The broader use of chatbots has allowed consumers to get answers to their most important questions in real-time. These chatbots are now being used as virtual assistants, making it easy for us to place orders, voice concerns, as well as ask questions about brands, products, and service.
Chatbot services first appeared as text-based conversations because slow internet connections didn’t provide enough bandwidth for us to have voice controlled ones. Since then, we’ve had 4G and fiber broadband introduced to us, meaning we no longer have to cling to these text interfaces.
Companies leading the chatbot revolution have started introducing voice-activated bots that allow us to undertake our communications in real-time without having to spend hours typing on small screens. With that in mind, here are 10 voice-activated chatbot use cases that are leading this new movement.
Amazon’s Alexa is an intelligent personal assistant that has become popular, thanks to the Amazon Echo. Aside from being able to control smart devices and working as a home automation system, Alexa can undertake a huge variety of other tasks through simple voice commands. Some of these include:
- Voice interaction
- Music playback
- Making to-do lists
- Streaming podcasts
- Setting alarms
- Playing audiobooks
- Offering weather forecast and traffic updates
- Providing real-time information, such as news updates
The Alexa Voice Service allows companies to integrate Alexa voice capabilities into their own products. Lastly, Amazon announced Amazon Lex last year, a new service that allows brands to create their own Alexa-like conversational chatbots.
Most people see Siri as a low-key personal assistant on their iPhone. While the conversational tool does have these capabilities, Siri is now more powerful than ever. With the new iOS 10 released, Siri is able to control more third party applications; MacOS Sierra has made Siri available on the desktop as well.
Through simple voice commands, Siri is now able to undertake a huge variety of tasks for you, some of which include:
- Sending a text message, making a call, or Facetiming a friend
- Browsing the web
- Launching and closing applications
- Setting up, changing, and canceling meetings
- Getting sports, weather, movie, stock prices, and other updates
- Checking out photos in your camera roll
- Making reservations
- Playing music
- Sending, reading, and organizing emails
Cortana is another voice-activated intelligent personal assistant that was created by Microsoft. The personal assistant is now available in a variety of languages, some of which include English, French, Spanish, Chinese, and German, among others. As with many other voice-activated personal assistants, Cortana is able to make reservations, order food, book trips, manage calendars, transcribe messages, identify songs, and so on.
Since its release, Cortana has been made available for Windows 10 desktops and mobile, as well as other mobile platforms, such as Android and iOS. The personal assistant has now been integrated into Microsoft Edge, Skype, and of course, Invoke, Microsoft’s latest voice-activated speaker made in collaboration with Harman Kardon.
4- Google Now
Google Now has an “OK Google” voice search, which is a voice-activated virtual assistant that literally tells you everything you need to know when you want to know it. Google Now works through an application, and with a few changes in settings, can be activated by simply saying “OK Google”. As long as your phone is awake, your Google Now can be as well.
Some of Google Now’s abilities include, but are not limited, to:
- Sending app-specific commands, as well as controlling said applications
- Making general searches
- Creating, modifying, deleting, and organizing notes, reminders, meetings, and so on
- Making phone calls and sending messages
- Finding out about the weather
- Using maps to find various different locations
- Listening to music
5- Google Assistant
Google Assistant is similar to Google Now, but many describe it as significantly more impressive, as it understands natural language and engages in a two-way conversation. You can speak to Google Assistant the same way you would a person. Google Assistant understands the context around the commands and acts accordingly.
The virtual assistant is among the most impressive on the market today as it has proven to show initiative. Now, you can say “Play Orange is the New Black” and your Google Assistant will automatically open Netflix, search for Orange is the New Black, and play it. The best part is, as with any AI-powered tool, the more you use it, the better it gets.
Although all the spotlight has recently been on Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, the competition is picking up its game. Samsung has now launched Bixby, a voice-activated personal assistant that comes with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. While Bixby works very similarly to its predecessors, it has been designed to be more intelligent.
Bixby learns and adapts to you. The more you use it, the more it knows. Through it, you can:
- Tell it to find pictures of specific people in your camera roll
- Use the built-in camera on the phone to identify landmarks, translate foreign languages, and find products online
- Get recommendations based on your routine, interests, music tastes, etc.
- Receive reminders
Nuance’s Nina is another similar text or voice-activated virtual assistant, but with more of a business focus. Nina can be added to a website, application, or text messaging platform to help businesses with their customer service departments. The virtual assistant uses natural conversation flow to engage with consumers and find answers to their questions.
Nina takes on a brand’s image and is able to:
- Understand complex queries
- Clarify questions
- Personalize responses
- Deliver real-time insights
- Optimize itself as it learns from team conversations and its own
Developed by the creators of Siri, Viv is an independent company that has now created what many are calling a more powerful version of Siri. While it may seem like it’s very much the same as Siri and other competitors, Viv has an interconnected nature, meaning it’s able to answer more complicated questions that are said in the same way people actually talk.
Aside from its human capabilities, Viv basically has a software that builds itself. By using breakthroughs in program synthesis, Viv can understand what the user wants even if it has never heard the command. It creates programs as questions and requests arise.
Mycroft is an AI open-source voice assistant that can be integrated into virtually anything, from a fridge to a car, laptop, or TV, the opportunities are endless. Mycroft is being improved upon, thanks to its open-source, meaning that anyone can share ideas and collaborate to continuously enhance it.
Through simple voice commands, Mycroft can:
- Answer questions
- Act as a practical assistant
- Research, share, and play media
- Operate Wi-Fi connected appliances on your command
10- Google Home and Amazon Echo
I’ve left Google Home and Amazon Echo until the end because while they’re not chatbots, they’re having a huge impact on the voice-activated virtual assistant world and they have been predicted by many as being the next best thing. Google Home and Amazon Echo changing the way we browse the web and undertake various day-to-day tasks.
While they are two competitive products, they both operate through a speaker-like device that pairs with your multiple streaming accounts so that you can voice control them. They’re able to play shows from Netflix and YouTube or even play music through Spotify, Google Play Music, and other accounts or apps.
While the hype around text-based chatbots is still hot, it turns out voice interface is creeping up on us, so it won’t be long until everyone is talking to their devices to get things done. Despite there still being a way to go before voice- activated chatbots take center stage, I suggest you get on board sooner rather later, as these will allow you to increase productivity while offering a more scalable and relevant customer service experience.
In addition, voice-activated chatbots will give your customers a deeper glimpse into your brand’s personality, make your brand available through various channels, and remove the friction between your brand and your audiences.
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