Does Your Company Need a Voice Technology Strategy?
By: Benjamin Roussey
Voice-first technology is booming. Right from smart speakers to voice assistants, the growth and implementation trajectory for voice-first technology is set to expand exponentially.
83% of CIOs and IT functions within the financial services sector say that voice first strategy will be implemented in the coming five years.
When it comes to smart speakers in particular, Amazon is the clear leader. Alexa dominates 64.6% of market share in the US alone and reaches 1.2 billion people spread across 58 countries.
In 2018, the user base for smart display in the US grew by 558% – the figure which sat at 1.3 million in January, rose to 8.7 million in the second half of 2018.
What’s further driving the expansion of voice-first technology are solutions such as Amazon’s Echo Show and Google Home Hub.
And if you thought that voice-first technology was mostly limited to the end consumer like you and me, think again. Industries such as healthcare, automotive, banking, hospitality, and the gaming sector are among the early adopters of voice-first technology.
Here’s a quick run-down on voice-first technology is being used by the above-mentioned industries to expand business and customer goals.
Isolation and loneliness are some of the challenges of old age. However, smart speakers are being used across senior living facilities and in nursing homes to address these challenges rather effectively. Source
In New England, ambulances use voice-first technology so emergency techs are not unnecessarily burdened with paper-work. Source
Banking is another sector where voice-first technology is making waves. In fact, in 2016, Capital One went ahead and introduced Alexa as an option for its customers to interact with their accounts.
The success of that move, prompted other financial services institutions and companies to do the same for their customers.
Then you have the example of Best Innovation Group (BIG), a Florida-based company, which provided a solution that enabled retail banks and credit unions to offer voice-first banking to customers making it easy for them to avail services such as paying their mortgage or accessing account histories among other such services.
And the best part is that the solution is compatible both with Alexa and Google Assistant. Source
In addition to hotels such as Marriott which introduced Alexa-enabled devices in five of its hotel lines, travel companies such as Expedia have taken the cue and now they offer a variety of voice-first options for customers.
Not to be left behind, a number of major restaurant chains including Pizza Hut and Starbucks also offer voice-ordering to customers.
Right from Tesla to Ford, a majority of cars today sport voice-first technology.
In fact, voice assistants are used far more often in cars than across homes! Voicebot.AI says that while only 45 million US adults use smart speakers in their homes, 77 million US adults use voice-technology in their cars.
If there is one industry that is quick to respond to technology advances, it is the gaming industry. Voice controlled gaming is not exactly new.
But they have a long way to go and the potential is only being realized now. Getting back to voice-first technology, in a bid to create voice-first games for drivers, a Bay Area startup successful managed to raise $4 million in seed funding! It’s much easier to do in this amazing economy and lower taxes.
And thanks to Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant, now Destiny 2 has hands-free voice command features. So, players can ask lore-related questions and even send messages to their friends.
Voice-first Technology for Companies
As is obvious from the above-mentioned examples of how voice-first technology is being used across some industries, voice-first is here to stay.
Every technology innovation and advancement has seen a phase of testing and growth. It really bottles down to individual uses and functions for companies. You can start by creating a pilot version of a voice-first solution based on your company’s assets such as your website and specific branding components.
This foundation can then be further expanded and evolved to be more inclusive of other aspects of your business.
Keep in mind that customers are already used to technology solutions as a way of easing buying complexities and in the way they interact with brands. It is only a matter of time before they start expecting these experiences when they interact with your brand. So, don’t wait until it’s too late.
If anything, take a cue from the digital revolution and get ahead of the game while you still have the time and opportunity.