The Digital Evolution of Ubiquitous Personal Assistants

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Many tech companies have invested in personal assistants in a real search to make our digital lives more convenient. However, with the advent of advanced NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Cloud and Mobile computing, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence & IoT, these assistants are evolving to "ubiquitous" personal assistants (UPA): those assistants that use advanced recognition/language capabilities, continuously keep learning about you and your interests and can potentially carry this knowledge across your multiple devices (e.g. PCs, mobile phones, tablets) as well as "intelligent things" like smart cars, refrigerators etc. 


In a recent webinar centered around the theme of "The Ubiquitous Personal Assistance(UPA) - Dawn Of The "All Pervasive Knowledge" Era"Monika Mital Gupta, Senior Director / Principal Group Manager at Microsoft Research India Pvt. Ltd.shared key insights on the evolving role of “ubiquitous” personal assistants.

"The ubiquitous personal assistant can help any company or startup once they really reach the true potential. They will definitely help you cut cost in terms of being able to automate some of your typical day to day strategic tasks. An example could be when you are looking for best partners that are available in your particular niche area or an expert who can really be recruited. These agents can actually help you through the intelligence and the data mining. So, they will be able to perform only if we are able to realize the vision they are marching towards," Monika explained .

She also further added that ubiquitous personal assistants will possibly cut manpower because then you don’t need the whole battery of recruiters or assistants sitting there trying to find the same information. And probably it is erroneous information as well. 

Challenges For The Ubiquitous Personal Assistant:

There are certain challenges and concerns that everybody has which are related to this kind of technology. And this is something which is always present when any new technological advancement happens. In the webinar, Monika further went on to stress that how we address the challenges is going to be critical for some companies and players to be successful. She further highlighted 5 key challenges f or the ubiquitous personal assistant:

Security & Privacy:  Security & privacy is paramount.  Even with IoT, there are concerns around a device, data privacy and network or transaction security.

Business Model: With business models, there is a risk of fragmented user base integration across platforms. Businesses must use standards and boundaries to be able to protect the data, to be able to secure information, and yet be able to share it so that it is used by everybody for the right reasons.

Costs: Costs are going to be an important factor. As an estimate, as of today, 10 billion dollars have already been invested by companies across in this kind of technology and development of AI. In fact, they are calling it AI(artificial intelligence) for IA (intelligence assistants). However, the issue now for them is that it is unclear on how they would be able to get a return on investment until and unless they can figure out the revenue sharing models.

Reliability: While all of the assistants are developing in different areas, some are lacking in terms of accuracy, completeness of the response, response times and understanding of our needs. This is one critical thing that each company is investing and looking into.