- AI virtual assistants have gained increasing popularity with its growing market.
- The rising demand for digital assistants has further pushed the competitive landscape to constantly innovate.
- These companies are aiming to replace secretaries and personal assistants to perform tasks effectively.
- Companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Samsung are top players in the industry.
- Top AI assistants for 2021 are Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, Alexa, Bixby, DataBot, Lyra, Hound, Youper, and Robin.
Increasing popularity has pushed the AI virtual assistant technology towards rapid innovation and development. As companies and employees struggle to effectively work from home, tech companies are working towards a multitude of changes in AI voice assistants.
AI applications can enable you to simply interact with your friends on smartphones to interact with speakers that can set your calendars to search for a long-forgotten song. In both cases, AI has provided a contribution to making life a little simpler. Many people still do not realize that they are surrounded by AI. While most people live without its acknowledgment some are extensively getting engrossed in it.
In its Digital Assistant and Voice AI-Capable Device Forecast for 2016 to 2021, research and consulting firm Ovum claims, by 2021, the native digital assistant base globally is set to exceed 7.5 billion active devices. By 2021, around 47.6% of voice AI-capable devices are expected to be used in Asia and Oceania.
The 2021 share is predicted to look as follows:
- Google Assistant: 23.3 percent
- Samsung’s Bixby: 14.5 percent
- Apple’s Siri: 13.1 percent
- Amazon’s Alexa: 3.9 percent
- Microsoft’s Cortana: 2.3 percent
Companies are currently approaching digital assistants with ‘know-it-all, do-it-all’ motto. They are aiming toward a highly personalized AI voice assistance that can bridge the gap between personal consumer data in a secure and non-creepy way that captures most of the opportunity.
What is an AI virtual assistant?
AI virtual assistant or AI assistant or digital assistant is a program that understands voice commands. It utilizes Natural language processing to understand and perform tasks given by users in natural language. Companies are working on replacing every human task with the machine through automation.
AI applications are aiming to replace secretaries and personal assistant that performed tasks such as reading text and taking dictation, finding phone numbers and placing calls, emailing schedules and meeting reminders, and others.
Types of AI virtual assistants
The term virtual assistant or virtual personal assistant is also used to describe contract workers who work from home doing administrative tasks typically performed by executive assistants or secretaries. Virtual assistants can also be contrasted with another type of consumer-facing AI programming, called smart advisers. Smart adviser programs are subject-oriented, while virtual assistants are task-oriented.
Devices and Technologies of AI Virtual Assistant
Typically, AI assistants are cloud-based programs that require an internet connection to work, for example, Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana. The other one is dedicated to providing virtual assistance, for example, youper. A light indicated that the device is ready to take commands from the user. These commands are given in simple language and are simple requests such as “what is the weather today”.
AI voice assistants are powered by massive amounts of data. This data is similar to the data feed on AI platforms such as machine learning, speech recognition platforms, and NLP. Sophisticated algorithms are used for AI programming to learn from data input which constantly improved by predicting the end user’s needs.
AI Virtual Assistant Capabilities and Tasks
AI assistants are equipped with performing simple jobs for end-users such as doing quick searches and providing information; adding tasks to a calendar; or controlling and checking the status of smart home devices, including cameras, lights, and thermostats.
AI assistants also have the capability to perform other tasks such as creating text messages, receiving phone calls, getting directions, reading news and weather reports, checking flight reservations, finding hotels or restaurants, playing music, and others.
Best Artificial Intelligence Virtual Assistants in 2021:
The landscape of AI-powered virtual assistance is highly competitive and reports indicate that it is facing stiff competition. Now that you are clear about the potential of AI, let’s review the 10 best AI apps for 2019.
Apple’s Siri is one of the most famous AI personal assistants and has the most popular AI apps. She uses natural language user interface (UI) and voice queries to function. She can perform functions such as:
- Make calls and send text messages
- Answer questions and offer recommendations
- Dictate location and read weather reports
- Delegates requests to several Internet services and so much more
This assistant is available on some of the major Apple platforms:
Siri adapts to users’ searches, languages, and preferences. In September 2018, the increased popularity of Siri became clear from a survey conducted on American adults. According to the survey, around 44% of the smartphone users who actively used voice assistants are using Siri.
Microsoft’s Cortana is another widely popular AI virtual assistant. Cortana uses the Bing search engine, NLP, and data from devices to offer personalized recommendations. It has APIs that work with various Windows and 3rd party apps. Functions performed by Cortana include:
- Hands-free help
- Answers questions
- Provides reminders and keeps notes
- Takes care of tasks
- Helps in managing the calendar
Cortana learns to provide users more complex tasks by learning from device data. A similar report stated that the application was available on 400 million devices, which translates to a large user base. This AI virtual assistant is available on:
- Windows mobile and 10
- Microsoft Band and Mixed Reality (MR)
- Invoke smart speaker
- Android, iOS
- Amazon Alexa
- Xbox One, CloudX, and HyperX
- Logitech G933
- Razer Kraken 7.1 V2
- Sennheiser GSP350
Google Assistant was launched in 2016, It is an AI voice virtual assistant from Alphabet-owned Google. It’s one of the most advanced virtual assistants. Google Assistant uses natural language processing and supports text-based and voice-based entry. Its offers various functions and services:
- Voice commands and searching
- Voice-activated device control
- Helping with tasks and finding information online
- Sending reminders and making appointments
- Translating in real-time
The company has taken up several partnerships with companies to make Google Assistant available on a wide range of devices. Today, Google AI can be found on:
Reportedly, in October 2018, Google has expanded the reach of Assistant and it works with 10,000 devices across 1,000 brands. Some of the devices also include iPhones and many more brands. Its active user base is increasing noticeably.
Alexa is an AI-powered virtual assistant from Amazon also commonly known as Amazon Alexa. She has become widely popular and was available on 60,000 devices as of May 2019 and 100 million devices as of April 2019. To perform several tasks, Alexa uses programs such as voice interaction, voice queries, natural language processing, and many others. She can perform tasks including:
- Music playback and play audiobooks
- Create to-do lists
- Set up alarms
- Stream podcasts
- Real-time information on weather
- Real-time information on traffic
- Real-time information on news and sports
Also, devices that are powered by Alexa allow the users to activate the devices with a wake-word while some require a push button. Alexa is available on various platforms including:
3. Amazon Echo
4. Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers
5. PCs and Laptops
Bixby is an AI virtual assistant by Samsung. She can carry out a full range of interactions and is contextually aware and takes the actions based on your requests. It is similar to other AI solutions such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa as it listens to your voice, interprets the information, and returns the resulting action. She can perform tasks including:
- Tailored information on weather and news articles
- Set meetings reminders
- Makes calls and sends messages
- Personalizes answers depending on who asks
- Turn on the air conditioner
- Switch off lights
- Change the TV channel and wallpaper on command
- Take selfie
- Auto shares pictures on Facebook
The assistant is designed to work across a range of Samsung products and is incorporated in numerous other devices. It is available on:
1. Samsung’s Family Hub fridge and TVs
2. Samsung Galaxy Home Bixby speaker
3. Samsung Galaxy S series
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
5. Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition
6. Samsung Galaxy A8 Star
7. Samsung Galaxy A series
8. Samsung Galaxy C8
9. Samsung Galaxy Watch
DataBot is an AI virtual assistant with a protocol droid design. It can answer voice requests on different interesting topics and addresses important topics. Other functions it can perform include:
- Provides images, information, and multimedia presentations
- Provide personalized information such as a personalized tutorial, spoken dialogue, and random topic
- Presentations and identifications
- Provides etymology, synonyms, and antonyms to specific questions
- Identifies and searches
- Calculate and monitor the health
- Entertains with riddles, quotes, and jokes
- Sets and updates shopping list, reminders, appointments, and alarm clock
- Tells daily horoscope and latest news
- Play music and funny sounds using voice commands
- Share information using SMS, email, and social media
DataBot can also be customized, for instance, users can change language preference as it can be adaptable in English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. It is available on:
1. Windows 10
2. Android phones and tablets
3. iOS, iPad, and iPod
4. Xbox One
5. Windows phones
Lyra is a cloud-based personal intelligent virtual assistant that allows intelligent communication. Its intelligence is capable of understanding multiple languages and context and intent. It can perform tasks including:
- Controls music by voice
- Find the best restaurant or bar
- Carry out searches using Google, Wikipedia, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, YouTube and others
- Gives Direction and helps find locations on Google Maps
- Translate texted from over 70 languages
- Weather forecasts for any location
- Connect with social media
App for Lyra AI assistant is supported on:
1. Android Smartphone and tablet
2. iOS smartphone, tablets, and laptops
3. Windows smartphone, tablet, and computer
Hound is an AI voice assistant app. Its app utilizes proprietary Deep Meaning and Speech-to-Meaning Understanding technologies. It has an impressive array of customers including Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Motorola, and Hyundai. It can perform several tasks including:
- Search information using natural voice
- The follow-up to refine the results
- Gives quick and accurate results
- Makes phone call and send a text message
- Provides information on news, weather information
- Find nearby hotel
- Check flight status
- Helps navigate address
- Calls Uber
Hound’s app is available on Android, Windows, and iOS devices.
Youper is an AI-powered emotional health assistant app and is developed from the funding of Goodwater Capital. It uses several AI to personalize various techniques and understand its users better while simultaneously tracking their mood. The app enjoys excellent reviews on app stores and experts have rated it highly. It helps users with function including:
- Control their emotional health
- Have quick conversations
- Guide through personalized meditations
It also provides a personalized experience to users by matching them with the right psychological techniques including cognitive-behavioral techniques and mindfulness.
It is available for both Android and iOS platforms.
Robin is an AI voice assistant by Audioburst. It is a holistic model of language semantics and a unified methodology with reusable building blocks. Unlike Siri, it is open, expandable, responds to gestures, and can learn new concepts and phrases. It can perform functions including:
- Playing favorite audio content from podcasts and radio stations
- Provides information of interests on NBA, celebs, history, politics, design, gourmet food
- Auto-build playlist.
- Supports commands such as calling and sending SMS
- Find information about parking and traffic alerts
- Update users in gas price
It is available for both Android and iOS platforms.
AI virtual assistants are evolving quickly. Companies are enabling them to provide more capabilities like speech recognition and natural language processing advances. It will enable them to understand and perform requests. Furthermore, improvements in voice recognition technology are allowing them to move deeper into business workflows. In the future, AI assistants will have more advanced cognitive computing technologies. These will help them carry out multistep requests and perform more complex tasks.