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How to unleash the personal assistant value of AI

by FESPA Staff | 22/02/2024
How to unleash the personal assistant value of AI

AI assistants have evolved in a short time. We take a look at how they're impacting print businesses and how they can help you.

When you run your own business, efficiency and productivity are absolutely vital. Time is money, after all. As a printer, you may not have the finances or the capacity to take on a real-life PA, but you may need some help. To meet these needs, intelligent personal assistants have emerged as really useful tools for professionals and small businesses. Let’s take a look at how they can help you, and why you might want to consider getting an AI assistant.

Scheduling meetings, health monitoring and calendar management: the daily grind of a small business often involves juggling numerous tasks, and this is where AI personal assistants come into their own. They can take on jobs that might be basic but are also time consuming, freeing you up to do what you really want and need to do. Alerts, rearranging meetings, dealing with simple customer enquiries – there’s a lot that virtual assistants can do to make your life easier.

The best digital aids have truly changed and evolved in recent years, and they continue to make astonishing progress. It may be that some of them do lots of things you don’t need, but the sheer range of AI assistants available means there’s very probably one out there for you. Forgetful? Choose one that prompts you with timely reminders. Don’t enjoy writing up meeting notes? Get a transcription app that does it for you. 

Digital assistants contribute to organising your workflow, without the need for clunky desktop software

Health monitoring has also become an integral part of personal wellbeing, even in a professional setting. Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, for instance, integrates health tracking features, enabling users to inquire about their daily activity, receive fitness reminders and track progress. This can help with the growing emphasis on employee wellbeing in the workplace, helping you and your team during even the busiest times.

Calendar management is another area where AI personal assistants play a crucial role. Whether it’s setting reminders, syncing calendars across devices or organising events, these digital assistants contribute to organising your workflow, without the need for clunky desktop software. This is particularly useful for small businesses operating with limited resources.

Our pick of personal assistants

Otter: When it comes to transcription, Otter stands out from the pack. Its accurate transformation of spoken words into written text is incredibly useful when it comes to interviews, documenting meetings and capturing phone calls. While the transcription is rarely 100% accurate – it can be affected by such things as the speed you talk, the clarity of the call – it’s still excellent, and much more time effective than transcribing by hand. Got a Zoom chat lined up? Otter can record and transcribe every word for you. 

Siri: One of the best-known AI assistants, anyone who has an iPhone or iPad will probably be familiar with Siri, even if you don’t use it. While it’s not the most richly featured piece of tech, it can come in very handy if you’re plugged into Apple’s ecosystem. It can quickly answer questions, make calls for you without you having to scroll through contacts and help to manage your calendar. Add in the ability to translate, make currency conversions and its interaction with other apps, Siri can punch above its weight, while remaining easy to use.

Cortana: If you prefer Windows to Apple, think of Cortana as the Siri for you. It does many of the same things, from managing your calendars to logging reminders and answering your questions. You can also control Alexa smart devices with it. 

Fireflies: Sitting in a meeting that could have been a phone call or an email isn’t much fun. Fireflies works as a meeting assistant that means you no longer have to take notes or minutes – it records the meeting for you, then transcribes it. You can skip to the bits you really want to take note of, a time-saving feature that has helped make Fireflies very popular.

Murf: This AI tool is a voice generator, helpful in building AI assistants and converting text to speech. It’s feature-rich, meaning you can use it to make videos and presentations, giving your work a studio-quality voiceover from a varied and deep range of AI voices. It can really enhance your advertising too, as you can use voiceover to make custom videos without the need to hire a professional.

The future of AI assistants

While it’s good to have these assistants at your fingertips, you might also want to learn the basics of using them in a way that’s seamless and integrates with other things you’re doing. APIs – application programming interfaces – might sound technical but are common interfaces that allow apps to talk to each other. If you’ve Facebook or Instagram on your phone, they use APIs. Much of the work in getting these apps to communicate and share relevant information is done by software developers, but if you’re more technically minded, it’s something you can play around in too. ChatGPT has launched the Assistants API, which lets you build an AI assistant into one of your applications. Integrating an API into an application might seem daunting, but many platforms provide comprehensive documentation and support.

As technology continues to advance, AI virtual assistants will become even more useful to printers and print companies. The current variety of personal assistants will add more features, and integration between apps will increase, but you can use many of them right now to boost your productivity and streamline operations.

Looking towards the future, the evolution of AI virtual assistants may offer even more sophisticated features, transforming the way small businesses operate. The possibilities are vast, and businesses that embrace these tools could gain a significant competitive edge. More advanced capabilities such as voice-based interactions, cognitive abilities and even detecting emotions creates many possibilities. From filtering through applications and conducting interviews to addressing mental health concerns and training new hires, the future of AI personal assistants could be truly revolutionary for you. The question is not whether these capabilities will become a reality, but rather how soon businesses will integrate them into their day-to-day operations. 

by FESPA Staff Back to News

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