2017-12-05 00:00:00TechnologyEnglishFind out how your small business can use artificial intelligence and smart assistants to save time, reduce costs and streamline your...https://quickbooks.intuit.com/ca/resources/ca_qrc/uploads/2017/12/Small-business-owner-uses-smart-assistant-technology-while-driving.jpgCan a Smart Assistant Help Your Small Business?

Can a Smart Assistant Help Your Small Business?

2 min read

In the past few years, the practical applications of artificial intelligence have gone from sci-fi to modern-day reality. Smart assistants such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home are growing in popularity. Imagine ways your small business can put these clever machines to work.

Using Smart Assistance Is Smart

Over the years, computers and computer software have grown smarter and more efficient, which turns into cost savings for your business. Artificial intelligence is the next step on this technological ladder, and it promises to be a game-changer within the next 10 years.

Basically, machines are getting better at learning on their own, and they are already taking over some tasks that used to require human effort. Since keeping operating costs as low as possible is always a small business priority, you may find that investing in machines that can learn aspects of your operations is smart for your budget.

Getting Started

AI smart assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are in the early stages of development, but that’s okay. Their simplicity makes them easy and fun to use, and you can start learning how to train them to respond to your needs. You can also test their capabilities to see how far you can utilize this advanced technology in your day-to-day operations. They can assist you by answering probing questions, help conduct research for reports, give directions to meetings, order a ride when you need it, and play music for stimulation or relaxation.

Jumping on the AI bandwagon now is also a smart idea because you can get ahead of your competition. As far as which smart assistant to go with, that’s a decision to make after checking out each one’s pros and cons. If you’re trying to decide between Amazon Echo and Google Home, reading reviews can be helpful. If you prefer a no-frills machine that syncs with Chromecast, Google Home may be a good fit. If you love the idea of numerous skills apps, then Echo may win your vote.

AI Virtual Assistant

Until recently, using a virtual assistant meant hiring a human independent contractor to assist you with tasks you need done without hiring on-site staff. With the help of smart assistants, you may be able to reduce or eliminate the need for a human VA. These machines are capable of answering questions, and they are already being used as company chatbots, providing various customer service help in real time. Although chatbots cannot completely replace the personalized assistance that a real human provides, you can still think of ways to employ a smart assistant to answer basic customer questions.

Manual Task Automation

Whatever type of business you engage in, there’s bound to be some tedious manual task involved. Depending on the size of your company, you may be doing these tasks yourself, assigning them to a trusted employee or outsourcing them. Imagine how much time and money you’d save by automating manual labour using a smart assistant. AI robots already work in factories, and on a smaller scale, some smart machines can automate home appliances and lights.

Proven smart machines can do the work of legal assistants and write summary reports. Another plus for your bottom line is that smart assistants work around the clock, and they don’t take sick days or require overtime pay. Consider what manual tasks you may be able to automate using AI.

Smart assistants are machines that are capable of learning and may one day be a major part of your business operations. Learning how to use this technology now can lead to endless possibilities for your company’s future success.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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