As we adapt to the forced lockdown period, voice technology has seen a significant boost from the global pandemic as consumers shift to buying things online—the reason for this being, their fear of contracting COVID-19 by touching items in public places.
"There has been a massive increase in the use of voice technology in houses during the lockdown periods,"
"People wish to develop relationships with Alexa. We have received roughly 1 million marriage proposals and compliments of love for Alexa. Who would have thought, people would have such a craze for voice tech.”
Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President of Amazon's Alexa Unit
From the above quote, you can gauge the popularity of voice tech in the digital era.
Heading ahead, in the forthcoming paragraphs, we will look at different facets of this unique technology and its effects on other business functions.
However, before that, let’s look at some startling stats about the future of voice tech.
- 55% of households in the US are expected to own a smart speaker in 2022. (Source: Hubspot)
- By 2022, voice search for shopping needs will have turned into a $40 billion industry. (Source: Techcrunch)
- Voice searches will account to 50% of all searches by 2020. (Source: econsultancy)
- 21.4 million smart speakers are expected to be there in US households by the year 2020.(Source: Activate)
- 25% of digital workers will use virtual employee assistants, with voice search functionality by 2021. (Source: Gartner)
Now that we have looked at the startling statistics about the future of voice tech let's divert our attention to the different smart speakers and home assistants, making voice tech mainstream.
Smart Speakers & Home Assistants That are Making Voice Tech Mainstream
Gone are the days when voice assistants used to conduct only searches. Today, we see voice assistants helping you book appointments, flights, play music, take notes, and much more.
Apple offers Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, Amazon uses Alexa, and Google has created Google Assistant.
With so many wide arrays of choices & usages, it is not surprising that 40% of us are using voice tech daily.
According to Google, 20% of all searches are voice, and by the year 2020 comes to a close, this number will breach 50%. In simple words, this means that businesses are looking for ways to grow voice technology.
These are some of the beautiful, smart speakers and home assistants paving the way for the future of voice tech. Let's now look at the different ways voice assistants bring innovation into marketing and sales.
How can Voice assistants Bring Innovation into Marketing and Sales?
Here are the ways voice searches add immense value to sales and marketing:
Table of Contents
1. Local Language Voice Translation
The local language voice translation is the most significant benefit provided by voice assistants.
Let me explain to you with the help of an example.
Suppose you are a multinational company selling mobile phones across the world.
By having local language voice translation solutions, you can market your product globally and increase its demand.
So, wherever your customers are, whether it is India, Germany, the USA, or the Philippines, with the help of local language quick translation, it is possible to market your product through the voice assistants in their preferred local language.
This is the best chance to convince them to try your product and services, which, in turn, is the right marketing strategy for your product to increase sales.
2. Reduce the Number of Calls to Customer Care Executives
Companies have the chance to reduce the flow of calls to their support staff by forwarding the mundane and regular queries to a voice assistant.
The voice assistant can advise the user on fundamental questions about the products or services and help make the customers the right purchasing decision.
3. Communicating with Remote Teams
In the post-COVID-19 era, we will see workforce teams working remotely. Most of the time, you will see communication taking place on Slack channels and messengers.
This is where voice assistants can speed up the conversations and help multilingual teams communicate effectively.
4. Tracking Analytics
With the help of voice assistants like Cortana and Siri, it becomes easier to analyze data.
Using voice commands, you can build analytical queries over large data stores, categorizing data by data ranges or departments - all with the help of Voice - this can be a massive advantage for workplaces.
5. Sales Assistance
Salesforce has created an AI-driven voice assistant for sales representatives termed as Einstein.
With this tool's help, you can significantly improve the speed of going through your mundane tasks like writing meeting summaries or making updates to your planner.
Since you are now well aware of how voice assistants bring innovation into marketing and sales, we will focus on the voice tech use cases in the next section.
So, without much ado, let’s get started.
Voice Tech Use Cases
Leading sectors using voice tech are:
The healthcare providers have started to discover the benefits of voice assistants, which ultimately increases their efficiency and improves the patient experience. This very reason makes several healthcare brands smartly employing voice technology.
Here are a few practical examples of voice tech use cases in the healthcare domain.
- Sugarpod is a type-2 diabetes management solution that consists of custom tasks for patients based on their preferences. These patient experiences are delivered through SMS, email, web, or a voice interface. When Sugarpod is integrated with voice assistants like Alexa, it enables patients to manage their treatments and monitor their progress effectively. This way, voice assistants in healthcare can assist in chronic disease management.
- Non-adherence to medication is one of the most dreadful things that can have a critical effect, especially in chronic disease management. To overcome this problem, Orbita, a Boston-based voice platform start-up, has come with an Alexa skill that reminds elders to take medication on a timely basis.
It is never an easy task to be deployed across the globe and encounter languages that are not easy to understand.
They do not get a stable internet connection for online translators, and so there is a lack of time to train a voice assistant to recognize an accent.
In case you are a first responder, it is difficult to use a military-issued touchscreen with your thick-gloved hands.
There is one voice-first company that is trying to resolve this concern.
- They have created the SQU.ID SQ 410, a hands-free translator that seems similar to a walkie-talkie, boasts a library of more than 70 languages to help soldiers and medical personnel communicate with the locals.
This device is a product of Voxtec, a company that has dedicated itself to advancing voice technology in the real world. It consists of a 5.2-inch translator, which can be holstered to the soldier's chest. It then quickly picks up what is said and repeats it in the original language to ensure that it's correct. Then, it broadcasts in the other person's language.
The hospitality industry has seen a drastic change with the emergence of voice technology. Here’s how hotels are using voice tech to their advantage.
- One of the best examples of voice tech in the hospitality industry is the Alexa for Hospitality service. Amazon offers it. It works based on the Amazon Echo technology. However, you can tailor it according to each hotel. The result is, guests can freely speak on the device and control different aspects of their rooms like heating and music.
This is how different industries are using voice tech in the digital era.
In the final section of the write-up, we will divert our attention to the different voice tech trends that are going to emerge in the year 2020 & beyond.
Voice Tech Trends for 2020 and upcoming years
Here’s a look at the fantastic voice tech trends that will rule big in the current year and the upcoming years.
Here we go.
Smart Speakers Steer Voice Search Adoption
Smart speakers have become part and parcel of family units across the globe. A prime example of that is, Alexa and Siri have been revolutionary from the start.
You can Alexa even senseless inquiries to see how “she” reacts.
However, whatever be the thing, voice innovation has grown a notch bigger.
With the emergence of new equipment like Google Home and Apple HomePod moving into the commercial center, and other tech giants trying to come up with innovative things to keep up with buyer requests we are seeing a new high for voice tech.
The Partnership of Voice AI & Machine Learning will Grow Tremendously with Time
AI and machine learning have created a rave on how we interact with our smart devices and search on the internet.
The increasing ability of machines to learn and act intelligently has transformed the world we live in today.
In the coming years, we will see its impact even more.
The Increased Ability of Voice Search Devices
With time, the speech recognition technology has given new wings to voice tech. Its ability to voice search items has increased ten times.
Google has already announced that more than 20 percent of mobile queries are voice searches.
Google Speech Recognition innovation has a precision rate of 95%, where English is the primary language.
This shows that with time, we will see voice tech using AI & machine learning to surpass users' expectations in terms of voice search.
Deciphering Contextual Factors to Make Conversations More Convenient and Efficient
Recently both Google and Amazon announced that both the voice assistants would no longer utilize "wake" words.
Previously, both the assistants were guilty of using the wake words to initiate the conversation.
For example, one would have to ask, "Alexa, what's the current temperature in the bedroom?" and then say, "Alexa" again before requesting a second mode of instruction like "set the temperature to 23 degrees."
It would be more convenient for the users to say, "Alexa, what's the current temperature in the bedroom?" and then say, "set my bedroom temperature to 23 degrees," without using the wake word again.
Now, this is possible.
Today, customers are using voice assistants in specific locations, usually while multitasking. Either while being alone or amongst a group of people when using it. Having a device that can decipher these contextual factors can make the conversations more convenient and efficient.
It will also showcase that the developers behind these technologies are thinking hard about providing a user-centric experience.
In the coming years, we will see not only improved tech but also an expansion of Voice to nearly all forms of business and life.
Keep this in mind: Voice tech is not impacting a single industry. Instead, it is a transformative technology that will disrupt nearly all industries, like the internet and smartphones did in the earlier years.
It has been estimated that the voice and speed recognition market is expected to grow at a 17.2% compound annualized rate to breach $26.8 billion by the year 2025.
On the other hand, AI - the technology that goes hand-in-hand with voice is expected to add $5.8 trillion in value annually.
But, unlike other technological advancements, we have seen in the past, voice tech promises to make machines behave more like humans.
In terms of adoption rates, market, and applications, as I have shown in this write-up, the possibilities will leave you speechless!