Microsoft’s Cortana voice-based personal assistant has always seemed a little out of place in the enterprise. It’s a useful tool for search, for reminders, and for letting you know when you need to leave to get to that meeting on time. But compared to Amazon Alexa’s growing list of skills, it’s lagging in the personal assistant race.Yes, it connects to Office 365 and LinkedIn to give you some insight into your work, but then again so does Alexa. But if Microsoft delivers the Windows promises made last week at its Build 2017 developer conference, that’s all going to change.As part of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s rearticulation of his original “mobile first, cloud first” vision as one of “an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge,” Cortana is getting a promotion. More than a basic piece of personal assistant software, with the next release of Windows 10 it will be the face of the intelligent agents that will populate … [Read more...] about Cortana moves way beyond being a personal assistant
Cortana moves way beyond being a personal assistant
Much as smartphones did in the late 2000s,voice-activated A.I. assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant appear poised to move from homes into the workplace. That’s the the idea behind this month’s launch of Alexa for Business by Amazon’s cloud computing subsidiary, Amazon Web Services.The virtual assistant, unveiled at the company’s Re:Invent conference, is aimed at automating and simplifying a variety of tedious office tasks. It allows users to check calendars, reorder supplies, set up meetings and kick off video conference calls using voice commands directed at its Echo devices.Amazon is not the first to target its intelligent assistant for workplace uses. Cisco, for example, announced its Spark Assistant last month; it’s designed specifically to take some of the pain out of organizing video conferences. Microsoft, meanwhile, has integrated Cortana with its Office 365 applications.All of those moves serve to highlight the emergence of … [Read more...] about Alexa for Business paves way for smart A.I. assistants at work
Ah, virtual assistants! Nobody really knows where these are headed, but by now it should be obvious that the big three mobile platforms are intent on pushing the frontier forward in what is shaping up to be yet another battlefield. Quite frankly, however, while the industry as a whole has been checking up with Google Now and Apple's Siri every now and then to see how each is doing and how they compare against each other, it's only now that Microsoft has finally entered the space that this is starting to feel like a real race. But before we talk about specifics and discuss where each of the three is likely headed, it's important to first understand where each is coming from.Most of you would assume that Siri is the one we should start with -- after all, when Apple introduced the personal assistant with the iPhone 4S in 2011, it was the first to do so, and it kept that title for a while. But the truth is that Siri and Google Now (introduced in 2012), while technically older products, … [Read more...] about Google Now vs Siri vs Cortana: showdown
Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa has had quite a year. Besides powering the leading smart speaker in the world in the Amazon Echo, smartphone manufacturers like Huawei, HTC and now Motorola have made room on certain of their handsets to include Alexa right alongside Google. And as other companies seek to make their own personal assistants more competitive, Amazon is willing to shell out the cash required to keep Alexa on top in 2018 and beyond.In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is moving money and people off of other divisions and is moving the cash and hundreds of engineers to the Alexa program. As an example of how big Amazon thinks Alexa can be, it has replaced the former head of the division, who retired, with long time Amazon executive Tom Taylor. The latter is known for scaling fast growing divisions, which tells us that Amazon expects to expand Alexa very quickly/This holiday season could be a big one for Amazon, Alexa and Echo. Smart speakers have become a … [Read more...] about Amazon keeps hiring engineers in a bid to keep Alexa on top
Our personal digital assistants are getting smarter; Amazon and Microsoft recently announced that Alexa and Cortana will be able to talk to one another. But we’re still in the very early days of artificial intelligence (AI), and their potential remains largely untapped. That’s changing, and it’s changing fast. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told Fast Company “this is not all future. Volvo is using it today. Uber is using it today. [US home improvement store chain] Lowe’s is using it today”. The sector is moving so fast, Nadella added, that “sometimes I get confused myself”.If you thought getting Siri or Alexa to turn on the lights was pretty cool, you’ll be amazed by what the future could hold. According to Nadella, the digital assistants of the future could:Chide you about missing gym sessions or eating junk when you’re travelingMake cars safer by analysing motorists’ faces to check they’re awake and in … [Read more...] about What happens when our assistants are smarter than us?