Intelligent Personal Assistants Fact Sheet – TAP03

Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPA)

What is an IPA?

Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPA), such as Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant, or Apple Siri allow people to search for various subjects, schedule a meeting, or to make a call from their car or house hands-free, no longer needing to hold any mobile devices.

How can an IPA help me to live more independently?

IPA’s enable people to use their smartphone or device by voice command, which is helpful for those with limited mobility and or manual dexterity.

Some IPAs provide services such as calendar and meeting reminders and health monitoring and alerts via special applications. They can be useful for people with disabilities by enabling them to operate a smart home , e.g., to regulate lights or temperature or play music and use the TV, or by using them for operating mobile devices and thus avoid spelling and typing problems.


What IPA’s are there?

All Apple iOS devices come installed with Siri – Apple’s own virtual assistant. Siri is an easy way to make calls, send texts, use apps and get things done with just your voice. It uses voice queries, gesture based control, focus-tracking and a natural-language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Internet services. With continued use, it adapts to users’ individual language usages, searches, and preferences, returning individualised results.

Alexa is a virtual assistant developed by Amazon that can perform many tasks with simple voice commands. Alexa can play music, provide information, deliver news and sports scores, tell you the weather, set alarms, reminders, and timers, control smart home devices, and order products from Amazon. Alexa also understands plain English and other languages and dialects, and can research online for knowledge-based questions. Alexa is available on Echo speakers, smart thermostats, soundbars, lamps, lights, and the Alexa app.

Google Assistant comes automatically installed on all Android phones and devices. It is an easy way to use your phone and apps, hands-free It can help you set reminders and alarms, manage your schedule, look up answers, navigate and control smart home devices while away from home, and much more.

Used mainly for work related actions, Cortana is a Microsoft feature that comes packaged with Windows 10. You can chat with Cortana to quickly find information and stay on track. Connect with people, check your schedule, find a free hour, join a meeting, make a call, send a message, share a file, set a reminder and add a task. You can isten to what’s new in your inbox and respond all by voice command.

How to disable Cortana:

What if I can’t afford to buy a IPA device?

Technology can be very expensive, and added to the rising cost of living it may be difficult for people to be able to afford to purchase the above devices. However, for those living with mobility issues, learning disabilities, sensory impairments of mental health conditions, there are several grants that people can apply for in order to purchase equipment/technology to enable them to live more independently.


For more information or for support with applying for a grant please contact:

07377 170 210 |

07814 205 741 |

Download the fact sheet

Created by: Tech Assistance Project (TAP)

Funded by:

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