Technology continues to make a lasting impact on the way of life in modern times, especially in the functioning of businesses and industries. Incorporating useful technology can make a drastic difference for budding entrepreneurs, by increasing the efficiency of the business and reducing costs. The virtual assistant industry has proven valuable for numerous businesses and as technology evolves and implementation becomes more affordable, the applications are set to increase further.
An intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) is a form of an artificial intelligence system that performs specific tasks, similar to those carried out by an actual human assistant, such as customer service, scheduling, emailing, and interpreting verbal commands. Using machine learning, IVA can improve and adapt the services as per need and the chances of errors are significantly reduced. An effective IVA can even remove the need for hiring a personal assistant or other similar roles, thereby saving costs for businesses. IVAs such as Alexa and Google Assistant are also used directly by consumers, connecting with the Internet of Things (IoT) and smartphones and interpreting voice commands.
Virtual Assistant Industry Analysis
According to the virtual assistant industry analysis the market is expected to reach a value of $17.13 billion by 2023, growing at a whopping compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38 percent in the same period. The benefits of intelligent virtual assistants include greater operational efficiency, cost optimization, higher revenue generation, competitive advantage, and improved customer satisfaction. The highest market maturity for the IVA industry is from the end-user segments of telecommunications, retail, and consumer banking. Meanwhile, medium market maturity for IVA is witnessed in the industries of hospitality, healthcare, professional services, and education. Top suppliers of IVA at a global level are Google, IBM, 7 Inc and Nuance Communications.
Virtual Assistant Industry Trends
As an up-and-coming field, there are many trends in the virtual assistant industry that budding entrepreneurs should be aware of.
- Mobile Interface – The growing popularity of smartphones has resulted in more people engaging with businesses and completing other tasks through mobile phones, rather than being restricted to full-fledged computers and laptops. To adapt to the changing preferences of consumers, a new variety of IVAs have developed capabilities to offer the required services through the mobile interface. The IVAs are integrated directly with the mobile application to provide a seamless experience to customers.
- Machine Learning – Competition in the market is requiring IVAs to develop keener machine learning skills and making use of predictive analytics so that the IVAs are fully capable to provide effective solutions to the consumers. IVAs can access their knowledge base and improve their responses, resulting in a more optimized process.
- Voice Interactions – The earlier IVAs began with chatbots that would check the customers’ queries with a set of predefined answers, but now the trend is moving towards voice-based IVAs that can interpret vocal human communication. Voice-based IVAs, when further combined with machine learning, provide value-added services for customers and boost the popularity of the business.
- Self-Service Support – The concept of intelligent virtual assistants began as a supportive service to businesses for customer interaction, however, as the capabilities of IVAs have increased dramatically, they can also support employee self-service within a business. Banks and other businesses commonly used virtual assistants internally for HR department functions, ranging from applying for leaves to checking working hours and even checking reimbursement information.
- IVAs for Cross-Selling Services – Through customer interactions, IVAs can gather important insight into customer interests, preferences and buying patterns which can then be used for cross-selling or up-selling of services. This proves immensely beneficial for the business and customers are also more likely to take up services that are suggested based on their buying patterns and preferences and customized according to the customer.
Virtual Assistant Industry Global Outlook
The virtual assistant industry is growing at a rapid pace at a global level, as the globalization of services enables cross-country sales in the IVA market. Currently, the IVA market has greater penetration in developed nations that have greater access and understanding of making use of artificial intelligence. In comparison, the IVA market in developing nations has greater growth potential, driven especially by demands from the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) segment. Growth in artificial intelligence technology and machine learning are expected to increase the potential applications of IVAs in the market.
The virtual assistant industry has immense potential to help both budding entrepreneurs and established businesses further increase their growth. Intelligent virtual assistants provide numerous benefits for a company, including cost optimization, customer satisfaction, business transformation, operational efficiencies, and revenue generation, providing a competitive advantage. The manpower needs of a company can be reduced by implementing IVAs, resulting in an improved return on investment for entrepreneurs. Virtual assistants have expanded directly into the consumer market, with the rise in popularity of the Internet of Things.