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How to Use AI Voice Assistants to Increase Productivity and Save Time

In today’s fast-paced world, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be a huge help and time saver at work, at home and in life. According to TechCrunch, nearly one in five U.S. adults today have access to a smart speaker and, according to Adobe, one half of the population will own a voice-activated smart speaker by the end of the 2018 holiday season. Here are a few ways AI can help you connect with friends and family, save time and money, and never shout across your home again.

Smart Speaker Specifics

When you interact with a smart speaker, it sends a recording of your voice to its servers for processing and stores it in association with your account, which allows your speaker to gain a better understanding of you. Amazon Alexa does allow you to delete previous recordings, though it may reduce its understanding of your preferences. As for concerns about eavesdropping and privacy, at this time it’s somewhat unclear as to what is being done with stored data, but the purpose of it monitoring is primarily searching for the wake word—which can be its name or the name of your choice—to activate.

Underused and Underrated Functions 

Improved child and elder care: There is a great video feature, yet both underused and underrated, that can be used for child and elder care. “Drop in” allows you to just start audio or video chatting with someone and has the potential to vastly improve your elder and child care situations. Units in the bedroom or bathroom can be disabled to avoid anyone dropping in.

Intercom-like capability. With eight Alexa devices in our house, our family uses it to communicate no matter what room we’re in. Multiple Alexa devices can mean an integrated, interconnected home or workplace—no shouting needed! Now I have over 50 smart home devices in my house and can set a single command to do execute a variety of tasks—lock the doors, turn on the security system, dim the lights. You can also get creative and trigger other processes, such as open the curtains and brew coffee.

Never forget another item at the store: This is the one that’s pretty routine, but a truly time-saving feature that has become completely integrated into our lives, from anywhere in the house (yes, even the bathroom) we can say “Alexa, add toilet paper to the shopping list” or “add Madison’s cereal.” You can hear this from all corners of our house all day long. Why in the bathroom? We found that having a smart speaker to play our favorite music or news radio and check the weather as we’re getting ready to select our clothing for the day, it’s been a really useful place to have an Amazon Alexa to help out. 

Common Problems to Avoid

Talking too quickly: Our family now understands if someone uses the wake word, they should stop speaking for a second to let the person complete their command and leave a second of silence (which is really rare in my house) to allow Alexa to process the command.

Lack of Courtesy: With reduced accountability, people lose their filter with AI, and may make demands and start to speak abusively to devices—particularly children.  This challenge should be seized by parents as an opportunity to create habitual behavior to be polite and say thank you as a reflex and not speak abusively to AI just because there is no consequence.

Save time: Follow Up is a feature which allows consecutive commands without having to say Alexa over and over. For instance, you might say, “Alexa turn off the kitchen light, turn off the TV, lock the front door”. This feature for a home like ours with everything smart-home enabled is great, but I contend this was added for two reasons: It also allows us to thank Alexa, and it’s humanizing our interactions.  We can say thank you after she performs a task, and she will say “You’re welcome,” or “No worries;” never the same thing twice in a row. 

The Digital Revolution

The popularity and usefulness of AI will continue to grow as its capabilities increase. The digital revolution means that the future will offer mutual value between brands and consumers, and a symbiosis between consumers and their AI devices.  This means that whatever may be recorded, it will ultimately help the consumer, understanding their preferences and anticipating needs. You won’t get a diaper ad if your kids are grown, and you won’t get inundated with offers on an item you’ve Googled once.  AI allows marketing to get smarter, ultimately getting to know and helping the customer.

As we frequently say at Bigbuzz Marketing Group, the digital revolution is here, and we’ve got to learn how to live in it.  Whether it’s Amazon Alexa, Siri, Spotify Discover Weekly or Waze, AI is a helpful tool for home, work and life in general—you may wonder what you did without it for so long.

About the author

Kevin Kelly is President, Chief Creative Officer and Founder of Bigbuzz Marketing Group, a full-service digital advertising agency, which he launched in his Long Island, New York garage in 1995. Today, he oversees the agency’s client relationships, develops and innovates its suite of services and provides the creative vision for long-term growth from the firm’s office in Manhattan.

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