Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chatbots, Intelligent Assistants, Virtual Agents...But Which Term is Correct?

Photo Credit: bbc.com

Artificial intelligence (A.I.) and automated self-service solutions have gained major traction within the past few years. With big name brands turning to A.I. (Google, Microsoft, etc.), consumers have become more comfortable having a conversation with technology (Artificial Intelligence). Virtual Agents are one of those technologies that have become familiar, and demanded by consumers. In short, a Virtual Agent is an intelligent web-based self-service tool used to support customers and employees throughout many processes. Similar to live chat, but end users interact and get answers from an A.I.

As a company with over 15 years of experience creating Virtual Assistants for trusted brands around the globe, we are always excited to see a continual increase in the adoption of these self-service practices. Over the years, we have witnessed many different companies and analyst firms try to coin different terms to describe these diagnostic and interactive self-service tools. Here is a list of some of the terms we see floating around our space the most: 
  • Avatars
  • Chatbots
  • Enterprise Virtual Assistants
  • Intelligent Assistants
  • Intelligent Personal Assistants
  • Intelligent Virtual Assistants
  • Interactive Artificial Intelligence Assistant
  • Virtual Agents (VAs)
  • Virtual Assistants
  • Virtual Customer Assistants
  • Virtual Customer Care Expert
  • Virtual Personal Assistants

Photo Credit: hrpayrollsystems.net

Now, the million dollar question...which term is correct? The truth is, they all are. Which ever term you want to use, in the grand scheme of things, they all refer to the same thing. Understandably, it can get confusing with all these different variations of the same word, but we hope shedding some light to this debated topic will eliminate some of that confusion. As we like to say, tomayto/tomahto.