The global intelligent virtual assistant market size was valued at USD 572.2 million in 2014. Intelligent virtual assistants are gaining popularity with increasing number of users finding convenience associated with their usage as compared to traditional channels. Emergence of several new technologies has fostered market growth considerably over the last few years, a trend which is anticipated to continue over the foreseeable future. Commercial applications may gain more impetus as the technology matures. Development and vendor initiatives to provide innovation across this sector and growing adoption in consumer applications, for example Google Now, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana may further drive growth.
The technology has successfully transformed customer interactions and mobility solutions. Further, as natural language interaction algorithms mature, the effectiveness will increase substantially. The forecast period is expected to witness emergence of smart machines with advent of contextually aware personal assistants.
The technology offers several benefits including quick self-service options, enhanced user-experience along with improvements in overall productivity. In addition, it improves interactions on smartphones as well as traditional online web-portals with advances in language-based speech recognition and analytics. Personalized engagement that exhibits the capability of indentifying a person talking provides avenues for intelligent virtual assistant market growth.
North America intelligent virtual assistant market by end-use, 2012 - 2020 (USD Million)
Potential use-cases exist across the insurance, healthcare, finance, travel & hospitality, retail and utility sector. Large enterprises accounted for over 80% of the revenue in 2013, as CIOs seek productivity improvements with the elimination of human workforce. Digital workforce is estimated to replace a significant percentage of workers in business operations. Customer self-service is anticipated to emerge as an active area for technological innovation with the development of automated e-mail response systems, speech recognition, etc.
The technology has experienced a warm reception, with added leeway given to their style and physical appearance. Small and medium enterprises (SME) are also seen adopting intelligent virtual agent to drive business growth. The segment accounted for over 15% of the overall revenue share in 2013.
Consumer appetite for online virtual assistants is experiencing rapid growth, which may be attributed to rise of e-commerce sector as it helps to engage users for considerable period, and thereby drive business. The technology takes on multiple roles on a website owing to which it is preferred by several e-commerce start-ups. A company’s website acts a huge asset in sales process, wherein simplifying customer issue resolution process positively impacts the brand image. IVA addition to a customer service toolbox significantly fuels business growth as it can serve several customers at once, work 24/7 as well as across any channel and navigate users to the intended content on the website.
They have an impressive ability to recognize user intent with high precision with more than 90% accuracy. Enterprise having installed this technology realize significant cost savings, satisfied customers and increased conversions. However, lack of awareness among users may inhibit market growth to a certain extent over the forecast period.
Being a pioneer of several technological innovations as well presence of key industry players, North America accounted for over 40% of the overall revenue generated in 2013. Asia Pacific intelligent virtual assistant also captured sizeable share in 2013, and accounted for over 15% of the overall revenue. Growing trends towards mobility along with smartphone proliferation is estimated to act as key driver. However, lack of a common language or native language may hinder rapid deployment.
Industry players focus on enabling machines to use conversation to understand the end-user intent, which helps transform interactions with a computer. Several key software providers have realized the significance of this technology. For instance, Apple Siri is a personal assistant that allows iPhone users to control their phone with simple verbal commands. Key participants operating in the intelligent virtual assistant industry include IntelliResponse, Anboto Group, Nuance Communications, Creative Virtual Ltd and Next IT Corporation. Companies are focusing on developing conversational technology that helps create customer service strategies providing personalized services without increasing staff.
Several companies are entering this space through provision of virtual chat, usually seen on an e-commerce website to help customers. A few other companies focus on providing virtual assistant for mobile apps on smartphones approach.