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The Power of Voice! Why type when you can talk? – by Chantal Donnelly

October 13, 2017

Voice technology for search functionality is certainly not new. We all know Siri, she was introduced to us way back in 2011. I ask the question however, how effective has she been for me? Has she evolved? What’s next?

If you have had the privilege of purchasing Alexa or Google Home (albeit in South Africa we cannot realise its full potential yet) you may notice a new direction in technology that these nifty devices are tuning into. In simple terms, it is: Input & Output Through Voice Alone. Give that some thought: No mobile device to carry around, powered by AI and extremely simple to instruct. We are talking to an intelligent, Cloud enabled digital assistant using deep learning driven speech recognition and natural language understanding.  

We have just returned from a round trip of Silicon Valley and in my opinion, the monoliths that are ruling the tech industry (and the world – not to mention the media and publishing space) are investing heavily in the advancement of this particular technology and only a few – as we know – will actually compete at this level or even survive. Self-driving cars won’t require mobile devices, connected homes won’t require these either, and the latest addition to shake things up is… drum roll… Alexa for Business. Now Amazon has me listening!

Everyone wants the best, right? Of course! Well, be prepared because our new reality is that machines nearly equal humans in transcription accuracy and computerised translation systems are improving rapidly. Text to speech systems are becoming less robotic and more natural sounding. Computers therefore, are getting much better at handling natural language in all its forms.  

I guess we are back to basics really. It is predicted that by 2018 around 30% of all interactions with devices will be voice based and, in a recent article that I happened upon, it stated that in the last 8 months alone voice search use has increased by 41% (don’t quote us on that stat but it’s certainly an interesting one).  

The big question is, how will business monetise this voice tech and how do marketers, brands and retailers prepare for this shift? A user’s interaction is not going to be based on a click…
Food for thought!

If you want to know more, get in touch with some real live humans here.