The Future Of Voice Control

Edward Muldrew
5 min readNov 14, 2018

Voice recognition is the ability of a machine or program to understand and carry out spoken commands. We have come a long way from having to pronounce every single syllable in a desperate attempt that a phone operator will be able to understand us. We now live in an age where Google and Alexa are taking over our homes. By the end of 2017 Google and Amazon collectively sold 27 million devices, this is significant as it shows us that this isn’t just a trend it’s a paradigm shift in the way in which we interact with devices. So let’s keep a peek in to the not so distant future to see what voice control has in-store for us.

Voice Technology

Combined with AI
The best place to start is looking at AI in combination with voice search. For example if AI is able to predict our shopping patterns voice assistants could ask you questions like “Would you like to reorder toothpaste? Or Is it Time to order the Christmas presents?” Predicting our needs and making our lives better would be an obvious improvement. Technology is enabling and also becoming a part of our culture which demands everything be done quicker, faster and more efficient. Voice technology is becoming a catalyst for this change allowing users to enjoy a seamless shopping experience as an example.

Siri

Combined with IOT (Internet Of Things)
Similarly with developments of the Internet of Things and smart home technology. The aim is to allow every household object to be controlled through voice capabilities. Amazon earlier this year announced its plans to release an Alexa powered microwave. Amazon’s main goal is owning a sizeable stake in the connected home. Not only does it now have its digital-assistant speakers in, according to Amazon, tens of millions of homes across the world, helping us order more groceries through its own supply chains, earlier this year the company bought smart doorbell maker Ring, which among others things will help you let delivery staff drop off your Amazon purchases with greater ease.

Ring doorbell

Although a lot of these creations are incredibly useful, it is also becoming worrying seeing one company have such control over almost every aspect of distribution. Amazon’s ecosystem of devices including Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Look and Echo Spot cater for different user’s needs. Why is Amazon releasing so many devices is because it is aiming to sustain its market share? It is building products for every use case and catering to all kinds of demographics in a bid to trapping users once they are within their ecosystem.

Echo Dot

Transforming the work place
Although it may be quite common to have an Alexa in the home, it’s not so common to have it in the office. Voice-activated technologies will create the smart office, where IoT devices will transform how everything works. Office management will be transformed by intelligent devices, which will increasingly enable voice interaction for finding out basic facts about office equipment, including location, service status, who the users were and others.

Smart Office

Voice-based note-taking means meeting participants are free to engage, instead of keeping their eyes glued to a screen and their hands glued to a keyboard for note-taking. Voice will transform business communication. Instead of every user crafting exact wording for email or, say, a Slack communication, voice technology will enable a command and description — for example, “tell John I’d like to meet tomorrow afternoon” — and the virtual assistant will arrange the meeting.

Experts have predicted that we will have a “massive growth of voice-controlled devices to rule our workplaces. Hands-free mobility will play a key role in hospitals, laboratories and manufacturing units. Additionally, we will have intelligence voice-driven cars, entertainment and location-based searches and the passengers can be completely hands-free.”

Change to in Interaction from B2C
This will also bring about a change in how brands interact with a consumer if the typical medium of touch interaction is removed. How will users be retained with voice? Developers need to build apps with user engagement in mind. It’s now up to Amazon, Google, and other companies to stand out by helping both consumers and developers solve these engagement and retention problems.

Google Home

What the experts think
Experts within the industry have said “algorithms will soon be able to reproduce an individual’s voice with near perfect accuracy. Anytime your voice is recorded, you are contributing to a corpus of correlated data to be used as your personal profile” With this of course comes greater security concerns but voice controlled devices are here to stay.

To conclude it is difficult to say if voice technology is the future as I believe it has its uses. If anything it is likely to be used in combination with the many other forms of interactions we have with technology. However voice technology is in its primary days and will be developed further. It brings about interesting topics of discussion in terms of engagement, interaction and security.

Sources Used: https://www.computerworld.com/article/3294987/digital-assistants/how-voice-technology-will-re-shape-business.html
https://medium.com/swlh/the-past-present-and-future-of-speech-recognition-technology-cf13c179aaf
https://www.futureofeverything.io/future-voice-recognition/
https://medium.com/s/story/breaking-through-amazons-hype-machine-5cbad0e90ee5

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Edward Muldrew

Software Developer, YouTuber and all round technology fanatic. Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EdwardMuldrew