Intelligent Personal Assistants in the History of IT

In its trends for 2014, Gartner identifies the strategic technology that it believes will impact the most on enterprises over the next three years. Amongst the introduction of the Internet of Everything, they predict that mobile apps will grow at the expense of applications. But perhaps most telling is that Gartner says that the smart machine era, in which it includes contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants and smart advisors, “will be the most disruptive in the history of IT”.

At Artificial Solutions, this is no surprise to us. Our OEM and consumer connected device customers are working on some simply amazing implementations, which could define the word disruptive – and they are made possible by NLI.

But at the same time, we also have many clients that are more typical of the average organization. They don’t need to be reinventing the technology wheel, they need to focus on their core business, but still deliver and support their offerings using the channels their customers expect to interact with over.

Enabling enterprises to take the principles illustrated by the likes of Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Artificial Solutions’ natural language app and then extend it to offer domain expertise and company specific knowledge in the past used to mean deep pockets, long development cycles and an army of resources.

Fortunately, it’s not just the personal assistants that have become intelligent; the development platform for NLI has smartened up too.

In the latest version of Teneo, for instance, powerful wizards and auto-coding has made natural language development so simple that users don’t need to be a pointy-headed computational linguist; our own egg-heads (sorry guys!) have covered the difficult part. This leaves enterprise users able to create contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants and smart advisors that meet their own business requirements, quickly and easily.

Gartner notes that consumers will be the driving force of the smart machine era and that this will be further strengthened as enterprises invest in the technology too. The research firm states that one of the reasons behind consumer use is the desire to be more successful. For me, this is similar to the use of social media that was driven into most businesses by savvy users that saw an ability to carry out their work more efficiently and with greater success, long before enterprises saw the advantage.

We already see a similar occurrence with our virtual assistants implemented in an online customer service role. In several large enterprises the call centre staff use the virtual assistant because it finds the answer they are looking for much faster than going through their own internal systems. They can handle a call more quickly, which brings up their average statistics and puts themselves or their team in line for a bonus.

There is no one that knows a business better than an employee, which is why our NLI technology puts the business user in control of developing intelligent natural language solutions. After all, with all that disruption ahead of us you need to be first past the post, not lost in translation.

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