25% workers to use digital assistants globally by 2021: Gartner

Twenty five per cent of workers globally would use a virtual employee assistant (VEA) on a daily basis by 2021 -- from a mere 2 per cent in 2019 -- a Gartner report said on Wednesday.

The VEA examples include Amazon's Alexa for Business which is helping employees delegate tasks such as scheduling meetings and logistics operations and Nokia's "MIKA" helping engineers find answers as they perform complex tasks or diagnose problems.

"We expect VEAs to be used by an increasing number of organisations over the next three years.

The market for conversational platforms -- VAs and chatbots -- includes over 1,000 vendors worldwide.

"Ultimately, VAs used in the workplace and VEAs will increase employee productivity and foster constructive engagement," Jump added.

However, over the next couple of years, a race to provide new capabilities will result in the vendor landscape changing drastically.

"IT leaders looking to implement a conversation platform should determine the capabilities they need from such a platform in the short term, and select a vendor on that basis," Jump noted.

According to Gartner, by 2023, 25 per cent of employee interactions with applications will be via voice, up from under three per cent in 2019.

Although most chatbots and VAs are still text-based, AI-enabled speech-to-text and text-to-speech hosted services are improving rapidly.

"We believe that the popularity of connected speakers in the home, such as the Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod and Google Home, will increase pressure on businesses to enable similar devices in the workplace," said Van Baker, Vice President at Gartner.

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