Voice solutions has been around for nearly 30 years. Here is where I believe the voice solutions are headed.
Voice interfaces initially started as an improved interface for call centers and self service products, over IVR and telephony systems (“say your ID number”). These technologies have improved over the years and have became a stable and pretty standard solution in that segment. Another segment included on-board hardware products, and later on the in – car interactive systems. All were mostly an off line solution, handling the challenge of user interface in a very limited spectrum and functionality. Later, a consumer oriented solutions, using basic speech to text capabilities emerged (see the interesting timeline here)
Then the VPAs (Virtual Personal Assistant) came. Started with SIRI 5 years ago (see this youtube video) – a whole new world of possibilities started for – MAINLY – the smartphone vendors, offering a slightly different, yet still very clumsy way to perform limited action or command based, within the phone itself. As clearly described here, VPA's today, and to some extent smart speakers (see below), are manufactured by companies with access to our personal data, putting (some of) our context - used during the process.
Recently, we are witnessing a huge growth in every aspects of the voice enabled solutions arena. In addition to the IVR based solutions, we start to see more designated VPAs – per domain or specific topic, see this product hunt list. While each product tries to provide its own unique service, still the focus is in a specific line of data, content or service.
Another, vastly growing domain is the smart speaker. As marked by Mary Meeker in her KPCB’s Internet trends 2016 report, Amazon Echo set the path to a blast of home based, interactive speakers, aiming at building an ecosystem (i.e. Amazon skills) around it, and generating huge interest by all major platform vendors. Google Home, Apple Home Pode, Microsoft’s Cortana based Harman speaker, Baidu’s “Little Fish”, Alibaba’s “Tmall Genie”, Line’s “Clova”, and more.
So, what is next? How will voice be used in more use cases, and market segments?
I would like to suggest 3 insights, to where voice solutions are developing:
Personalization. Voice will be used as a personalized platform for advertisers and publishers. We start to witness this trend with some attempts made by e.g. Amazon Echo where voice based purchased is available. Recent analyst reports (most relevant would be Mary Meeker’s 2017 edition of the Internet Trends), and other research agencies start to reflect this change (see for instance the Voice as SEO). Think of an interactive, personalized, voice based advertisement.
Transformation. Voice as a major contributor to Digital Transformation. It’s not new that major corporate organizations are eagerly looking for internal and external innovation and disruption, to support a better digital transformation. Voice will be used to support this change, by helping the organization provide a better service, improved internal data management and productivity.
Voice enabled IoT. Voice layers will be part of many interactions between the user and his \ her connected device. One can imagine a user speaking to his smart home control, refrigerator and any other sensor. Making voice interaction will be widely used, and not only focused on a certain commercial platform device (Smart speaker).
Voice is the new User Interface. There is no question about it. But as we are making so many exciting changes, and as voice interface is paving its way into the tech mainstream, some challenges remains:
Making the interaction intuitive for the user.
Building a positive user experience, for the voice interaction.
Making interaction accurate. This is probably the most important element, which will make voice work.
At Tukuoro, we believe that voice should be easily enabled as well as provide a great experience for the end users, anywhere they are. At home, in their car, when traveling to their next client visit, when generating report etc.
Reach out to us and learn how to make your interface Voice enabled.