For what was once a seldom-used novelty feature, voice-activated search has come a long way in its nearly seventy-year history.

Voice-enabled tech is creating a new communications channel for retailers and customers. It’s the most personal experience a customer can have-they’re talking to, not typing on a computer, and receiving quick, intelligent responses

So, in the nutshell Voice is here. It’s easier. It’s faster. It’s better. It’s more natural.

Why type it when you can say it

While the adoption of voice-enabled tech continues to grow and how it’s used continue to evolve, there’s a broader opportunity to discuss how consumers will use this technology to find and engage with brands and products. Seventeen percent of Canadians we surveyed are already using smart home voice assistants to make purchases.

Here is the gist of few research pointers on Voice technology

  • 30% of searches will be done without screens by 2020
  • The voice recognition market will be worth $601 million by 2019
  • 35.6 million Americans used a voice-activated assistant device at least once per month in 2017
  • 65% of Amazon Echo/Google Home users can’t imagine going back to their pre-smart speaker days
  • 20% of adults use voice search daily

Voice Recognition is High-Tech

The marked improvement in voice recognition that we enjoy today is underpinned by leaps forward in natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning which have powered an intelligent understanding of the subtleties of accents and dialects; the result is a more precise voice search experience that can adapt and scale.

Also, voice assistants are getting better at understanding the context of the search and user intent, so the error rates of the voice-activated services of yesteryear diminish.

 It’s More Convenient

A September 2018 study of U.S. consumers by Adobe revealed the high retention rate of voice searchers with 44% saying they utilize voice assistants several times a day. 28% called it an indispensable feature of mobile devices.

Users who adopt voice assistants tend to prefer it to typing as it saves time and offers a hands-free experience when performing simple searches – checking the weather forecast, getting news and finding products – on the go; from driving to carrying coffee.

Voice is the next paradigm for search

Amazon packaged Echo to be useful enough to be both a novelty and to drive this new paradigm. Alexa failures have become party tricks—providing a lot of humorous entertainment. Amazon continues to add features and marketing Alexa heavily.

Google and Siri continued to push this trend forward as well – so “smart speakers” are now a thing as are smart switches and smart lights.

Simplicity, user choice, privacy, and trust

Imagine a voice assistant platform that just allows users to use the apps they already use—on-the-go – anytime, anywhere—with simple voice commands, without having to register these service relationships again, and without waiting for the developers to have to reinvent the wheel to plug into the platform.

We must embrace mobile app actions as first-class citizens. We should be able to do things in our mobile apps with simple voice commands. Anywhere, everywhere, on-the-go. On the smartphone in your pocket or your handbag. Ubiquitous and free.

Conclusion:

The IDC Consumer IoT Survey presented at CES 2019 shows that voice usage is almost twice as much on mobile devices (~70%) than on smart speakers

At the core, getting ahead of the competition with voice interfaces requires an understanding of where your organization is today and where you want to be tomorrow. That means developing a path forward in the context of your larger digital marketing strategy.

 

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