The World Economic Forum (WEF), in a recent report, has revealed that by the year 2022 about 75 million human jobs might be replaced by robots. However, the automation of services will also create 133 million new positions. This suggests that workplaces are undergoing a colossal transformation. Organizations are working towards integrating new technologies into the business environment, and lately many initiatives are being taken to adopt the Virtual Assistant (VA) functionality for enhancing employee experience, efficiency, and productivity. Nevertheless, like any other technology, VA is also subject to speculations and is triggering concerns regarding the job security of people. But data and many experts have revealed that the technology is making workplaces better, eliminating human limitations.
Working With a Virtual Assistant
A Virtual Assistant is an application that processes voice commands and performs tasks for users. It uses latest technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and voice recognition to complete tasks for the user that include answering questions, making travel bookings, scheduling meetings and more. It also uses all the data inputs for machine learning algorithms. Virtual Assistants are becoming smarter with time and more efficient in processing complex queries and interactions.
Rapid Adoption of the Virtual Assistant Technology
Virtual Assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, and Siri have already become common at homes and as per the report of Gartner, Inc., 25 percent of digital workers will start using a virtual employee assistant (VEA) on a daily basis by 2021. Virtual Assistants are evolving at a great pace and being powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the VA is expected to become a lot more than just a chatbot interface. They are likely to help individuals enhance their work efficiency, even in their daily tasks. Amazon’s Alexa for Business and Nokia’s MIKA are already there; the former helps employees perform tasks like scheduling logistics operations and meetings and the later helps engineers analyze network faults. Another recent survey has revealed that 58% of organizations are planning to invest actively in this technology within the next couple of years.
Benefits of Virtual Assistants
More and more workplaces are gradually adopting virtual assistant technology for the numerous benefits it offers. VAs can greatly enhance productivity by taking up the mundane and repetitive tasks and letting employees focus on other important ones. It can also simplify complex tasks, and retrieve institutional knowledge and information from complex systems which in turn improves work efficiency. This not only enhances productivity but such simplified workflow also helps organizations in retaining and attracting top talents. Another important aspect of VA is personalized user experience. The bi-directional communication feature of a Virtual Assistant allows it to proactively push content, information, and services to the user as well as perform actions automatically for the user, all through a single voice command. Machine learning helps a Virtual Assistant perform tasks more efficiently over time by leveraging the existing user data.
Although Virtual Assistants are gaining popularity in workplaces over time, not all organizations are ready to adopt the technology yet. Many are still weighing the pros and cons and are apprehensive about its widespread implementation. The major challenges of using Virtual Assistants in the work atmosphere include the background noises in the office environment that may hamper the voice recognition efficiency and privacy concerns associated with the data inputs. At present, there is a need for more experimentation and training to better understand how the technology can benefit workplaces.