Virtual Assistant to Drive Sales
Virtual assistant devices are the next frontier for commerce.
13:25 12 April 2018
A virtual assistant (VA) is a software agent designed to carry out specific tasks in response to voice command or text input. Currently, the most popular VAs are Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung Bixby and Apple Siri. Aside from performing Internet searches, these VAs are also designed to play audio and act as a central hub for smart devices in a smart home.
As VAs become more and more sophisticated, their manufacturers compete against each other by adding more and more functionalities in the form of apps or skills. These range from games, music, news, smart home automation, ecommerce and even delivery tracking. One of the most exciting features are third party integrations, such as eBay’s integration with Google Assistant. This functionality is available to people in the US and Australia. Users can simply ask Google to ‘fetch eBay’ and the same conversation continues with eBay.
Many virtual assistants are being made available to third parties to integrate with devices they manufacture, which range from laptops to television to other interesting applications such as refrigerators and cars. Amazon, for example has deals with HP, Asus and Lenovo to integrate Alexa into a range of Windows 10 laptops and desktops. Similarly, Android smartphones carry Google Assistant while Samsung is adding Bixby to all its smartphones.
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