Busy? Get that app to schedule your meeting
A look at some virtual assistants that can ease your workload
The workplace is constantly evolving—from the time landline phones ruled in the 1990s, to the adoption of the email around the same time, to the present-day scenario where we have instant messaging apps and video-conferencing. Research firm Gartner, in a Strategic Technology Trends report released in October, suggests that by the end of 2018, most of the world’s largest 200 companies will “exploit intelligent apps and utilize the full toolkit of big data and analytics tools”. These will include virtual personal assistants on your PC and smartphone. The idea behind these apps is to be a constant support for you—from following up on emails, reminding you about scheduled meetings to letting you book travel tickets and more. We look at some virtual assistants that can ease your workload.
The way X.AI works is rather unique. This virtual assistant is geared for scheduling meetings for you, and ensuring that you get there on time. There is no app to download or Web address to punch in. All you need to do is communicate with the assistant by marking it in all emails relating to meeting plans.
For example, if you get an email to schedule a meeting, and you don’t have time to do a back and forth on the date and place, simply mark firstname.lastname@example.org on the reply mail, and Amy will take it over from there. The assistant will send a mail to the sender with the possible time slots you are available for, after checking your calendar, and fix it up. The X.AI assistant is free to use for scheduling up to five meetings a month and it also lets you set VIP contacts, apart from unlimited scheduling.
This virtual assistant is ideal for in-office use where you need to collaborate with teams. The Vibrant Work App integrates a task manager with sub-tasks, a to-do list, work reminders, a daily planner and a checklist organizer. You can also do group chats. The app can also be used for project management, tracking time spent on tasks and handling shared files.
The app is available for iOS devices, and subscription plans start from Rs1,500 per month for teams.
Haptik is a personal assistance app that uses a unique blend of AI, natural-language processing, machine-learning techniques and human intervention to answer user queries, give suggestions based on context, and send reminders for pending tasks. The idea is to ensure every user query is answered. It can be used in a business environment too. You can book cabs and flight tickets, do Web check-ins, order food, make hotel bookings and more, all of which might just ease the stress on a hectic workday. The Haptik assistant is free to download and use on Android and iOS.
This started out as an AI-powered personal assistant for Windows Phones. But there aren’t many of those devices around, and Microsoft smartly built this assistant into Windows too. Microsoft’s latest numbers suggest that Cortana has more than 141 million users, which is around a third of the 500 million Windows 10 users globally. This assistant can set time- and location-based reminders, manage missed calls on your phone, find an answer to a question you pose, even get the latest news. It now works on PCs and phones, but the biggest advantage could be the fact that more third-party apps are now plugging into Cortana—the likes of Netflix and Fitbit are already on board.
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