The personal assistant has long been considered a benefit exclusive to the very wealthy and powerful. Today, advances in technology and a plethora of digital sites and products make interacting with your own personal assistant as easy as the touch of a button or a simple voice command. Multiple smartphones and digital home products feature built-in personal assistants. There are applications that can be downloaded on a computer to work across all devices that operate as a personal assistant. And freelance websites also feature full time and part-time personal assistants who can help you throughout the year or on a project-by-project basis.
Digital Personal Assistants
The development of new phone tech puts a personal assistant in the palm of your hand, or in the range of your voice! The popularity of virtual digital assistants is growing at a rapid pace. According to research site Statista, the estimated number of people using digital assistants worldwide is projected to reach 1.8 billion by 2021.
A digital personal assistant is a software-based service that lives in the cloud and is designed to help you complete tasks, get information, and manage your schedule. This personal assistant technology operates by combining natural language processing and artificial intelligence in order to communicate with users and carry out tasks. These personal assistants can complete tasks like playing music you suggest, booking a reservation at restaurants, keeping track of commitments, and booking flights.
The concept of having a personal assistant on a smartphone has been around since Siri’s launch in October 2011. Now, each of the major players in the digital personal assistant game (Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft) are doing everything they can to make their personal assistants as comprehensive as possible. The most popular products in the industry include Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant. In fact, the Google Assistant has created tech that goes beyond booking and managing appointments. When connected to Google Home and with supporting devices, this personal assistant can book you a flight and turn on your oven, washing machine, and lights at the same time.
Personal Assistant Apps
In addition to personal assistants that live in the cloud, there are applications that now operate in the same way as a personal assistant. These applications claim to go beyond the capabilities of the basic personal assistant application on the phone—and many are free to use. Assistant.ai, for example, is a free application that operates as a personal assistant. This app is available in multiple languages and on multiple platforms and features an intelligence that learns what you like so it can serve you accordingly. Through Assistant.ai, a user can send emails and texts, translate, and search, all without opening the app. And this application can also respond to commands you customize, such as opening and reading your emails.
Other mobile personal assistants help keep track of your personal, professional, and financial life. 24me, for example, brings everything together—social networks, financial institutions, and utilities—to remind you what you need to do and when. The app can even direct you to a virtual gift shop when you’re reminded of your friend’s birthday.
Freelance Personal and Virtual Assistants
Websites that connect freelancers with businesses and individuals are now featuring personal assistant roles. Virtual assistants (VAs) are available around the world, in part because websites like UpWork and Indeed have a service that allows individuals or businesses to hire assistants to complete digital tasks and manage schedules. Additionally, some professionals and small businesses in the U.S. have had success hiring Filipino virtual assistants through the website Onlinejobs.ph, where you can hire a VA to work full time or part-time at very reasonable hourly rates.
Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help to manage their business, accounts, or schedules, but don’t want to bring on staff at their location. These virtual assistants can be hired for a one time or recurring project; they can help you get through the busy season or can be tasked with keeping one aspect of a business or calendar on track.
Sure, the world seems to be moving faster. Completing all the tasks on your “to-do” list and keeping track of your schedule can be stressful. Perhaps it’s time to consider using a digital or virtual assistant to help you stay ahead of the game.
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