Voice Assistant: AI Virtual Assistants for You

edited November 2 in Acer Corner

2022 is the year of artificial intelligence (AI); a big part of this is AI or voice assistants. Over 38% of us use voice assistants daily – a significant 8% jump since 2021.

As the popularity of smartphones and intelligent speakers grows, we're turning to our AI helpers increasingly. From standalone devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo to apps like Siri and Cortana, we now talk to them intuitively as they become more integrated into our lives.

When busy and our hands are full - we're driving or cooking - we talk to our assistants when reaching for a phone isn't safe or convenient. Voice assistants can do everything from translation to telling you the weather forecast. More than 92% search the web with their voice – 40% of us do so regularly.

Do you ever find yourself wondering what an AI or voice assistant is? Well, you're not alone. In this blog post, we'll explore what an AI assistant is and how it can help you in your everyday life.

What is an AI assistant? 

In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has made great strides in becoming more capable of completing complex tasks. AI has seen particular success in voice assistants, also known as AI or digital assistants, including the big four:

  • Amazon Alexa 
  • Apple Siri 
  • Google Assistant 
  • Microsoft Cortana

AI assistants are apps that understand natural language voice commands. They listen to your instructions, interpret them, and take action. They can complete tasks that are similar to human assistants, such as:

  • Reading text 
  • Making calls 
  • Writing to-do lists 
  • Telling directions 
  • Playing Music

While mainly used for simple tasks such as setting reminders or checking the weather, voice assistants are becoming increasingly capable of more complex tasks, including:

  • Making restaurant reservations 
  • Booking travel plans 
  • Finding lost phones

AI assistants are in the cloud, so you can access them anywhere with an internet connection. They can be connected to smart devices to integrate into your daily life.

As AI evolves, voice assistants will likely become more capable and widely used. For now, they're a convenient, helpful tool that saves time and enables you to get more out of your day-to-day life. 

Best Ways to Use Your Voice Assistant

Most of us use voice assistants for basic tasks like asking Siri for the weather or Googling a random fact. However, voice assistants can do much more than just answer simple questions. With the right commands, you can control your smart home, play music, get directions, and more. If you're unsure how to get started, check out this list of awesome timesavers for your favorite voice assistant.

1) At Work 

With AI assistants, you can concentrate on your current task and become more efficient while saving time through voice commands. Voice assistance can help you with:

  • Setting up meetings: "Add to my calendar a sales meeting on October 12th at 2 pm." 
  • Reminders: "Remind me to call John at 5 pm on Tuesday." 
  • Remember random facts: "Remember the rental car's registration is UXT-4165." Later, you can ask, "What's the rental car's registration plate?" 
  • Typing via voice: Google Assistant is good at transcribing. 
  • Play music: "Play my focus playlist." 

2) Hands-Free Driving 

Cell phone use is involved in at least 23% of all car accidents. Voice assistants can make your life safer and avoid pulling over to search for directions by:

  • Giving directions: "Hey Google, where's the nearest gas station?" 
  • Sending text messages: "Send a message to Susan." 
  • Call people: "Call Mom." 
  • Read and respond to Emails: "Siri, read me my emails."

3) Travel 

AI assistants are great travel companions. Here are a few ways to use voice while you're on the go.

  • Keep track of your flights: Ask, "Is [flight number] on time?" 
  • Convert currencies: Convert 1000 Baht to USD
  • Lost: Get your current location by saying: Where am I?  
  • To meet up with others: If you're trying to meet someone, share your location with them using Google Assistant. That way, they can see your current whereabouts and navigate to the same spot, even as you move around. Say, Share my location
  • Find your luggage: Equip your suitcase with a Bluetooth tracker, and Siri can find your bag. 
  • Make restaurant reservations: Google Assistant can make restaurant reservations in America. All you do is say, "Book a table for two at the Marriot Saturday night," and it will call the restaurant with the request.

4) At Home 

Voice assistants can make your life easier at home. Here are a few ways to use voice while sitting in your living room.

  • Watch TV: With a smart TV, you can ask it to "Turn on the news." 
  • Answer questions: You can ask questions like "What's the capital of Argentina?" and voice assistants will answer them. 
  • Get the time: Ask, "What's the time?" 
  • Find your phone: If you misplaced it, say "Where is my phone?" to have Google Assistant try to find it. 
  • Set alarms: Set an alarm for 7 am tomorrow.

Best AI Assistants 

Which is the best assistant for you? We have outlined the top 4 voice assistants for you to decide:

Google Assistant 

Best for Accuracy 

Since its 2016 launch, Google Assistant has been the top AI-enabled, voice-powered virtual assistant. It has a broad reach available on 50,000 different devices across 10,000 brands. It is installed on over 1 billion devices, from phones to tablets to smart speakers to cars.

Google is considered the most accurate and advanced of all the AI assistants, with over 1 million actions. It now communicates with popular apps, including:

  • Spotify: "Open Spotify." 
  • Mint: "Check my Mint accounts." 
  • Etsy: "Find soap on Etsy." 
  • Twitter: "Post to Twitter."

Google routines are activities that you can combine and create using Assistant settings. When you say, "I'm home," it could turn the lights on and increase the thermostat.

Here are some of the top features of Google Assistant:

  • Get Quick Answers 
  • Voice-activated control 
  • Task completion 
  • Reminders and appointments 
  • Real-time translation 
  • It is available on multiple types of devices 

Random command: Say: Help me wash my hands. Google Assistant will play a song for 40 seconds to help with your timing. 

Amazon Alexa 

Best for Device Compatibility 

Amazon's Alexa is another top AI virtual assistant that has risen in popularity over the years, with over 100 million Alexa-equipped devices sold.

Alexa has the broadest compatibility with over 100,000 smart home devices, from lighting to door locks to cameras. So, Alexa is perfect for automating your smart home and easy shopping with its seamless connection to Amazon. Amazon partners with Ring, the smart lock company, so Alexa can answer your door on command.

Here are some of Alexa's top functions:

  • Music playback and audiobooks 
  • To-do lists 
  • Podcast streaming 
  • News and sports updates 
  • Real-time weather and traffic data 

Random Easter Egg: Alexa, who you gonna call? 

Ghostbusters! 

Apple Siri 

Most popular mobile voice assistant 

If you're an iPhone user, Siri is probably your go-to assistant. Siri was the first voice assistant launched way back in 2011. Installed on all of Apple's 1.4 billion active devices, manufacturers can't ignore it. The number of device integrations is limited compared to Amazon and Google. But Apple closely monitors and regulates what's available to ensure quality, simplicity, and effectiveness.

Siri currently works in 21 languages, which is ideal for multilingual households. However, Siri doesn't have as many third-party services.

Here are some of Siri's top functions: 

  • Answer questions: How is traffic today? 
  • Make recommendations 
  • Make phone calls and send text messages 
  • Dictate location: Take me home 
  • Find a lost object: Find my [AirTag name]. 

Random trick: Can't make a decision, ask Siri to "Flip a coin." 

Microsoft Cortana 

Best for Microsoft Team users 

Since 2011, Microsoft's voice assistant, Cortana, has fallen behind Google Assistant and Alexa in market share. As a result, in 2021, Microsoft shut down its apps for both iOS and Android. In Windows 11, the app is gone.

Instead, Cortana has shifted to a more business-focused approach to help workers organize their days. Cortana acts as your productivity assistant with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.

Here are Cortana's top functions:

  • Get definitions and quick answers 
  • Set reminders and alarms 
  • Takes notes 
  • Manage your calendar 
  • Keep your schedule up to date 
  • Open apps on your computer 
  • Get weather and news updates 

Cortana may be helpful if your company tightly integrates with the Microsoft ecosystem. 

Random fact: Cortana is named after the AI character in the Halo game series on Xbox.  

Which is the Smartest AI Assistant? 

In 2019, Perficient asked 4,999 questions and ranked them on their ability to answer questions thoroughly and correctly in this order: 

  1. Google Assistant 
  2. Alexa 
  3. Siri 
  4. Cortana 

Best Acer Smart Speaker: Acer Halo Smart Speaker 

If you're looking for a high-quality smart speaker to add to your home, the Acer Halo Smart Speaker is a great option. With Google Assistant built-in, you can always get help with your questions or tasks.

It features DTS Sound™ for superior audio quality and 360° audio projection for hearing you from any angle. Dual far-field microphones can pick up your voice even if you're not right in front of it. 

You can customize the LED to your style, and the RGB-lit base reacts to your music. A night light is also available. These are the top features:

  • DTS Sound™ 
  • 360° audio projection with 20mm tweeters and Neodymium magnet woofer 
  • Dual far-field mics 
  • Google Assistant 
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity 

As we move into the future, it's evident that AI and voice assistants are increasingly becoming integrated into our lives. We often turn to our AI helpers because they can do everything from translation to telling us the weather forecast. In just a few short years, the use of voice assistants has increased dramatically, with more and more people using them daily. With their convenience and usefulness, it's no wonder they're becoming so popular. Why not consider using a voice assistant to simplify your life?

*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.

About Robert Stark: Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech. 


Tagged:
Sign In or Register to comment.

It looks like you're new here. Sign in or register to get started.