This report by independent technology analyst Dr. William Meisel discusses in detail the resources available to companies that wish to create a digital assistant—an application for a web site, mobile app, or device that interacts with the user using human language (using the technology of “natural language processing”) by voice or text. The report discusses 172 companies providing resources to create specialized conversational applications with details of what they can provide. The vendors are categorized for quick reference. In addition, the market opportunity is forecast through 2020.
A digital assistant, like a talented human assistant, responds by providing requested information or accomplishing a requested task. Companies can create specialized digital assistants as an app that do much of what a web site does. Chatbots can automate interaction on a web site. A digital assistant can sell and market, with one option being conversational advertising to truly engage a prospect. One rapidly growing form of digital assistant, typically called a “bot,” is addressed by a natural-language text message from within a messaging application such as Facebook Messenger or Microsoft Skype. Amazon’s Alexa can engage “skills” you develop. Not all digital assistants are named as such; natural language technology can be used to process call center calls more efficiently by letting a caller simply say what they are calling about. The report covers all these options and more.
There are huge investments by the large Internet companies in general digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, the Google Assistant. These companies are competing to establish these as the new—but more friendly—web search. Driven by this competition, the use of natural-language interfaces will expand rapidly. Much as smartphone growth was much quicker than anyone expected after the value of the concept was demonstrated, conversational interfaces will similarly be an option that every company must address. The report will make an assessment of your involvement in this major trend easier and more informed.
The report details:
- Why developing a digital assistant strategy is rapidly becoming as essential as having a web site
- Options you have to develop digital assistants, ranging from deep involvement to engaging a vendor that will do most of the work
- Categories of vendors, from those providing solutions supporting full voice or text digital assistants to those providing components you can use to assemble a digital assistant
- What is offered by 172 companies that can provide these resources by an independent analyst in clear terms
- The state of the underlying technologies of natural language processing (NLP) and speech recognition, and what is driving recent progress
- How you can take advantage of the specialized nature of your digital assistant
- Building bots and digital assistants that are reached through the general personal assistants and messaging services
- Building independent digital assistants that can reach customers directly
- Cross-platform synergies, core NLP that can be deployed through multiple channels without repeating development
- Options for both dealing with your customers and creating efficiencies for your employees using natural language processing technology
- The market opportunity by year and geographical region
If you understand that this is an area you must evaluate, this report is a major resource that can help you achieve that goal quickly and make good decisions.
About William Meisel
William Meisel, Ph.D., president, TMA Associates (www.tmaa.com), is publisher and editor of LUI News (formerly Speech Strategy News, a paid-subscription monthly newsletter launched in 1993, and covering commercial applications of the Language User Interface), author of the 2013 book The Software Society, and a consultant on market and product opportunities created by the maturing of speech and natural language technology. His experience in speech technology includes founding and running a speech recognition company and authoring a technical book on machine learning.