Why Businesses should start implementing Voice-First technology? Submitted To: Submitted By:Prof. Anusha Ramanathan Arjun Vekariya PGA (2019-21) Enrolment No.: 08Introduction:Voice technology is transforming how we shop, search, text, email and work, accessing media and control devices and countless other tasks. It has huge potential in transforming how we do our business and how we interact with our customers and add value to their lives. Consumer behavior is widely affected with voice first technology. Its platforms are equivalent of yet-to-be-discovered Malibu beachfront property, much like Twitter in 2007, Instagram in 2011 and Snapchat in 2013. People may or not be aware that voice-first technology has actually been developed since the early 90s. Early adoptions of the voice in technology would ask telephone users who found themselves on an automated telephone system, to pick from a numbered list or answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. This would help the automation system navigate them through to the right person to talk to. Over the last 25 years voice recognition has led to the advances in voice technology that we know today. Now we know it as ‘voice-first technology’, and more commonly termed as ‘voice-first’ or ‘voice’. Technology giants like Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Windows and Google have developed voice-first technology, with many saying that voice-first is the most significant disruption to personal technology since the introduction of the common web browser. It is no doubt that voice first technology will change the future in how we interact with technology. The tech giants are now investing heavily in their voice assistants which uses this technology. Some of them are Alexa by Amazon, Google home by Google, Cortana by Microsoft, Siri by Apple, Bixby by Samsung and many more.“This is a massive change: we will be liberated from keyboards, touch screens and apps that keep us glued to our smartphones and laptops.” – Daniel Ferraz, OnGuardian Global Vision on Voice-First Technology:According to a research by Adobe Digital Insights, the most popular uses for voice assistant are listening to music (61%), checking the weather (60%), asking fun game questions (54%), and doing research (53%). Voice assistant sales grew by 103% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2017.Some Insights:By 2022, experts are estimating that 55% of all U.S. households will have at least one voice assistant smart speaker (wherein the total number of devices are estimated to be more than 175 million).Also, 22% of people who own Amazon Echo and Google Home are shopping by voice. They ask Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant to do the same web searches you would ordinarily type into your browser.It is expected that in the near future, we will adjust the controls in our car through voice-first technology and already many of our home appliances and other appliances/things (thermostat, lights) let you talk and operate the device through voice. If you have smart appliances, you can ask Google Assistant to turn the oven on for preheat or for instance you can ask the voice assistant how much time is left to finish the laundry in the washing machine.In some hotels, guests don’t have to get out of bed to close their curtains or turn off the lights; they simply ask Alexa to do their work. Another major industry that is implementing voice-first technology is healthcare. Already, the Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program in several Massachusetts hospitals teaches parents how to clean a central intravenous catheter, and in operation rooms doctors are using voice technology to document observations and images from certain procedures. It can also help the nurses with their critical checklists.The Tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Apple (FAGMA) have all established themselves as big players in the voice space across the globe. Each of these organizations are investing heavily in their Research and Development of Voice technology and betting that voice is going to be the next big platform for consumers and business. Since Amazon introduced its Alexa in 2014, sales of smart speakers have grown dramatically year-over-year, with estimates that over 118 million homes have smart speakers. But when it comes to the potential of voice, smart speakers are just the tip of the iceberg. Source: The Smart Audio Report“With a Voice First wearable, it is possible to learn an individual’s lifestyle and provide suggestions based on utilization and behavior, offering comfort for independent but vulnerable populations.” – Jean Anne Booth, Founder and CEO, UnaliWear Why Voice-First Technology?What audio is going to do to our society is save time, why podcast exploded in the last 5 years is because people can listen to it in anyway, anytime and do the other tasks in parallel. Everybody in this world values time, as we become more busy, we start valuing time tremendously. When people are watching video it is taking their time whereas audio is incredibly passive. Soon the day will come when people taking shower in the bathroom and they’re running late, they just have to speak to order a coffee or if they forgot to book their cab or appointment, all they have to do is speak to the voice-bot attached in their bathroom to do the task that they needed to.Voice-enabled assistants like Amazon Alexa are increasingly integrated with other devices, from smartphones to smart lightbulbs. IFTTT, an online platform that lets its users to connect different web services via simple conditional statements, includes applets for brewing coffee and emailing shopping lists. And if one of Alexa’s 15,000+ skills won’t fit your needs, building your own simple skill takes about an hour and doesn’t require any programming skills. AI-powered voice technology gets smarter as you use it more, because it is learning continuously most users will never have a need to create custom apps. Advances in voice technology are going to transform user experience design, and in developing AI that feels natural. As Enola Labs CTO Marcus Turner told Forbes, “UX will move closer to human interactions, with machines that are voice driven and close to a typical conversation of today.” How people will shop using voice-assistant, let us take an example of Alexa here- There are 2 interesting factors when it comes to Amazon Choice and voice search, according to OC&C Strategy Consultants: Items with the Amazon Choice designation typically see a sales boost of 3x over those without choice status. And, perhaps even more significantly, 85% of consumers end up selecting the product Amazon suggests. For Amazon, the potential for brands to get in as the Amazon Choice suggested product on Alexa is going to represent a new twist to e-commerce shopping. What businesses need to consider today?If you remember the early days of search engines, you may remember the need of rewriting entire websites for SEO. Recently, the mobile technology prompted firms to rethink about the content and experiences to fit in the small screens and contextual moments.Voice technology offers yet another opportunity to rethink everything. It’s not just about making existing content fit the constraints of a new tech device. The arrival of voice technology suggests that the businesses must reconsider their product design, partner relationships, and even organizational structure. The whole enterprise must adjust and adapt from legal frameworks to business processes — and every aspect of a company’s operations stands to benefit greatly with voice-first technology. Just think of how AI-powered voice technology could help physicians seeking diagnoses , Marketing managers spread their product awareness or HR managers searching for the right candidate.Chances are, if you’ve read this far, you see the coming revolution. But your organization’s C-suite might not be convinced with this, and adapting the case for voice won’t be an easy task as it seems. Starting small might be the answer: Bring a voice-enabled device into your office and let your own team use it to dial into conference calls, schedule meetings, dictate notes, monitoring website analytics, manage messages, and launch brainstorms within. (If that won’t work in your office environment, try voice technology at home and encourage your colleagues to do the same.) Showing is more powerful than telling, and understanding the value to users may inspire small experiments and quick wins … Selling with a larger voice strategy is easier once firms have cultivated an internal team of voicefirst champions.SWOT Analysis: Strengths: Smart voice assistants are voice- controlled speakers for our use. They are activated when a person says a pre-defined voice command and then the speaker answers the query or does the work that the person has asked him to do. People buy these speakers for many reasons. One of the reason is to listen music or flash briefings of current affairs. It allows users to play a certain song or their playlist by just a voice command. It also allows the users to adjust the volumes, turn it off, skip a song or replay a song just over the voice, making it a useful device to have in our room so even if a user is not near to the speaker, he can still command the speaker from a distance and ask the speaker to do the task that he wants to get done from the voice-assistant or smart speaker.Smart speakers reply back because they have a voice assistant(digital) programmed within it. They can perform number of useful tasks such as adding new appointment to your calendar, add a task in your to-do list, or set reminders and your smart speaker will confirm verbally about this. If your smartphone is synced with the smart speaker, you can even have it send texts or make phone calls to the desired person just by giving a voice command. Smart speakers offers a varied range of convenience that user wouldn’t expect. Smart speakers can quickly tell you the weather for today, tomorrow, and next week. You can get a quick readout while you’re getting ready in the morning before heading off to work or in your car. Same is with the news; your smart speaker can quickly give you updates on domestic as well as international news. You can tailor the sources too from your phone or just by speaking to the speaker.Weakness:Security and privacy concerns may hamper the adoption of voice-first technology. Some people expressed concerns about these always-listening devices with microphones that must be ‘turned off’ to stop the speakers listening to and storing the personal conversation that happens around the speakers. With the Amazon Alexa devices, it is now possible to delete the stored voice recordings, one at a time or all. With Apple’s Speakers, the user can tell the device to stop listening. Coming forward, all these devices will be able to switch themselves off or atleast switch off their microphones, either on a set time schedule or on command. And all these devices and software will have features and settings that will help the users to prevent fake shopping or identity theft. Many users have privacy concerns about smart speakers because they “listen” for voice commands to activate themselves. According to Amazon and Google, their smart speakers are active only for listening for the specific verbal command to wake their device. For Google, it is “Okay, Google” and for Alexa, it is “Alexa,….”. If the command isn’t said, the speaker shouldn’t be recording the environmental voice, but many people still don’t believe in that. Few smart speakers comes with a switch to turn off its microphone. This gives tremendous assurance to the users that their data is not recorded anywhere but the truth is, people should be more concerned with the fact that these wifi-using smart speakers are hackable.Opportunities:Smart speakers support many devices and applications, but Alexa is the one which has the most availability if we compare them. As people want more options when using their speakers , obviously other brands like Google and Apple need to step up their game as well. The only way to achieve this is to offer a large volume of skills or actions or an api. Users can also use theirs speakers to watch TV using an add-on like Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV. There is a way to get the smart speaker to turn on Netflix or adjust other streaming services like Youtube and Audio clouds such as podcasts and radio. The apps that can do this are limited in numbers but that doesn’t mean that it will remain the same way. If users have smart light bulbs, the speakers can turn them off and on for the users once synced.And also about the cars, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to tell your smart speaker to start the car, you can do it and you can unlock your doors while you’re leaving a store when your hands are busy holding shopping bags. It’s possible with certain vehicles and voice support. You can tell it to start your car and open the doors. Right now, this is limited to late-model Nissan’s. However, having voice-activated controls is the one way for automobile companies, to give head-to-head competition with competing brands, to stay ahead of the other brands.The Voice-First personal health coach will be wise and will earn daily with the use of machine learning. With some more context, personalization and related processes, Voice-First assistants will be capable of giving advice, knowledgeable about the individual and also aware of what’s happening outside – like knowing there is heavy rainfall or when the next bus or train is arriving.Automotive – Ford was an early player to use voice in 2007 with the launch of Sync, a communications and entertainment system that lets the users to make phone calls and control music. The company predicted that “nearly 90% of all the new vehicles will have [voice recognition] onboard by 2022” according to Forbes.Healthcare – One-way communication is the first step; allowing users to talk back could be next. WebMD created an Alexa skill for users which can answer basic health queries by describing treatments for common ailments and by listing the side effects of particular drugs.Government – An Alexa skill developed for the City of Los Angeles offers information about public events, and the city plans to connect few 100 services to the skill in the future. Mississippi is also developing skills for Alexa, and at the federal level, the GSA’s Emerging Citizen Technology program is exploring these technology solutions for making government services available via voice assistants.Hospitality –JW Marriott has installed Echo devices in each room, letting the guests use voice commands to turn on and off lights, set the AC temperature, and listen to music or news. Four Seasons hotels are also testing Alexa and Siri in their guest rooms. Eventually, hotels hope to use voice to power personal services like requesting extra towels or ordering room service and cabs.Finance – Capital First has developed apps for Alexa and some British banks lets their customers make payments via voice in their mobile application. UBS wealth-management clients in UK can use Alexa for the chief investment office’s answers to their financial and economical questions.Threats:Privacy makes an appearance in threats for voice-first technology. Even if the speaker has a built-in mute function. This is a segment that even the big firms like Amazon, Facebook and Google likely won’t be able to influence. These devices are not secure in anyway. If someone does want to hack these device, it is easy for them to do so. And user wouldn’t know until Google, Amazon, Facebook etc make an announcement about it. There are some complications with data protection, and about the legality here as well.
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