How the future of Voice is changing?
Will there be ads featured on Alexa?
Voice Technology is growing year on year.
I will not bore you with the latest stats, but voice technology is increasingly becoming a mainstay in households around the world. Voice technology provides a natural interaction for users. Voice queries tend to be more precise and action-oriented in comparison with other technology platforms.
So, what is the future for Voice Technology?
Voice assistants will get better at differentiating voices. Smart devices can support up to 6 users accounts and detect unique voices. Amazon has already filed a patent for voice technologies. That will allow Alexa to discern and respond to a user’s age, gender, language accent and more. Whilst Huawei is working on voice technologies to respond to the emotional state of the user.
One of the most interesting case studies I have found is Gatebox. A home assistant that provides emotional support and companionship to users. I will include a link if you want to find out more about this!
Voice Push Notifications
User-centric push notifications as a mean to re-engage users with your app. Voice technology will provide a unique way of distributing push notifications. Both Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa allow the user to enable spoken notifications for any third-party app that has the compatibility. Users can hear notifications rather than read them.
Both Google and Amazon recently announced that both assistants will no longer require the use of repeated “wake” words. Further to this Alexa Conversations is a new deep learning-based approach to dialog management. With the idea in mind, speaking to a smart speaker should be less robotic and more like human conversation. Developers can incorporate this into their apps where conversation can take several different paths. i.e. When a user chooses a movie or orders food, etc.
I believe voice will be adopted by more and more businesses to provide customer service applications, answer queries and be able to perform actions on behalf of the user in many industries.
Take the hospitality industry as a case study. Several hotels offer rooms with echo devices that allow guests to use their voice to control room temperature, lights, music, etc. With a view into the future of providing voice-powered concierge-level services.
Another great video by Alexa, talking about the hotel experience through voice. The challenges that come with the adoption of this technology are clear. Guests configuring the device and know- how to use the device are hurdles still to overcome.
This is just one example of how voice can be integrated to improve customer experience. I believe many other industries can leverage the power of voice to automate many of their services.
Voice Search Monetization
Of course the future of voice contains many lucrative features that we as consumers can look forward to enjoying but it would not be fair to not look at some of the potential downsides. Paid voice search has been a controversial and hot topic of debate.
“We can easily see that the future of SEO is shifting toward voice search as people are speaking to voice assistants using a conversational tone, questions, and long-tail keywords.”
- Rameez Ghayas Usmani, Digital Marketing Strategist, Pure VPN
As voice continues to grow, the listening points are gradually overtaking the touching points. Creating a minefield of consumer data to which at this point is largely untouched. The real-time location of potential customers opens space for companies to advertise their products.
However, a massive part of voice technology and in particular home voice assistants is the trust users have with them. Therefore, attempting to monetize voice search, particularly with ads muddies the waters and can become a slippery slope for the technology.
“Ads on a speaker are just not as non-intrusive as normal ads are online. Even YouTube allows you to skip ads — most of the time. Listening to ads is the worst, as any Spotify user with a free account will be able to verify. On one hand, it’s a great way to get people to pay to not get ads. On the other hand, it may kill an industry that is destined to be big before it really even started.”
- Heinrich Long, Privacy Expert, Restore Privacy
It would be naïve to talk about the future of without mentioning the problems the industry faces. Security and accuracy being the main ones. Voice-technology is fairly within its infancy and with that comes scepticism for some users which will reduce the uptake in the technology. But as well the potential for misuse and disruption from malicious attackers is a great scare for many. Moreover, voice technology needs better accent and language recognition globally to make the whole process seamless.
To conclude the future of voice is bright with lots of unlocked potential. Much like a chameleon voice has the power to blend its way in to any industry to provide value with its simple user interface. Continued evolution of artificial intelligence will enhance the power of voice, leveraging usability to all kinds of industries.
However, the monetization potential of the product and commercial capabilities has yet to be reached and could be a real concern. Despite of this if implemented in the right way, voice search monetization could enhance user experience and appeal to personalisation.
Edward Muldrew (@EdwardMuldrew) | Twitter
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