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What to expect for Voice UI in 2018.

The past year was extraordinary for voice technologies. Only a year ago, talking about VUI (voice user interface) seemed like a visionary \ sci-fi talk for tech geeks. But now – look how far has it grown, where smart speakers are everywhere (mainly in the US while Europe and Asia show increasing growth as well) personal assistant has presence and still Voice as an interface is sought for in numerous other use cases and segments.

In KPCB recent report, Mary Meeker mentions that: “Emerging retailers and big brands are finding ways to make voice work for them”. And indeed we witness that wealth of new and disruptive ways for voice interface implementation.

Here are my thoughts describing the different channels where voice is expected to pave further its way as a dominant user interface and as part of new market place.

· Voice everywhere – in 2018 and onwards, we will see an increase in use cases where voice will be implemented. Due to Amazon’s aggressive efforts which result in an impressive market share of the smart speaker market (link) the first implementations are of Amazon skills and Google actions, which are used to experiment the use case with voice. For example, a home appliance vendor will deploy such skill and test if and how users are taking advantage of the new interface. Still, based on many different researches, using a skill might not be the most efficient way to reach to the users, in order to reach out to the connected device in voice – “..69 percent of the Alexa “Skills” ….have zero or one customer review, signaling low usage

Low adoption, along with an increasing awareness and concern with regard to Data privacy (see below) – will result in vendors looking for alternative of Voice technologies to serves the specific brand’s need. Possible examples:

  • Voice over BOTs – As the BOTs technology becomes more frequently deployed as customer service across different segments (retail, telco, etc.), the vendors are looking to add a voice layer to the basic engagement. Typing is a redundant interface, and making the BOTs engagement functional in voice is a trivial next step in the BOTs platform. Many retailers and other ecommerce vendors who actively deploy BOTs for customer engagement, service and sell (or upsell) understands the power of voice interaction – and seek to leverage it.

  • Voice of Things – As devices become connected, voice interaction is a required function. Not just the smart speakers will offer a voice interface, but any connected device. We are approaching the time when we can really talk to the coffee machine and ask it to brew and make our coffee when we wake up.



  • Voice for commerce –a recent research by Capgemini - measuring the advantages of voice for retailers, concluded that “enabling voice can significantly improve brands’ Net Promoter Scores (NPS®) #. Among users, the NPS® of a brand would improve by nineteen percentage points when it provides a personal voice assistant globally”.

  • Data Privacy - in a recent survey, more than 55% mentioned they have privacy concerns with regard to the always listening functionality (source: CNET). In addition to the end user’s concern, brands and vendors, implementing voice raises the integrity of their own user’s data – which they are reluctant to share with the voice vendors, thus look for an in-house, securely implemented voice user interface, where the data resulting from the voice input can be used only by them.

A few words towards 2019 – Interactive Voice Advertisement.

It is clear that publishers and ecommerce advertisers are in need for a new platform to engage with their audience, especially when the users are not in front of the traditional advertisement platform – offline / online market places. With the rise of voice interaction solutions, and hyper connected devices environment, the next step is the personalized interactive voice advertisement. This will lead to a potential new market place and will generate new sources of engagement with consumers.

We start to witness some trials and attempts with voice commercials, but the real revelation will be when voice advertisement will be both personalized and interactive. The Possibilities behind this are endless and we will find increasing players to jump in the new and probably huge opportunities..

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