In the coming years, smartphone users all over the world are expected to make increasing use of virtual personal assistants (VPAs) such as Apple's Siri.
This is according to the latest data from IT research and advisory firm Gartner, which specified that by 2019, 20 per cent of all user interactions with smartphones will be made via such a feature.
The annual mobile apps survey conducted by Gartner, which was conducted over the last three months of 2016, quizzed 3,021 consumers across the UK, the US and China – and it was found that 42 per cent of respondents in the US and 32 per cent in the UK used VPAs on their smartphones in the last three months.
Over 37 per cent of these people across both the US and the UK added that they use a VPA at least one or more times per day.
Siri and Google Now are currently the most widely used VPAs on smartphones, with 54 per cent of US and UK respondents using Siri in the last three months and 41 per cent using Google Now.
Jessica Ekholm, research director at Gartner, explained that she expects this behaviour to become much more commonplace as the functionality of VPAs is extended.
“VPAs usage is bound to accelerate as they add many new features, including integration for business services, further language support and appear across more devices,” she remarked.
According to Gartner's forecasts, in 2019 VPAs will have changed the way users interact with devices and become more widely accepted as part of everyday life. VPAs are still limited to fulfilling comparatively simple tasks such as setting an alarm or performing web searches, but these systems could be able to deliver more complex tasks in the very near future.
Examples of this could include the likes of completing transactions based on past, present and predicted context.
Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner, said this is likely to be accelerated by the addition of smart technology to a more diverse range of machines.
“The role of interactions will intensify through the growing popularity of VPAs among smartphone users and conversations made with smart machines,” she commented.
“We expect AI, machine learning and VPAs to be one of the major strategic battlegrounds from 2017 onwards, and make many mobile apps fade and become subservants of VPAs.”