Updated: Feb 17
With the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft enters the digital virtual assistance field with Cortana, the helper that turns a PC desktop into a voice-activated knowledge and organisation tool. Many of the daily business and personal tasks needed to stay on track can now be handled by typing out a few questions or statements or using a microphone to speak directly to the computer. Although Cortana is convenient, it lacks many of the features that lead business people to hire a human virtual assistant to work for them. What Can Cortana Do For a Professional Business Person? When someone speaks into the microphone while using the Cortana application, they can access any file on the computer quickly and find out things like the weather forecast, tracking information for shipments, what the next item is on their to-do list, if there's traffic on route to the office and a particular contact's email address and phone number. These organisation helpers remove the time-consuming little tasks that occur throughout the day and get in the way of forward momentum. Cortana makes it easy to get information about some things while you're occupied with something else. What Tasks Require Human Virtual Assistant Help? Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant has limited help possibilities that only function while it's turned on in the Windows computer. It also requires being trained over time in not just recognising voice commands, but also based on most common uses and practices. Cortana cannot create, market, contact or organise on its own. Hiring a live virtual assistant allows a company owner to cross some tasks off their calendar completely. If the VA has the appropriate skills for the job, they can handle things the owner doesn't have any idea how to accomplish. For instance, some do design work and will build a custom website, social media page graphics, professional logos, ebook covers and letterhead. Others are excellent writers and can tackle website content, blog posts, newsletter texts and marketing materials to increase conversions and sales. Even if the virtual assistant just handles things such as booking travel plans, organising information or handling customer emails, the company owner or employees no longer have to take time away from other jobs to do this. Combining the convenience of a computer-based application like Cortana with the personal expertise of a human virtual assistant makes sense for companies that have limited time and funds to hire new employees, but a burning desire to grow and increase profits. Instead of handling a calendar, emails and being informed about weather and traffic patterns - all helpful tasks in their own right - a company also needs the type of assistance that only a human can provide. While Microsoft's new Cortana virtual assistant provides some user-friendly organisation on Windows machines, it falls short of tackling all necessary tasks a business person must keep in mind every single day. In order to successfully grow, market and profit from any type of company, the skills a human virtual assistant provides do more to reach those end goals than any application within today's technology.
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