Gone are the days when we
said, "Lets Google it". The millennials say, "Hey Google!"
or "Alexa!" or "Hey Siri!"
Havenít we seen ads of
Alexa and Google Home on local TV where songs are played, or the latest news is
delivered, or informative general knowledge is easily dispensed just for the
asking? Such devices are getting immensely popular and changing the fabric of
how home entertainment works.
So, how do they work?
Essentially, these virtual assistant devices have a mic (thatís short for
microphone!) and a speaker. They have the circuitry to connect them to a WiFi.
Therefore, when you ask a question, itís captured by the mic and sent via WiFi
to the respective server where the request is processed. The response from the
server is sent back to the device from where the content is delivered via the
speakers. This content may be a piece of information or a song. Today, you can
ask via these devices to cast a YouTube video on to your TV or even play a
Now, voice-based virtual
assistants are available on the phone, too. No more clumsy typing or even
tapping on the screen. Just ask what you want the phone to do. This is the
future of interaction on the phone. The creators of these technologies
initially provided a simple way to get routine mobile tasks done via voice.
These included: "Set an Alarm...", or "Call...", or
"Send text to...". But that was a few years ago. Later, they added more
capability like playing songs and so on. Today, almost any information that is
available in the public domain is accessible via voice. Such apps are available
on both iPhone as well as Android phone.
Another popular term is
"chatbots". This usually refers to the virtual assistants that are
available online. Customer support is the most popular application on websites
that gets millions of support requests on a daily basis. Such requests are
usually typed on a chat window on the website and are processed by a virtual
assistant at the backend. Usually, chatbots are not voice-enabled.