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What is the Digital Assistant?

What is the Digital Assistant

A digital assistant is an advanced computer program, also known as a virtual digital assistant, a mobile assistant, and a predictive chatbot. It is designed to support a user by answering questions and performing basic tasks, typically over the internet. In modern times, people are intimate with smartphone digital assistants like Bixby on Samsung phones, Mycroft or Google Assistant on Android smartphones, and Siri on iPhones and iPads.

The most popular examples of digital assistants are smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. The Cortana, a Microsoft digital assistant for the computer, users who use Microsoft Windows 10 may be familiar with this assistant. Digital assistants learn and offer a personalized, conversational experience by using machine learning, natural language processing, advanced artificial intelligence, natural language understanding.

Algorithms can create data models with the help of combining historical information like family size, home ownership, purchase preferences, location, and more. These models have the ability to recognize designs of behavior and then process those designs as data is added. Digital assistants have the potential to answer complex questions, make predictions, offer recommendations, as well as initiate conversations by learning a user's preferences, history, and other information.

Digital assistants may also be referred to as voice assistants as most they are interacted with using your voice. With the digital assistant, you are just required to speak a command to pull up specific apps or programs, and the digital assistant will carry it out for you, rather than using your hands to use these programs or apps. There is a good chance to built-in digital assistant with a tablet, smartphone, or newer computer.

How to interact with a digital assistant

Users must use a wake word to interact with a digital assistant; a wake word is used by the devices to activate the digital assistant; a wake word is a word or group of words. There are most common examples of wake words, such as Hey Siri, Echo, OK Google, Alexa, Hey Cortana, Computer, etc.

When you say a wake word, the digital assistant will be activated, and you could ask the questions. For instance, "Alexa" is the default word with an Amazon Echo; once you say, Alexa, you will see a blue light on the device that indicates it's ready for a question. Then, you can ask multiple questions, such as "what is my location," "What is the current temperature," and more. Additionally, there may be some devices that do not have a wake word, or it is disabled, but with the help of pressing a button, you can activate the program and then ask a question with the digital assistant.

How Does a Digital Assistant Work?

All digital assistants do not have the same abilities. Not only a single source, but a digital assistant also fetches data from various sources. Then, it puts these data into context. What users are saying or typing, the digital assistant identifies it with the help of advanced natural language processing because NLP gives the digital assistant the ability to process it. Advanced natural language understanding (NLU) plays a vital role in digital assistants, as it makes digital assistants capable of generating accurate answers by giving the ability to parse what you say or type. Advanced natural language understanding has the potential to understand complex sentences and distinct the different pieces within numerous questions, and provide an accurate answer.

Also, multiple tasks and complex questions can be proceeding by the more advanced digital assistants that can be understood easily. Furthermore, on the basis of your history and preferences, these assistants can use their understanding to provide your recommendations and make predictions of your behavior. Thus, the use of digital assistants becomes a more common and personalized experience tailored to your needs.

What can a digital assistant do?

Digital assistants can almost be more useful for everyone. For example, digital assistants such as Microsoft's Cortana and Apple's Siri have the potential to give answer various general questions for consumers and provide recommendations on the basis of the user's profile, past behavior, and other information. With the help of your digital assistant, you can get directions to go somewhere, and you can avoid congested traffic. You can know about weather forecasts through a digital assistant at your home for the next few days, which can help to set your plan if you are going out of town for a few days or any other hangout.

In terms of businesses, for contractors and customers, digital assistant offers a single, convenient point of contact. They also help to manage incoming communications in customer contact centers. Furthermore, for some internal objectives, like to onboard new employees, the digital assistant is used.

The services offered by digital assistants are dependent upon the natural language capabilities, artificial intelligence, and other technologies used in digital assistants. The more business functions can be performed by the more advanced the digital assistant. For instance, the newer digital assistants can perform, include:

  • They are able to give automatic responses for informational and transactional requests as well as the most common IT service desk questions.
  • They help to remind an employee to submit an expense report. Also, digital assistants help you out to remind your events time or other meeting schedules.
  • They can answer complex questions, for example, what is my location, where is the coffee shop nearby the convention center or me, and where is petrol pump that is open until 10 p.m.
  • Also, for making targeted suggestions to customers and workers, they are used with multiple back-end business systems like customer relations, and sales, marketing.
  • Additionally, with the help of digital assistants, transitions between live agents, chatbots, and back again can be seamlessly managed.

By implementing a digital assistant, you can command your digital assistant for a few popular phrases, which are given below:

  • Add eggs to the shopping list
  • Tell me a joke
  • Text my brother Happy Birthday!
  • Which movie won Best Picture in 1997?
  • Directions to the nearest coffee shop
  • Play music by Radiohead

Benefits of Today's Digital Assistants

Digital assistants are beneficial for individuals and bring convenience into cars, homes, and other locations. They can also free people from tedious tasks and save money for them when digital assistants are used for specific purposes, like managing home security and home heating. Digital assistants are also useful in businesses as they help to offer better assistance to their customers and employees and especially help to improve efficiency. With the help of using digital assistants, a business can:

  • Provide better service: Digital assistants allow employees and customers to natural conversations on convenient messaging apps. Also, they can get fast and accurate answers to their queries.
  • Learn as they go: Digital assistants help businesses to learn about their customers and employees and improve the user experience by gathering real-time insights.
  • Avoid mistakes: Digital assistants help to remind upcoming events and issues. For instance, they help to remind an employee to submit an expense report or to remind their events time or other meeting schedules.
  • Scale at will: A business can offer proactive, personalized, humanlike service to a large number of people in one go and scale up or down at will with the help of implementing a digital assistant.
  • A business can offer more services by using Chatbot.
  • Also, it helps to save money for a business.

What is the Difference Between Digital Assistant and Chatbot?

Chatbots are computer programs that can simulate a written or spoken conversation. Chatbots simulate human conversation as if they are communicating with a real person. A chatbot is an artificial intelligence (AI) program that also has the potential to request a ride from a ridesharing service with the help of using one of the service's chatbots. They enable conversations with the user through mobile applications, messaging applications, websites, or by phone, which are relatively simple "conversations."

Users may get confused easily with digital assistants and chatbots. Indeed, the digital assistant is an advanced type of chatbot designed to support a user by answering questions and executing basic tasks, typically over the internet. A digital assistant, for example, digital assistants such as Microsoft's Cortana and Apple's Siri have the potential to give answer various general questions and can respond to a complex request like where is petrol pump that is open until 10 p.m. or by using my usual seating preferences, Schedule a flight to Phoenix for me next Monday, etc. The digital assistant access multiple sources to answer these kinds of requests, whereas the ordinary chatbot might not be able to perform this.

Where are digital assistants found?

In modern times, more people are dependent upon digital assistants as their voice recognition capabilities are increasing day by day; therefore, digital assistants are found in more and more devices. There is a list given below that contains some of the most common devices and places where you may find a digital assistant.

  • Smartphone.
  • Tablet.
  • Cars.
  • Apple TV and DVRs.
  • Smartwatch.
  • Smart speaker.
  • Facebook Portal
  • Instant messaging programs.
  • Appliances.
  • Computer operating systems like Windows 10 and macOS.

Most Popular Digital Assistants

In modern times, the most popular digital assistants are installed and already built-in on numerous mobile devices and computers. The most popular digital assistants are discussed below, along with where to find them and how to access them.

Google Assistant

Google Assistant can be found on Android phones as well as iOS, which is used to find quick answers with no fuss. It is designed to access information all over the world through the internet. When you want to use it, say OK Google, and then you can ask your questions and give a command.


Siri was first introduced as a pocket assistant that can be found on devices using iOS and macOS Sierra. It came directly from Steve Jobs, which is easy to use and accessible to anyone (who had an iPhone). Also, it describes Apple's overall intention with all new technology. When you want to use it, you just need to press and hold down the Home button on the iPad or iPhone and then start a conversation. The capabilities of Siri are increasing very fast as it is continuously learning more about individual users.


You can find Microsoft's Cortana on devices running Windows 10; however, it can also be found on the devices running iOS and Android. Cortana tailored more directly to the business world; however, the designing principles of Cortana are similar to Siri. When you want to use Cortana, you are required to say Hey Cortana or click the microphone icon on the taskbar; then, you can interact with your device.


The use of Alexa is similar to using Google Now, but you will have to tell Hey Alexa to start Alexa; it is currently found on the Amazon Echo and Fire TV. Additionally, it may also be available on few third-party devices.

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