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 providing requested information or accomplishing a requested task. 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.
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 single company or specific service. The specialized assistants 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 enterprise software more efficient. The Enterprise segment 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. The bulk of the report discusses 170 companies that can help them do so, with a guide to make efficient use of this information."
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 the first technical book on machine learning.
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SOURCE TMA Associates