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Siri Who? Other Top Tech Virtual Assistants

by Chicago Agent

These can’t manage your social media platforms, but if you’re looking for someone to manage your agenda and help you find files online, try one of these virtual assistants:

Denise: Almost a year before Siri arrived on the tech scene, Denise was introduced to Windows users. Developed by Guile 3D Studio in 2010, Denise interacts with the user through a real-time graphical interface; she can show facial expressions, emotional animations and accurate lip syncing for text to speech. She controls the user’s agenda, checks appointments, alerts the user when a new meeting is approaching, sends emails or reads incoming emails aloud, and displays and reads the latest news. Twitter and Skype integration is also available. She can also perform tasks not necessarily related to work, including opening applications, playing songs or burning CDs, text translation, searching the Internet for information and sending pictures to the Internet. Guile 3D Studio also has closed a deal with the Dutch company Virtask to offer its technology for the European market; Virtask will be using a second generation of Guile´s 3D Avatar called Ann (pictured).

In addition, Denise is very keen on security features, and face recognition technology allows her to identify the computer owner, and not reveal content to anyone else. When it comes to helpfulness, Guile 3D Studio offers three versions of this software ranging from $100 to $820.

EVI: EVI is a virtual personal assistant who is a bit more affordable than Denise. Available on iTunes and for Android users, Apple users can purchase EVI for $1 and Android device owners will get it for free.

The developers, True Knowledge Ltd., advertise EVI as “your new digital friend who is here to help you with your everyday information needs.” EVI also uses voice recognition technology, and can provide answers (thanks to fast web searching) to little questions such as the weather forecast, the time of a TV program, the location of restaurants or finding an address. She also cross-checks information with a huge database and can provide complex answers – some analysts say EVI analyzes web information and hunts for the most accurate answer to an even higher degree than the iPhone’s famed Siri. EVI also has a better understanding of the natural voice, and can understand even the most challenging English accents. However, a detriment EVI herself informs the users of is that she cannot access information inside the user’s phone and cannot manage a schedule and check/send emails.

Vlingo: Vlingo has the widest availability for the mobile platforms; it is available for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows users. Vlingo comes with voice recognition technology and offers the expected functions of the average digital assistant: sending messages as texts or email to  people with personal information stored in the phone, setting up appointments and activating alarms. But considering more and more drivers are looking for alternative ways to have some work done while they are driving, Vlingo is a safe solution; it takes dictations and transforms voice into text. In addition, Vlingo can help the user find directions to the desired destination and find businesses, including restaurants or movie theaters, according to his or her interests. Vlingo also performs simple web searches that answer vocal queries.

Vlingo also recently announced a new feature that could soon push the virtual assistant ahead of its competition: “Vlingo for Smarter TV”. Everyone present at the Consumer Electronics Show could see how the serious work oriented virtual assistant could take its capabilities to the living room and control the TV. According to reports, in the future, Vlingo will help users control TV using just voice, by finding channels and programs, recording favorite shows and even making suggestions based on user preferences.

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