Finally, after decades of watching characters on science fiction movies and television programs tell computers what to do, we have voice-recognition technology. Devices like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod allow users to command them to perform a variety of functions, simply by telling them what to do.
It’s game-changing technology, but it’s young.
What we’ve learned
Through the process of developing voice applications, we learned firsthand some of the key challenges related to voice operation:
- It’s new technology: the immaturity of the technology and its ability to recognize certain vocal commands. Human speech patterns have nearly endless variation, certainly between different countries and languages, as well as different cities and regions
- Determining intent: When you interact with a software application on a desktop or a touchscreen, intent is simple. You indicate you want the software to perform a function by clicking a button or a link. With voice, it’s not easy to figure out what the user wants, because people can say the same thing different ways
- Speed: The amount of time it takes to proceed through multiple layers to confirm intent is an obvious detriment to the speed at which a computer can perform a function. What takes almost no time at all with a screen interface can take five, ten, even 20 seconds or more to complete with a voice assistant
Clearly, voice technology has a ways to go. But that doesn’t mean companies you should ignore it. Instead, start to learn now what potential it has for you. If you’re interested in learning more about how you might integrate voice technology into your business today, please contact us.
Did you know?
There will be an estimated 21.4 million smart speakers in the US by 2020 (Activate)
One-in-six Americans (16%) own a voice activated smart-speaker (Edison Research & NPR)
Make the experience great
Once you know you can add value with voice, be sure that the experience you provide is great. Keep the experience simple by focusing on a specific area or function, then make that function work really well, even if it’s just a small part of an overall experience.
How can you avoid disruption? Ask your customers
When companies choose to apply a mindset of innovation, grounded in an understanding of their core business and their customers’ needs, they can withstand disruption in their industries, thrive on it, or even lead it.
Read more about how voice technology can help your business withstand disruption.
How to use voice now?
With technology giants like Amazon, Google and Apple investing so much into voice, it seems clear that’s where the future lies. It has a long way to go before it has the versatility and utility that screen-based interfaces do, but that doesn’t mean companies can’t and shouldn’t begin exploring the possibilities of voice now.
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