Phone as a Virtual Assistant

Your Phone as a Virtual Assistant

Phone as a Virtual Assistant

Your phone can be a great VA

The term virtual assistant has taken on a whole new meaning today. It is no longer a person that sits at a desk near you at work or someone you hire for personal needs. Virtual assistants come attached to your mobile device. The most popular example is Siri, which is Apple’s virtual assistant. Using it is easy, and using your phone as a virtual assistant can help you get information and do tasks in a much shorter amount of time.

How you use a virtual assistant depends on your mobile device. If Apple made your device, you’ll have ‘Siri’, for example. Android devices and Amazon devices have their own assistants. To use the assistant is as simple as pushing the home button on the Apple device, for example. Doing this prompts Siri to ask how she can help you. From there you can ask a myriad of things. For other devices you might be able to just say a prompt like, ‘Hey Alexa’, or ‘Ok Google’ to get started. All the virtual assistants allow you to do some of the same amazing things.

What using your phone as a virtual assistant can do for you

You can ask your phone to perform many useful tasks, including:

  • Call a phone number, either by saying the digits, the name of a contact in your phone book, or even by relationship – e.g. ‘call my wife’
  • Send a text message
  • Ask what the weather is in a certain location and get forecasts for pretty much anywhere in the world
  • Launch an application
  • Set up an appointment or reminder in your calendar
  • Search the internet to get an answer to a question
  • Help you find a nearby store, restaurant, gas station, etc.
  • Send a tweet or Facebook post
  • See what movies are playing near you or on a specific location
  • Set an alarm to wake you up
  • Play a track or playlist from your music library
  • Get live sports results
  • You also ask the virtual assistant which tasks it can perform to get a list of them

Virtual assistants do so much to help make our lives easier. From helping you get the score of the game you are missing, to helping you find that place to eat and get there, smartphone virtual assistants are worth getting to know. There are also some phone dictation tips which are worth knowing.

Phone Notifications

Phone Notifications

Phone Notifications

Phone Notification Settings

You have probably heard someone at some point utter the phrase, “How did I ever survive before my smartphone.” Those people are probably like me – a little older. Having had the experience of life without a smartphone makes me appreciate phone notifications so much.

Phone notifications push the information you choose directly to your mobile without you having to do anything to instigate the process. These notifications can take the form of a red number on an application badge, a pop up, or in a notification menu you can check without opening the phone. Setting up notifications is generally an easy process and can be done in several ways.

When you initially install an application on your phone or tablet, it will probably ask you if you want to allow notifications. If you say yes, it will automatically send them. There is usually a setting in the system menu on the phone where you can control which apps show phone notifications, how, and for what information. In the application, there might also be a notification option where you can set up what you want to know about and when or how often. For example, sports scores for particular teams are popular notifications for sports apps.

Regardless of how you set them up, and in which applications, they will give you information tailored to you as it occurs. Be careful however, because if you set up too many notifications, you may be overloaded with information you don’t really want. Also, it’s a good idea to choose whether each of your phone notifications is accompanied by an audible warning – too many of these can drive you mad! I personally use notifications for weather, news and fitness apps. For the rest, I go into the app itself to see what I want to find out.

Phone Dictation

Phone Dictation

Phone Dictation

Voice recognition is pretty accurate these days

Voice recognition has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, and used properly phone dictation can now provide very high levels of accuracy. Nowadays, you can dictate what you want to say in an email or document through your mobile device or computer without the need for expensive and complicated software. It not only saves you time, but also it is pretty accurate when used in a quiet environment.

Phone Dictation

On a mobile phone, using dictation is as simple as pressing a button that looks like a microphone in the keyboard. Once you do this, you will usually see a box come up with a line in it that moves up and down as you talk. This is the device recognizing and processing what you are saying. You should keep a few things in mind when using this technology:

  • Speak naturally as that will best capture what you are saying
  • You can add punctuation by saying the punctuation word. For example, you can say the word, “Question Mark” at the end of a sentence, and a question mark will appear. You can do this for periods, commas, and much more
  • No speech recognition software is perfect, so always double check what you dictated and fix any errors before finishing up
  • This tech can be used across many mobile apps such as text messages, emails, and document creation applications

Bottom line: Using text recognition is easier than ever to use, increasingly accurate, and best of all free! It will save you time, and when done properly, can work across multiple applications and platforms.

Phone Texting Options

Phone Texting Options

Phone Texting Options

Texting – many apps are available.

Texting is the new way to communicate in today’s world. According to PEW research, some 83% of American adults own cell phones and three-quarters of them (73%) send and receive text messages. However, once you send the text through mobile smartphones’ standard texting applications, you cannot undo or unsend the message. This implies that an impulsive text at the wrong moment can be disastrous.

Phone Texting Options

Thankfully, there are alternative messaging apps that offer more robust features. A simple search of the Android or Apple app stores will offer you many possibilities. And reading the reviews and features can help you decide which best matches your needs. These messaging applications all have different feature sets, but can offer very useful features, such as:

  • Allowing you to undo sent messages, so they don’t show on the other person’s phone
  • Asking you if you are sure you want to send the message with a popup before you send it – most of us have accidentally hit ‘Send’ at some point, sometimes with disastrous results!
  • Allowing you to schedule messages to be sent at specific times

Most people will have heard of Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and Viber, but there are many other alternatives. For example, take a look at Telegram, ChompSMS, Hoverchat and Go SMS Pro. In short, you do not have to feel pigeonholed by your smartphone’s native texting application. You can find other phone texting options in the appropriate app store which are free or inexpensive and that let you take more control of your text.

Phone Battery Life

Phone Battery Life Tips

Phone Battery Life

Avoid the Battery Blues

Smartphones are notorious for having a shorter than advertised phone battery life. The idea of getting through the day without the battery dying can be frustrating, especially if you use your phone for multiple tasks. Even though there are products out there that can extend your phone’s battery life – for example battery cases and portable chargers – there are simple tricks you can do on your phone to get as much life out of your battery as a possible.

Below are some examples to help improve your phone battery life

  • Turn your auto brightness setting on or turn the screen brightness down as low as you can with it still being usable
  • Turn off background app refresh
  • Turn off the GPS
  • Ensure your Bluetooth is off
  • Use your phone on mostly Wi-Fi
  • Turn 3G/4G off if you’re not using it

By doing these few things, you will stop your phone from using its battery to keep unnecessary resources in use. If you must have one or two apps refresh their information regularly or use GPS, you can adjust individual app settings accordingly. If you are like me, you probably have chargers in multiple locations: work, home, and in the car. However, if you follow these tips, you may not need those chargers as much.