4 Personal Assistant Apps That Will Lighten Your Load — and What They Cost
A digital assistant, such as Siri from Apple, Alexa from Amazon and Cortana from Microsoft, can be invaluable for a busy person on the go. You can turn on your smart home technology, such as your light bulb or thermostat, from your Alexa app, for instance. Using artificial intelligence, your apps can tell you directions, give you a weather report, set your alarm, translate conversations, fill you in on the sports scores, tell you a joke, check you into a hotel, send a text message, make a call at your voice command or update your calendar.
The smarter the digital assistant, the more they can do for you. The longer they work with you, the more they’ll learn about you and be able to predict your needs and preferences. And they have become part of today’s businesses, being used for everything like putting new employees on the payroll and helping to funnel incoming calls through customer call centers.
But what happens when you’ve outgrown these apps, your needs being bigger and more targeted to your lifestyle or business? There are apps you can turn to when you need to find a new doctor or a summer camp for the kids or create presentations for tomorrow’s business meeting. The difference, though, is these apps aren’t run by artificial intelligence but rather by human assistants.
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Subscriptions to these apps allow you to summon help from a human. Depending on the plan you choose, you could be working with an assistant assigned just to you. Or, you might ask questions of someone unfamiliar but trained to follow through on your immediate need. It’s a growing class of personal assistance — but you will have to pay for this service. Unlike most digital assistant apps, which come with your device and are free to use, these virtual assistant apps could cost you hundreds of dollars each month, while others are a bit of a bargain. For some of the busiest people and businesses, the price is worth it. Read on to learn about four of the choices.
The newest entry into this category is Yohana, founded in Seattle by a mother of four with an impressive background in the tech industry. Yohana subscribers get a designated digital assistant — a human who helps busy parents to schedule appointments, find a plumber, arrange food, book a clown for a birthday party and more. Yohana’s website doesn’t list the price, but the Seattle Times reported in September that Yohana charges $149 per month for an unlimited service.
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Your Fancy Hands human assistant can handle the simpler stuff — buying a birthday gift or making an appointment — and also take care of the tougher stuff like finding flights to fit your busy schedule or negotiating a discount with the cable company. Pricing plans depend on your usage, as well as the length of time your request will take, but they start at $17.99 a month for three requests and go up to $149.99 for 30 monthly requests.
Magic provides services for both businesses and individuals, and its human assistants can be available 24/7. The assistants are college-educated remote workers trained in a variety of fields. Magic says it will improve “productivity, quality of life and the likelihood of success” for its clients. Prices start at $10 an hour and can cost as much as $2,000 a month for the highest level of service.
Wing caters to businesses looking to allow its core workers to take care of the most pressing matters, while Wing takes care of everything else. As an example, per the company website, the trained Wing assistant can complete tasks like moving all appointments to another day and also invoicing all clients seen in the past seven days. Wing says on its website that its virtual assistant service costs businesses 85% less than it would pay an employee. Pricing starts at $499 per month and goes up to $1,499.
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