As the implementation of virtual assistants (VAs) increases in the workplace, Gartner expects that 25% of digital workers will be using a virtual employee assistant (VEA) daily by 2021. In 2019, only 2% digital workers are using VEA on a daily basis.
Initially, the enterprises adopted virtual assistants to power their contact centers. The advent and growth of artificial intelligence (AI) and development of accurate and clever conversational user interfaces (UIs) have given birth to several types of VAs. These VAs include VEAs, virtual personal assistants (VPAs), and virtual customers assistants (VCAs).
For instance, Amazon Alexa for Business assist employees in several tasks like scheduling meetings and logistics operations, and Nokia’s MIKA helps engineers to find answers while doing complex tasks or diagnosing problems.
“We expect VEAs to be used by an increasing number of organizations over the next three years,” said Annette Jump, senior director at Gartner. “Industries such as insurance and financial services are showing strong interest in piloting VEAs internally. We’ve also witnessed VAs being used in IT, customer service and information queries.”
“Ultimately, VAs used in the workplace and VEAs will increase employee productivity and foster constructive engagement.”
Today, there are more than 1,000 vendors that provide conversational platforms, like chatbots and VAs. But Gartner predicts a drastic change in market landscape over the next two years, because of the competition in providing new capabilities.
“IT leaders looking to implement a conversation platform should determine the capabilities they need from such a platform in the short term, and select a vendor on that basis,” said Ms. Jump.
Today, most of the conversational platforms are based on text. But with the rapid improvement in speech-to-text and text-to-speech services powered by AI, around 25% of employees will interact with voice applications by 2023. Currently the voice applications are used by only 3% employees.
As per the analyst firm, the spending in VPA speakers by consumers and enterprises will total $3.5 billion in 2021.
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“We believe that the popularity of connected speakers in the home, such as the Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod and Google Home, will increase pressure on businesses to enable similar devices in the workplace,” said Van Baker, vice president at Gartner.
“While there are limitations on the actions that VPAs can perform, employees will readily expand the actions allowed as capabilities improve.”