OVAs: The Future of Voice
As our society becomes increasingly integrated with voice technology, our needs are outgrowing the capabilities of current virtual assistants. Since the start of the pandemic, the demand for remote alternatives to daily tasks opened the doors for virtual assistants to make their biggest leaps yet. Enter OVAs, the biggest trend in voice technology and the answer to our technological needs.
What are OVAs?
Mainstream Virtual Assistants (MVAs) like Alexa are great for personal use, but have limitations when it comes to commercial use. Since MVAs are separate from individual companies’ interfaces, they are also blind to user data and context. As such, they can’t perform the complex, brand-specific capabilities that commercial virtual assistants need to have.
There is a solution, however; OVAs, or Owned Virtual Assistants, are operated by specific companies and are delivered only through their channels. They usually have specialized functions that are unique to their purpose and brand owner. OVAs give companies control over their data, channels, and brand expression. Rather than relying on the development restrictions of MVA platforms, brands can design their own user interfaces.
The Goal of OVAs
Many OVAs are multi-modal, integrating visual components into their audio interfaces. Voice assistants to digital platforms like mobile apps or websites most commonly use this approach. Using a multi-modal interface can make these products more user-friendly and can increase user retention.
Experts say that creating the optimal user interface requires two skills: the ability to gather and learn from user data, and the ability to update their user interface accordingly. Using an OVA can speed up both of these processes. The voice assistant can identify what users need the most help navigating, and simultaneously guide them through it. This saves time and effort for the user and the developer, creating a dynamic experience that is tailored to each user’s needs.
Everyday Examples of OVAs
OVAs are making their way beyond the scope of apps and websites. They are cropping up in many aspects of our daily life, from home entertainment systems to the food industry. For example, Valyant AI is partnering with Checkers & Rally’s restaurants to bring voice assistants into drive-thrus across the United States. This product uses machine learning and natural language processing to take orders and have conversations with customers. It has already been implemented in several locations and maybe a solution to pandemic labor shortages.
Healthcare has also become far more accessible thanks to OVAs. Robin Healthcare has created a voice assistant with HIPAA compliant, military-grade security encryption that listens to doctor-patient conversations and “capture[s] primary data from the patient visit and lift[s] the administrative burden from the backs of doctors.”
Other OVAs deliver a more personal touch–ElliQ is an elder care virtual assistant that can provide empathetic and engaging companionship to older adults. It can assist with communicating with family and friends, setting health goals, and even booking Uber rides. Virtual assistants like ElliQ can alleviate symptoms of loneliness, which is more necessary than ever during the pandemic.
Owned Virtual Assistants have the potential to improve our lives and have a positive impact on the world. OVAs are here to stay, and it’s time to embrace them.
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