Hexa Research, a market research and consulting firm, published an in-depth analysis of the intelligent virtual assistant market last year. I was recently able to review an excerpted sample. In the report, Hexa Research forecast the global demand for intelligent virtual assistants to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 30% from 2013 to 2020. That means that over the next five years, the report authors expect the size of the market for virtual agent solutions to more than triple and be valued at around $3 Billion.
The report cites several factors for this expansive growth. These factors include: increased customer demand for online self-service, a trend towards self-reliance, and the increasing capability of intelligent assistant technologies to quickly provide customers with the answers they need.
Most of the data in the report is presented in terms of market segmentation and global regions. The two market segments used for the research are Large Enterprises and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). The regions examined are North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and RoW (Rest of the World–which for this report includes South America, Middle East, and Africa).
North America is cited as the current leader in terms of revenue from intelligent assistants sales. However, growth in emerging markets is expected to accelerate more quickly than in either North America or Europe over the next five years, due to a surge in mobile usage in those areas. Large enterprises far outpace SMEs on spending for intelligent assistants, accounting for over 80% of the market. SME spending is expected to pick up, but remain small when compared to the investments of large enterprises.
Hexa Research offers an interesting overview of the virtual agent technology ecosystem. Their overview distinguishes between four levels of capability, or maturity. What they call Level 1, for example, consists of virtual agents that only engage the customer via a text-to-text interface and that offer responses in a text-based format. To achieve Level 2, the intelligent assistant needs to have at least a branded image and some other characteristics beyond Level 2. I found this maturity model interesting, as the general concept bears some semblance to the capability model that I presented at the recent Mobile Voice Conference 2015. You’ll need access to the full report to see the other distinguishing characteristics across the four intelligent assistant maturity levels that Hexa Research has defined.
You’ll also need access to the full report to see the Porter’s Five Forces Analysis, which examines the level of competition and business strategy associated with threats of new entrants, supplier power, industry rivalry, buyer power, and threat of substitutes. The report also includes an analysis of 16 intelligent virtual assistant vendors and related technology providers. Since the report was published, IntelliResponse was acquired by 7.
Based on the sample I reviewed, I can imagine that vendors in the industry or in a closely related industry would be interested in the information in the full report (assuming they haven’t already read it). The report could also provide insights to companies considering an investment in virtual agent technologies or to organizations interested in the market and where it might be headed over the next five years.