MSN Canada: Get ready for a wave of virtual helpers


(August 29/2012) MONTREAL - Virtual assistants are never in a bad mood. And they can repeat basic information over and over and over without changing the message, unlike employees who can be unpredictable at times.

These digital helpers are now starting to be found on websites for governments, hospitals and companies, and as hologram-like avatars at some major airports.

Patrick Bienvenu, whose Florida company recently created avatars for John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports in New York and New Jersey'sNewark Liberty International, said they can tell travellers what terminal they're in or where to find a rental car.

"That's allowing people to do what they do best and that's the interactive and having the human touch," said Bienvenu, chief operations officer of Airus Media Inc. in Tampa.

The idea isn't to replace or take away jobs, he said 

"Let the avatar give out the basic, routine information."

Sometimes human employees can have an off-day or deviate from the information they've been given and Bienvenu said virtual assistants avoid that.

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