As the gradual demand rises, customer interaction and experience has become of primary importance for any brand. At the same time, automation has revolutionized every industry with varied technological invention. Hence, to resolve queries, for instant solutions and to get answers to many questions quickly, chatbots have become the most preferred channel. Intelligent digital assistants work like Siri or Alexa, use Machine learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to answer questions asked via voice or text through messaging channels that users prefer, delivering the digital experience today’s customer expects. As per a KPMG research, digital technologies are expected to automate most of the activities performed with productivity equal to the labor output of approx. USD 5.5 to 6.4 trillion by 2025. It may also change the landscape of knowledge workers, with technology offerings equal to the capacity of between 120 and 140 million employees by 2025. Smart machines have also been predicted to be amongst the top 5 investment opportunities for CIO in the future.

How NLP and ML make conversational AI bots smart?

Chatbot solutions function with the help of a brain called AI engines and powers many AI technologies, sometimes all at once, to give instant replies. ML and NLP are the technological processes that enable a computer to understand not only the information but also the objective of an input by a user. ML is the application in AI chatbots that offers the capability to automatically learn and enhance from experience without being specifically programmed. ML/ NLP lets your chatbot behave in somewhat human-like behavior as it gradually learns to understand and respond to a user applying their natural language pattern. This makes your chatbot smart enough to derive sense of the important components in a text or voice query, improvise wherever required and then serve a reply.

What is a Digital Assistant?

A digital assistant is a far more intelligent and efficient form of a regular AI chatbot. It is a conversation-driven interface to drive efficiency through automation. Digital Assistant is a ‘smart’ conversational AI that creates a 24/7 self-help channel for its users, provides reliable- ideal responses across channels and run on a user’s personal device. Users can not only ask questions, but also control media playback and home automation devices via voice, and manage other simple jobs such as email, to-do lists, and calendar updates easily with some verbal commands. It communicates in multiple ways, from visuals to voice to text etc. Some digital assistants have the inbuilt capability to learn your native language for conversation and enable an omnichannel support to customers across platforms like websites and apps. Digital assistants can be trained for multiple roles and bridge the gap in activities which were previously left incomplete due to inconstant follow-up and human interactions. Some digital assistants are extremely sensitive machines that, with the tone of user’s voice and the words used, can even sense the mood of the user. These machines build further on their capabilities and intelligence with each interaction and experience with its users.

Role of Digital Assistant in education

In education, a digital assistant can help to offer the most intimate learning and counselling experience for each student. Digital assistant can support the university by improving student success, making financial aid applications easier, offering housing application guidance, boosting office productivity, and reducing wait times for IT support. By employing a digital assistant, a university can simply train the system once to offer resources and solutions it extends and this ‘intelligent employee’ can later handle multiple crisis and queries with responses that that resonate with the goals of the institution. This way freeing up the staff member, earlier involved in tedious queries, to focus on higher value work. Due to its capability to perform multiple tasks and play the role of multiple resources, a research from a leading economic institution in London indicates ROI of 600- 800% for specific tasks in robotic technologies. Implementation of a digital assistant can result into a complete experience for the end-users, both students and the staff.

Benefits of implementing AI-based digital assistant in education:

  • 24/7 availability to access information
  • ‘Learns’ the preferences and user behaviors of the user
  • One-time training to get the AI system up to speed
  • Supports staff members with various tasks
  • Helps reduce the volume of inquiries to administrative departments
  • On-demand, tailored, instant support for simple to complex queries
  • Personalized learning and counseling experience
  • Can work on student’s personal devices
  • Interprets the tone of the query and the words used to sense emotional health of a person
  • Can be trained to escalate the query to the actual human, wherever required
  • Push notifications facility to deliver critical updated instantly

AI chatbots are no more simple dumb machines and there are substantial precedents to prove that they are evolving over the years. And the studies show that AI and robotic technologies will more likely become the digital humans of the future, which is here and now. Employing a digital assistant not only gives your brand an edge to differentiate but also offers your customers the innovative digital experience they deserve.