In 2017 we saw the Voice Interface going big time with Amazon Echo and Google Home becoming a mainstay. In 2018 the HomePod joined the gang, bringing the slew of assistants (Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant) into our daily lives. Voice technology is quickly making its way into our homes. In fact, this past holiday season alone, 12 million virtual assistants were sold.
Voice Stats At-A-Glance:
- By 2021, more than 1.8 billion people will be using Voice digital assistants.
Voice is projected to drive over $11.7 billion in business to consumer revenue.
The next “interface” evolution phase is emerging because of the scarcity of time. People have come to realize that the more digital products and services they use, the less time they feel they have. So, many people are seeking ways to reduce the time they spend on their daily tasks and their devices. The digital overload of the day-to-day and the far improved accuracy and efficiency of the gang of Voice assistants have collided, providing enormous opportunities for companies to enhance their customer experience by adding Voice UI to their touchpoint ecosystem.
Up until recently, business has been feeling around in the dark with Voice, and brands have not been prioritizing efforts. However, now it has become universally accepted that Voice is going to be a cornerstone of our digital future and brands have begun to build a presence with Amazon’s Alexa, which offers more than 25,000 skills (skills are voice apps).
On Alexa, you can order coffee from Starbucks, check the balance of your account and call an Uber, and the use-cases are growing. Users are getting comfortable with the medium and a whole new cross-generational group of shoppers are coming together for the first time to Voice. This has created a once-in-a-decade opportunity for brands to make an impact by providing useful services.
Urgency for business
Brands need to treat investment in this area with a level of urgency because of both the nature of Voice’s efficiency and the behemoths in control of the interfaces. Alexa, for example, will take you as efficiently as possible to the most appropriate product, selected by its algorithm, with very little control or sway afforded to the sellers of the product. That could be a serious problem as the usage of Voice grows and competition mounts. Brands need to make themselves top-of-mind to be called out by name at home and there needs to be a strategy to prevent being locked out by personal assistants’ algorithms.
Leaving the screen behind
Voice assistants’ growing ubiquity signals a new digital paradigm where humans have a more seamless and natural interaction with technology – moving away from strained eyes and attention-sapping screens. This new, useful, engaging and “light” feel needs to be mirrored in the service that businesses create as extensions of their brand.
Businesses need to take this seriously by investing time and money to figure out how to best make use of Voice technology to remain relevant, and company leaders are beginning to come to grips with this.
“Of all the disruptions that are taking place in all the things technology is bringing into our space, a voice is among the most disruptive – In digital investment, this is our biggest focus,” said Graeme Pitkethly, Chief Financial Officer of Unilever.
Let’s do this
At Softvision we have been working with our clients to explore the use-cases that could affect their business in our Voice workshops.
We work with our clients to identify who their customers and users will be, and determining which problems they face can be uniquely solved by Voice interfaces. We build a shared understanding of the tasks they’re trying to accomplish and create features to make the task more convenient and efficient.
Why explore Voice use cases?
- You want to understand how Voice can impact your business
- You have (or want to have) a service which can bring utility
- You want to bring your brand and service to life in a new medium
- Your applications could benefit from some more simple UX
- You want to be present in the home of your customers