Voice user interface technology is getting smarter, faster, and more reliable. What does that mean for major industries today, and in the future?
Voice user interfaces have been in our consciousness for decades. But limitations – namely the technology and our inability to collect enough tangible data – have made our dreams of a world where we talk to our computers difficult to realize.
That’s all about to change…
Because of advancement in AI and cloud computing, machines are now able to accumulate more specific data from their users, allowing them to understand us more accurately than was previously possible.
Voice is a big deal, and a priority for today’s tech giants in the race to become the leader in voice technology. Voice services like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana are not only improving, they are becoming mainstream.
But how will voice technology change our lives? More specifically – what industries does it have the potential to radically change?
Here are five industries we anticipate changing dramatically as this new technology evolves:
Can you imagine a world where voice-controlled virtual assistants, such as Alexa and Siri, replaced humans? What if their skill sets surpassed expectation, and eventually aided consumers more efficiently and effectively than a human ever could?
It may seem like science fiction right now, but voice technology has the potential to radically alter the way society functions and put into question the future of customer service.
For this new technology to be adopted by consumers, the key will be not only developing devices that respond with efficiency and accuracy but by making them likeable at the same time. If the service the user receives from a voice assistant is less accurate and personable than a human – it will be a hard sell.
Over the next decade, user experience designers will have their work cut out designing voice services, which are pleasant to interact with, and that do not frustrate the user .
The Auto Industry
Advancements in voice technology and AI will make cars not only more futuristic but safer to drive. Hands-free voice interfaces will soon offer safe, hands-free options for the driver, without taking their eyes off the road. This technology has the potential to go further, with tech companies and startups racing towards developing the ultimate automated vehicle.
Voice also has the potential to alter our personal relationship with our vehicle. Being able to ask our voice assistant for alternative routes during heavy traffic may curb any tendency towards road rage, while responsive voice assistants have the potential to keep us company during our daily commute.
You’ve no doubt heard of “The Internet of Things” (IoT) – a vision of life aided by our connected devices.
This connectivity is key to the development of Smart Homes – where our home devices are all connected, and controlled by the user’s voice. Developments such as the Future Haus prototype this new type of interactive home, where embedded sensors and control capabilities rely heavily on voice commands.
The promise is that this technology will simplify our lives. But like smart cars, what will drive consumers to adopt this technology will be the ease of its design. Smart homes must be intuitive, and attentive. The key here is making life easier not more complicated.
As more and more people use voice to answer their queries and assist their everyday lives, optimizing for voice search is going to be a key for future of digital marketing and SEO success.
What needs to be taken into consideration, at every step of design, is that voice-based searches tend to be very different to typed searches. For example; someone might type ‘coffee nearby’, but when speaking to their device the command is often more conversational and specific, i.e. “where can I find the best coffee near here?”.
Businesses will need to adapt to longer, more conversational search queries that voice users tend to adopt. Keyword research is required in order to ascertain how people like to phrase a query out loud. It is no longer a matter of targeting specific keywords. Designers need to focus on developing devices that are more knowledgeable and prepared to answer users specific, word-heavy queries.
It’s an important time for translation technologies. In the past five years, Google Translate has gone from a simple text translation app to a much more advanced translator with listening capabilities, and other companies are following suit.
The refinement of this technology will mean it takes less time to translate documents, which will have a huge impact on productivity for companies relying on translations. Like the customer service industry, voice may threaten the role of translators. Many argue, however, that there will always be the need for the human eye when it comes to reviewing translations and fixing errors.
Companies will no doubt benefit from developments in voice processing technologies as they build even more power into their language processing. Imagine you could understand every language on the planet through a simple wearable that sits invisibly in your ear?
Which leads us too…
High Tech Wearables
Screenless wearables will enjoy continued success thanks to voice. So far devices like Fitbit rely on an operating system and a smartphone to access information. Voice will allow these wearables to function independently from operating systems.
In the future, wearables that interact entirely through voice will cut out any intermediary devices and enable them to be even smaller and perform a wide range of functions. There is no doubt this will be an industry that continues to boom.
The rapid development of voice user interfaces has many industries wondering how it will affect them, and what impact this will have on how they run their businesses? The reality is voice will not only have an impact on every industry, every business, and every product within the next decade; it has the potential to radically change all our lives!
Because of this, there is a huge need for specialized talent who can successfully lead this shift in human-computer interaction. If you want to become a go-to specialist for VUI, check out our brand new online course for Voice User Interface Design, built in collaboration with Amazon Alexa.