Speech Technology Magazine’s Spring 2015 edition contains an in-depth look at the state of speech technology. Included in the study is an article by Michele Masterson on intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs). Masterson describes customer-focused intelligent assistants as technology that bridges the gap between web self-service and human support agents.
Self-service, Masterson explains, is best suited for helping customers answer frequently asked questions or perform basic tasks. In contrast, live service agents can assist customers with all types of complex inquiries and transactions. IVAs, it turns out, can nicely fill the critical gap between the low touch and high touch customer service experience.
The technology of IVAs has advanced to the point where these assistants can understand natural language questions, surmise context, search for answers, and even carry out business processes. Masterson points out that IVAs are capable of tasks that include booking an airline flight, ordering a pizza, and executing personal banking transactions.
Masterson quotes Dan Miller of Opus Research as saying that he expects the IVA market to reach $700 million by 2016. The article also gives a glimpse into some of the IVA vendors in the marketplace and into sample deployments. You can read the full article on the Speech Technology Magazine website.