A retail store gets new products in often. Weekly or monthly, a shipment comes in with new products to fill your customers’ needs and make their lives just a little bit better. New products also help retailers stand out from the competition, by giving them the ability to say that they have what the others don’t.
Technology companies like Facebook and Google have a similar system. Instead of getting new products in each week, they are constantly aiming to come out with new technology to keep users engaged and solve their problems. In the tech world, competition is great. For users, that is. It ensures that companies work to make customers happy and has given us some of the most popular and useful tools out there, like Facebook pages and Gmail.
In 2010, Apple acquired the rights to an app called Siri. By the time Apple released its iPhone 6, Siri was completely integrated into the iOS platform as a digital personal assistant, able to manage users’ schedules, help them research restaurants and directions on the go, and access apps and contacts with voice control.
Google followed in Apple’s footsteps in 2012 with the release of “Google Now,” an intelligent personal assistant available on Google’s Nexus phones. Google Now allows users to post to Google + using only voice and brings important local information up with the press of a button.
Last year, Microsoft released Cortana, which is now available to all Windows Phone users in the US, UK, and China.
It was only a matter of time before Facebook threw their hat into the race, and with the recent release of Facebook M, they’ve hit the ground running. Similar to other digital assistants, M runs on artificial intelligence. But where it differs is that it is also run by actual human beings. That means that M will go beyond just adding meetings to your calendar and telling you the local weather. It will be able to purchase things you need and make travel plans, down to actual bookings.
See? We told you competition in tech was great.
And Facebook hasn’t forgotten the small business owners that rely on them for communication with customers. Facebook has also rolled out some business-specific perks, including the ability to send receipts to customers, notify them of shipments, and keep in touch like never before.
Here are a few more ideas on how you could use M for your business:
- Keep track of local events to add to your marketing calendar
- Ask M to chat with your internet provider while you continue your work
- Put in a catering order for an in-store event
- Deliver shipping materials when you run out and can’t fulfill orders
- Send a birthday gift to your niece when you’re stuck at the office all week and can’t shop
The best part of Facebook’s news is that this feature will only grow and improve, and push other technology companies to grow and expand their digital assistant programs. Someday, you may be able to sell products directly through Facebook or ask Siri to design you a new logo.
But for now, enjoy the perks that come with Facebook M!
Learn more about M here.