Are you ready for the voice revolution?

The Human Voice is the most perfect instrument of all.  – Arvo Pärt

We think that voice is not only the most perfect instrument, but also the future to meaningful brand interaction.

Conversational interfaces, or chatbots, already make it possible to have quality voice conversations between businesses and customers today. We expect this trend to rise much further. Why?

Voice is going to triple

Voice assistants are the fastest-growing connected device category in history, as researched by Deloitte.

According to a recent forecast from Juniper Research, the use of voice assistants is expected to triple over the next few years:

  • About 8 billion voice assistants will be in use by 2023 – compared to 2.5 billion as of end 2018. Most of these will be Siri or Google Assistant, based on smartphones.
  • Google Assistant is expected to reach 1 billion devices (as of January 2019)
  • Amazon´s Alexa has reached 100 million devices (December 2018)
  • Apple HomePod grew at 45% and sold 1.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2018

Thus, voice commerce will grow immensely – and is expected to reach $80 billion per year by 2023.

One good example for this is Expedia: The digital travel agency already created browse and book capabilities using google assistant last fall.

Research author James Moar explains “connected TVs and smart displays [will be] vital here, as they can provide a visual context that is lacking in smart speakers.”

To give you a better understanding of the positive signs in voice technology, we collected four broader signs which stand for a bright future.

 4 Signs for a bright future for voice

New Entrants

Google, Amazon, Apple – Wasn´t there another big… Oh yes, Samsung! The Bixby-powered Galaxy Home speaker will arrive on the market by April 2019. We hereby declare the battle for market shares. Interesting times ahead!

Things are being built, measured, learned

Build, measure, learn – that´s just the way innovation goes. The impact of time, scale and consumer trust on product progress should not be underestimated. More data and more user engagement will fuel Natural Language Processing technologies, just as increased search queries aided Google’s search. Just recently it has been announced that millions of Alexa interactions are currently being tapped and analyzed to decrease NLP error rates by 8% and thus advance the quality of voice interfaces. While voice technologies are improving at a pace, the experiences of today will only increase. The fact that voice devices are being adopted by more and more consumers leads to trust in the channel – and we will be able to do much more with voice than we can think of now.

Multi-Channel Magic

“The innovation is natural language processing, not smart speakers or chatbots” Charles Cadbury (2018). The real magic happens when conversations go cross-platform, thus voice should not be seen as an interface that will forever replace screens in the long run, but rather as a precious addition to the conversation landscape.

References

The more the success stories, the more companies will follow by investing in an innovation. Often innovation practitioners struggle with getting budget for an early exploration of burgeoning technology. Once brands realise they have to catch up with the ecosystem, those already engaged will be at the front foot.

With the rise of multi-platform assistants, the use of standalone apps is expected to decline. That makes a lot of sense considering how seamless interactions with brands can become if they take place on text and voice assistants, powered by multi-channel enterprise platforms.

 

While voice is advancing, make sure to get your business ready
by setting up multi-channel communication opportunities with your customer.

We´re happy to help!