The Watson of the future—virtual digital assistants—are expected to take off in the foreseeable future for the business world. According to a study from Tactica, the market for enterprise-wide digital assistants is expected to just about double in three years and triple within four years.
Virtual digital assistants are automated software applications or platforms that support people by understanding human language in written or spoken form, which requires these services to use some form of artificial intelligence (AI). Most people know VDAs like Amazon’s Alexa or Siri which are used primarily for consumer purposes, but virtual digital assistant hold a lot of promise for companies as well. Tractica defined the enterprise virtual digital assistant market by including any device that is controlled by a company and used to interact with a specific set of systems—both controlled and not controlled by the company—including phone voice responses, websites, messaging apps, or smart assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa.
Tractica’s promising outlook stems from the technological advancements in natural language processing (NLP). Advancements in this area coupled with their application in AI have taken enterprise VDAs to the next level. VDAs just 3 years ago were used primarily for customer service and marketing. Most enterprise VDAs were confined to searches of company websites for frequently asked questions. Recently the technology has been able to expand to e-commerce and sales, healthcare, foreign language tutoring, and tax filing and processing.