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An intelligent virtual assistant is an engineered entity residing in software that interfaces with humans in a human way. This technology incorporates elements of interactive voice response and other modern artificial intelligence projects to deliver full-fledged “virtual identities” that converse with users.
Some of the most famous intelligent virtual assistants are Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, which are delivered with these companies’ operating systems and mobile platforms. However, not to be outdone, natural language company Nuance has also produced its own intelligent virtual assistant named Nina, which is being promoted as a customer service solution.
The main purpose of an intelligent virtual assistant is to answer questions that users may have. This may be done in a business environment, for example, on the business website, with a chat interface. On the mobile platform, as in the case of Apple's Siri the intelligent virtual assistant is available as a call-button operated service where a voice asks the user “What can I do for you?” and then responds to verbal input.
Beyond the core utilities of an intelligent virtual assistant, companies are now exploring how to enhance it further. One main element of this involves adding personality; for example, some suggest that, by "consolidating" various efforts, the IT community could build more highly advanced intelligent virtual assistants with more developed personalities and capabilities.
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