healthcare startups

Virtual Assistants – just how much do we need them?

date: 24 January 2017
reading time: 3 min

Connectivity is all around, but up until now its personalisation wasn’t as popular as brands wished for. For this reason they started to bend over backwards to introduce virtual personal assistants that cater to your needs, and your needs only.

We are slowly entering the ‘walls can talk’ era. But this is not all, they will also be able to hear everything you say. At the verge of a revolution, we have to stop for a second and ponder over security issues. However, just for now, let’s focus on the virtual assistants options. What exactly can they do?

The most well-known at the moment is Amazon’s Echo speaker with Alexa as the virtual assistant.

It can basically become your biggest helper, it is interactive and works on voice commands. Not only can it answer your questions, it can also order you an Uber, pizza, or even flowers.  It can play your favourite music, set alarms, and aid the organisation of your life by preparing to-do lists. This is still not all, it can play audiobooks, and inform you about the weather and traffic. All this in real-time, whenever you need it.

As Amazon describes it:

Alexa is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter. The more customers use Alexa, the more she adapts to speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.

What is more, Alexa has made such an impact that almost all modern, smart, interactive devices use it as their assistant. You can find it in fridges (LG), security systems (ADT), washers (Whirlpool), cars (Ford), etc.

We all know Siri, however, it is typically only used when needed. How about enabling it to behave just like Alexa to make it listen to you all the time?

It is possible – you simply have to choose the ‘Allow ‘Hey Siri’’ option in the settings of your iPhone and, just like that, you’ll be able to use Siri’s functions and knowledge to the fullest.

Siri will help you send messages and place calls. Like Alexa, it can, for example, reserve you a table at a restaurant. Basically, you can ask Siri any question and it will be happy to answer it, fast.

Nabi (Mattel) and Memoo had gone a little further and introduced virtual assistants for children.

Memoo’s C-way looks and works as a nightlight with a twist. It has been created to form a link between parents and their children. It is fully controlled by parents and works as a child’s alarm clock, calendar and also a communication medium, since both sides are able to send and receive messages with it.

Nabi’s Aristotle, on the other hand, is basically a version of Amazon Echo, capable of doing all the same things as C-way, but with the addition of being a baby monitor as well.

Soon, we’ll talk about security issues connected with virtual assistants.

Virtual assistants’ market is to develop even more and one thing is certain – we won’t be alone anymore. If talking to yourself seemed therapeutic, then this time may be over. Not really sure what it means? Well, try just asking, something will surely answer.

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