- For the second year running, the Google Assistant outperformed Microsoft's Cortana, Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri in the number of questions answered and questions answered fully and correctly, according to a Stone Temple study testing almost 5,000 queries across the devices. The study tested the Google Assistant on Google Home and smartphones.
- Cortana was the only assistant to improve accuracy year-over-year, moving from 86% to 92%, while Alexa made the largest gains in questions attempted, improving 2.7 times compared to 2017.
- Siri and Alexa had the highest error rates, providing incorrect answers more than 3% of the time — which was more than three times greater for Alexa compared to 2017. Cortana and the Google Assistant maintained error rates below 1% for another second year.
By 2022, an estimated 175 million smart speakers are expected to reside in more than half of American households, according to Juniper Research. Include voice assistants on IoT devices such as smartphones and cars and the number of devices jumps to 870 million.
Having made the significant inroad into the consumer realm, the companies behind intelligent assistants are now turning their gaze to the enterprise. Voice assistants are used primarily for general questions, checking weather, streaming music and alarms/timers, reminders and calender functions, according to comScore. Many of these functions can be translated to the enterprise.
Employees spend a significant portion of their week answering emails and carrying out administrative and nonessential tasks — time-consuming activities intelligent assistants could take care of with a quick voice instruction.
From conversational and scheduling bots to collaboration platforms, businesses are already introducing tools to streamline workloads and make employees more efficient. Intelligent assistants are a natural next step in technology solutions for many of these problems. WeWork, for example, is using Alexa to manage conference room bookings, help tickets and meeting room status information.
While skepticism surrounds the use of voice assistants in business settings — where the devices would be listening at all times and potentially taking in sensitive information — with improved accuracy, the case for these devices is more compelling. Early adopters are already finding creative ways to use the technology outside of mindless tasks.
JPMorgan Chase, for example, has made analyst reports and research available through Alexa to its Wall Street clients, and Salesforce's Einstein platform has been sitting in on weekly board meetings for more than a year, even pushing back on reports at times to identify an unknown problem.