BVM August, 2016 - page 15

Business View Magazine - August 2016 15
municate with digital systems--the Language User
Interface (LUI).
The 256-page report on digital assistants, in addition
to estimating the market by global region through
2020, discusses in detail the resources available to
companies that wish to create a digital assistant.
Over 170 companies providing these resources are
discussed in detail and categorized as to the re-
source they provide.
A digital assistant is a cloud-based application that
communicates with an individual through “natural
language” (the language we use to communicate
with other humans, by voice or text). The assistant,
like a talented human assistant, responds by pro-
viding requested information or accomplishing a re-
quested task. One rapidly growing form of digital
assistant, typically called a “bot,” is addressed by a
natural-language text message from within a mes-
saging application such as Facebook Messenger or
Microsoft Skype.
Some general digital assistants, including Apple’s
Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, and
Google’s upcoming Assistant, try to help you with
anything you want. Specialized digital assistants
have a narrower goal--letting you interact with a sin-
gle company or specific service. The specialized as-
sistants can operate independently through a web
site, as a mobile application, by text message, over
a phone connection, within a car, or in a particular
environment such as a warehouse.
The general digital assistants are increasingly able
to contact a specialized assistant for help at a user’s
request. And messaging applications are making it
possible to contact “bots,” texting them as if they
were simply one of your contacts.
The report provides separate estimates for digital
assistants targeted at consumers and those used
internally at companies to make the use of enter-
prise software more efficient. The Enterprise seg-
ment is expected to be about 17% of the market
in 2016, dropping to 13% of the market in 2020 as
consumer assistants expand rapidly.
“Digital assistants are increasingly becoming the
new way companies and applications will interact
with users, as the market estimates show,” Meisel
said. “Every company must understand the options
available to participate in this trend.”
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