By 2019 the voice recognition market will be worth an estimated $601 million in the United States, and by the end of 2022 voice commerce will be worth £5 billion for the United Kingdom. By these exciting approximations, it can be construed that this market is set to grow as businesses the world-over begin to adopt the technology and integrate it into their marketing strategy. Such expansion of the technology could foresee a business environment wherein employees can interface with technology almost instantly without a single key press. Whether you’re a consumer or a businessperson, voice recognition technology is surely set to be a cornerstone technology for both the home and the future workplace.
Voice technology has also been touted as potentially having a bigger impact than that of the smartphone by the likes of Executive Editor for Voice at the BBC, Mukul Devichand and Trushar Barot(Digital Launch Editor, BBC World Service). There is a kernel of truth in their speculation. The introduction of this technology has seen marketers scrambling to accommodate this new untapped technological field with 11% of British adults joining the rapidly growing international user-base.
So what makes AI-operated Voice Assistance tick? An integral piece of this puzzle’s lineage comes from decades of funding and dedicated global research efforts. The increasing advancement of Machine Learning has finally made voice-assistant technology a feasibility as opposed to it’s prior novelty. Machine Learning has allowed Artificial Intelligence the chance to effectively read and understand vocalised input, the technique by which this task is executed is referred simply as Natural Language Parsing. Although it had historically been a challenge, Natural Language Parsing now has opened a whole realm of opportunity for the technological world and has already embarked on it’s expedition into business.
What does this mean for business? It’s place in marketing has already been cemented, with customers purchasing products via their chosen voice assistant appliance, but where else has this technology tread? Reader’s need look no further than the warehousing industry to get a brief glance into it’s possible applications. Modern and innovative warehouse operators use all sorts of technology to increase speed and productivity, but voice plays a big part in some facility’s, empowering operators the means to perform their data-keeping tasks on-the-go through portable headsets as they pick-and-pack. We can confer that the technologies greatest attribute lies in it’s ability to save people time(and therefore money) while reducing ‘touch points’ for it’s user, favouring productivity against the clock. You need only imagine what else this technology could be implemented for. It’s all about hands-free interaction, speed and convenience.
With all things considered there have been some privacy and security concerns from both the media, and from the wider public. These concerns aren’t unfounded and are they rightfully anxious about this new technology but this is not a unique phenomenon. The advent of new interfaceable has always provoked suspicion, perhaps symptomatic of human nature when we are confronted with the unknown and the strange. Technology that is exposed to an open network will unfortunately always be a potential vulnerability. Whether that’s your desktop computer, or your smartphone, the success of these products rely heavily on the security provided by their developers and their respective security teams as they race to patch and update possible breach-points.
Despite this, Voice Technology is here to stay and as we speak, developers, businesses internationally are beginning to take the leap to integrate this profound new technology as they prepare for the up-and-coming paradigm of a friction-less technological world, à la Star Trek.