Voice-activated personal assistants impatient to turn your smart workplace even smarter

Voice-activated personal assistants impatient to turn your smart workplace even smarter

Steen Uno
Your family back home may already communicate closely with Apple´s Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon´s Alexa. At this moment, all these voice-activated personal assistants are eager to enter your workplace also and make your office spaces even smarter.
Steen Uno

Within a few years, it may no longer be your boss, but one or more digital personal assistants like Siri and Google Assistant who greet you good morning and introduce you to today's program and urgent tasks. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) will spread rapidly in the next few years in the office environment as companies develop and upgrade their digital office solutions.

First and foremost, the voice-activated personal assistants which you may be familiar within your living room will, with increasing intensity, introduce themselves and move into the office environments and other spaces of your workplace.

This future scenario was one of the main themes at the worldwide research and consulting firm Gartner's Digital Workplace Conference last month in London.


"Privacy and security concerns have so far limited the deployment of technology to the workplaces, but by 2025, voice-activated assistants will undoubtedly be mainstream in businesses as well.

Your boss won't be replaced by an algorithm but will use a variety of AI constructs to help improve and streamline many of your daily routine tasks, " a chief analyst at Gartner Matthew Cain states.


In the future, your boss will use various AI constructs that can help streamline many
of your daily routines, including getting you started with today's pressing tasks.
                                                                                                                            Photos: iStock


Gartner estimates that global companies will invest up to EUR 3.2 billion by 2021 in future smart speakers with 25% of digital workers using an AI assistant in their workday having their personal voice-activated digital office assistant.

"Workplaces on a large scale right now are most busy incorporating advanced sensor networks into their physical workspaces used for space optimization, heating and cooling, energy consumption, miscellaneous supplies etc. Indeed, your future workplace will enrich with a lot of new instrumentation and intelligence."

Digital voices

An American manufacturer of office furniture recently launched an adjustable standing desk voice-operated by Apple's Siri: "Hey Siri, stand up," or "Hey Siri, sit down."  

In England, via their database this summer, the health authorities allowed citizens to ask questions about diseases to Amazon's digital assistant Alexa: "Alexa. What are the symptoms of chickenpox?"


As early as 2021, Gartner estimates, every fourth business dealing daily with digital
technologies will have their own voice-activated digital office assistant.


And last spring, Google launched Duplex, an updated version of its Google Assistant that facilitates company calls, bookings of various kind, personalized meetings and appointments, etc.

Most recently, US tech giant Oracle has developed voice assistants for its various apps, inviting the group's many daily customers to use voice commands, for example, to approve orders, for meeting bookings and much more.

Don´t worry

"From workplaces, we certainly hear a lot of fear around being redundant and replaced by artificial intelligence, but for most of us it is a matter of natural evolution of our company's workflow and processes," Gartner Vice President Helen Poitevin says.

"Today, thousands of employees already exposed to AI solutions without necessarily noticing: Excel sheets that ask us to control streams of various data, AI-driven word processing, digital calendars and mail applications that automatically respond to us.

According to our studies, employees expect AI to handle and solve routine tasks for them, help reduce errors, extract relevant information in large amounts of data, and the like. Only very few fear that AI will cause them serious problems," Helen Poitevin underlines.  ●


Read more:

Computerworld.com: Get ready for more AI in the workplace
Entrepreneur.com: How voice technology is evolving
Theguardian.com: BBC to launch Alexa rival that will grasp regional accents

Computerworld.com: Oracle launches AI voice assistant for its business app suite











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