the services offered by a human personal assistant. These services are provided promptly upon request and can be customized based on the needs and location of the user. Therefore, US business people can use Virtual Assistance services to receive prompt updates of local market performance and also schedule their engagements so as to maximize productivity.

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