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Chatbots Vs Virtual Assistants: 6 Key DIFFERENCES

Last Updated on July 7, 2020 by TechStrain

Chatbots and Virtual assistants are quite different than each other although, they both perform a similar task. Chatbots are more conventional, rule-based frequently asked questions answer providers where virtual assistants are more intelligent and contextual, and able to respond to any queries most of the time, the prime difference in chatbots vs virtual assistants.

The common characteristics between chatbots vs virtual assistants are that both of them, use Natural Language Processing to understand the typed in queries, but virtual assistants are integrated with Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning which enables it to learn from experience. The integration of AI and ML makes virtual assistants more users friendly and they develop over time as they learn from their experiences.

Chatbots vs virtual assistants: Key Differences 

Parameters

Chatbots

Virtual Assitants

Communication Channel

Single

Multiple channels including Emails, SMS service

Adaptibility

Non-Adaptive

They can learn as Artificial Learning and Machine Learning are integrated

Understanding 

Limited

More advance and accurate understanding of queries

Response 

More like one way response FAQ type

More converstaional like human to human conversation and responsive

Context

Chatbots often failed to understand contextual queries when the flow of conversation is broken

Virtual Assistants can understand context and intent

Types

There is mainly 2types of chatbots 
1. Built in Messengers
2. Standalone Application

There are various types of Virtual Assitants depending on the need of Service

What is a chatbot?

If not most then some of us must have had a little experience in having a conversation with a chatbot. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, and more, has various bots that are a response to some of the most asked queries. When we ask a question, these bots respond with readymade answers. 

a hand holding phone and a chatbot

Chatbots are really helpful for most of the service providers, when someone needs to ask any relevant questions about the service, they could ask that to the chatbot of the service provider and it will provide the most relevant answer to the queries. 

Some use cases of chatbots are

  • Patient Engagement
  • Drug Information
  • Social Media Interaction
  • Help Desk
  • Enterprise Questions and Answers
  • Automatic Simple transaction
  • Customer Support

Chatbots are really helpful in some of these cases and certainly increase user engagement and brand awareness which holds pretty massive importance.

Examples of Chatbots

Some examples of chatbots are

  • eBay
  • Swelly
  • Kia
  • Duolingo 
  • Bud Light, etc.

What is a virtual assistant?

 We are using virtual assistants in our daily life, most on our smartphones. Who does not use the automated features of Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa on our Smartphone or Smart home for various tasks huh? 

For me personally, I love to open up Google Assistant on my phone and tell it to set my alarm clock without doing anything except for giving commands. Not just setting up an alarm clock, there are various other features of these intelligent virtual assistants, from checking up on the weather to scheduling an appointment.

There is a little confusion about chatbots and virtual assistants, as people often ask

Is Siri a chatbot?

No, Siri is not a chatbot. Siri is more of a conversational agent. You can have a complete conversation with Siri and it will not get lost and lose context in the middle of the conversation.

Siri is intelligent as AI and ML are integrated into its system and most importantly, Siri is learning and getting better over time using the Machine Learning features. What makes Siri different than a normal chatbot is its adaptive feature; it can catch up with our queries and can understand the context of our search intention.

Siri does not solely rely on its premade answers, it evaluates and analyzes the various source and provide us the best possible answer, thanks to one of the greatest revolution of Artificial Intelligence.

Same goes for Google Assistant and Alexa as people also ask

Is Google Assistant a chatbot?

The same answer goes for this question too. No, and the explanation is mentioned above. 

Some of the FAMOUS Virtual Assistants or Personal Intelligent Assistants are

Virtual Assitants

Developer

Google Assistant

Google

Siri

Apple

Cortana

Microsoft

Alexa

Amazon

Bixby

Samsung

AliGenie

Alibaba

Alice 

Yandex

Celia

Huawei

Chatbots vs virtual assistants: Why do we need them?

Chatbots are taking customer support on a whole new different level as you can literally access them at any time of the day, which is really important for customer service convenience.

The main difference of chatbots and virtual assistants would in the types of service they are offering. For a more personalized communicative service, virtual assistants are obviously the best choice due to the features they are offering. Giant companies are developing a personalized virtual assistant more and more.

But when it comes to normal queries related to the company and its services, chatbots are a big help in this case. For example, when you need specific drug information a chatbot could easily fulfill the user’s requirements and other services like these chatbots are a suitable solution.

Virtual Assistants are intelligent and get better over time and a good source of company and conversation as anyone can have almost a normal human to the human type of conversation with a virtual assistant. 

As they offer a lot of features, the use of virtual assistants is increasing at a rapid rate in the business section.

Conclusion

Chatbots and virtual assistants apart from their differences, they both are really useful in our everyday life.

Especially, chatbots in healthcare is a big deal and huge beneficial as symptoms checker, medicine reminder, drug recommendation, and many other facilities are being provided by healthcare chatbots. And virtual assistants are also beneficial for our day to day queries 

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