Virtual assistant industry update – Era of Intelligent virtual assistant (IVA)


Ennovation consulting has taken an initiative to update our visitors with the latest happenings in Virtual assistant industry. Many market level forces affect the dynamics of Virtual assistant industry. I like to cover some facts/trends on a regular basis. Hope this will helps all stakeholders in this industry.

Virtual assistant industry update #1 : Intelligent virtual assistant (IVA)  vs. online virtual assistant (OVA)

There are two types of virtual assistant professionals, and their roles are often used in different contexts. But their job titles sound similar. Hence this often confuses online users cum small business owners who looking for information on  virtual assistant services. Here are the two set of virtual assistants representing two industry:

 a)  Online Virtual assistant industry (OVA): This industry consists of self employed (freelancers, independent consultants) professionals providing administrative services to their clients over the internet. Earlier people thought that only individual or independent self employed people represent this industry. But along with time, many online startup stepped into this industry. You can find many reputed virtual assistant companies from India, US, Philippines etc.

b) Intelligent virtual assistant industry (IVA): Don’t assume they are just the extension of earlier one and consist of only intelligent virtual assistant professionals. Rather it’s a parallel industry proving host of services to online business owners using high tech based software agents acting as Virtual assistant. Manor players in this industry are software vendors developing  “intelligent personal assistant (or simply IPA)” . IPA is a software agent that performs various tasks for individuals.

Intelligent IVA can perform various tasks include

  • Reminding a dinner date
  • Provide update schedules for both parties,
  • Manage restaurant reservation time
  • Record various personal health records t (e.g., monitoring caloric intake, heart rate and exercise regimen).

What device do you need to manage Intelligent virtual assistant?

You can manage intelligent personal assistant by using combination of mobile devices, mobile apps, and application programming interfaces.

Recent trend #1 : “2016 the Year of the Virtual Assistant?” as claimed by many technology blogs.

lately, rapid advancements are  happened in Intelligent Virtual assistant industry. Following factors lead to the phenomenal growth

  1. Improvement in voice recognition technology – hence new IPA can understand complex questions and commands.
  2. More focus to develop virtual assistant agents based on simulation of large real-time data. A reputed software startup advisor Steve Ardire working on VA agent software ‟In order to get these software programmes to work properly, you have to train them up by using large quantities of data.”
  3. Drew Austin a machine learning expert and co-founder and CEO of Wade & Wendy believes that future virtual assistant will be developed based on mega data in order to be able to work as a multi-tasking personal assistant on all your daily tasks.

Hence, above developments can lead to develop more efficient and intelligent virtual assistant in future.But, can they replace conventional virtual assistant industry?

Can I Intelligent Virtual assistant be a threat to online virtual assistant?

In my opinion, an intelligent virtual assistant can’t replace conventional online virtual assistant in near future. Even with the much improvement in technology, an IVA can do the following

a)      Data entry

b)      Scheduling

c)      Time keeping

d)     Hotel and travel booking

I feel automated virtual assistant can perform these tasks on regular basic .

But as an online entrepreneur, where you can use IVA or OVA?

# Case analysis – when to use Intelligent Virtual assistant vs. online virtual assistant

Case A: Basic tasks

Mr. Johnson is a busy entrepreneur; he needs support for managing some basic business task. If the tasks are rudimentary in nature, it’s advisable to use intelligent virtual assistant. The tasks could be

a)      Check weather for you to plan

b)      Advise you to select best route to reach office

c)      Restaurant list as per your criteria and book the table

d)     Check your social media activities

e)      Help you to select gifts for your friend birthday etc

Case B: Advanced tasks

But Mr. Johnson wants to appoint a virtual assistant who can assist him in business activities, then he needs to look for personal online virtual assistant.

Personal online virtual assistant can serve many advance services over the internet such as

a)     Lead generation supports – Mr. Johnson wants a list of 100 drop shipping companies from China to source some products for his online store. He appointed a virtual assistant from India who can provid him a list of top drop shipping companies in a day. It’s impacts his business in saving time to a get list of vendors.

b) Blog Writing: Reputed chiropractor from Australia recently opened a website; she was so busy that she does not have time to write articles on her won. She hired a blog content writers from USA to source 2 articles per week.  Here she saves writing time by appointing a virtual assistant for blog writing.

c)  Social media marketing: Competent virtual assistant can search relevant quotes, video, scholarly journals articles and post these on your business fan-page on a regular basis. Here VA helps her in building online reputation and customer engagement.

d) Market research – Mr. Smith, plan to start a new online training company to provide career paning and motivation training to local people . Before setting up shops, we wants to check competition for this service. He hired a virtual assiaitnt who has deep expertise in market research. A competent virtual assistant with extensive market research experience can share develop a fact based report for your decision making and business planning.  An IVA can never match this skill.

Hence, based on the nature of work, you can select either IVA or OVA.

Tips for small business owners

Big question is: can intelligent virtual assistant (IPA) replace online virtual assistant in future? I feel along with rapid progress in technology, in near future small business owners can use IPA for carrying out rudimentary jobs. But for managing niche jobs as mentioned above, business owners need seek help of professional virtual assistant.

Quick tips for selecting virtual assistant 

# Check whether the nature of jobs can be handled  by intelligent virtual assistant. If yes, you can avail  IVA services.

# Check suitable IVA software agents, consult reviews of IVAs on a reputed review websites.

# You can check whether same jobs can be handled by online VA with great care.

# For niche and customized jobs , it’s better to appoint professional virtual assistant.


In the end, objective should be save money and time while ensuring quality. Virtual assistant (IVA or OVA) can be a great resource for small business owners or busy professional, if they could be utilized in right content. Please let me know your view. For any support for virtual assistant  services, you can contact Ennovation team.


List of Intelligent virtual assistant:

Tech blog resources:


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