2020 has arrived and, thanks also to the great success during Black Friday and Christmas, vocal assistants are increasingly part of our lives. Let’s see together what are the trends expected for this year.
1- Compatibility and integration will be a must
When it comes to integrating voice technologies with other products, Amazon is always at the forefront. Alexa is already integrated with a wide range of objects such as lights, bulbs, smart sockets, thermostats, air conditioners, weather stations, security systems, vacuum cleaners and refrigerators, such as Samsung’s Family Hubs.
Google is catching up and recently announced Google Assistant Connect. The idea behind this technology is to allow manufacturers to create custom devices that perform specific functions and that are integrated with the assistant.
In fact, there are already some attempts by alliances or working groups to begin to standardize a common format for voice interactions, especially as regards home automation, involving the major players in the technological and technological sector (Google, Amazon, Apple, Zigbee) than not (Ikea, BMW, SONOS).
2- Conversations will be increasingly optimized
Both Google and Amazon recently announced that both assistants will no longer require the use of the wake up words. So far, both assistants have been dependent on a word “Alexa” or “Ok, Google” to initiate a new interaction. This will allow for a smoother interaction: it is in fact evident how to say “Alexa, what is the current temperature in the corridor?” And then simply say “set the corridor thermostat to 23 degrees”, which is more natural than saying the second command by repeating “Alexa” again.
In addition, many of the users use voice assistants in open space, therefore with other people. Having devices capable of deciphering these contextual factors could make the conversation more efficient, thus providing a more user-centered experience.
3- Research behaviors will change
Research behaviors will see a big change. According to technology research firm Juniper Research, voice-based advertising revenue could reach $19 billion by 2022, thanks in large part to the growth of voice search apps on mobile devices. Brands are therefore about to experience a great change: the contact points are being transformed into listening points and organic research will be the main way in which they will have visibility.
ComScore data reveals that 50% of all searches will be via voice technology by the end of 2020. With the popularity of voice search increasing, advertising agencies and marketing experts predict that Google and Amazon will open their platforms to additional forms of paid messages.
4- Experiences will become more personalized
Voice assistants will offer increasingly personalized experiences for each user. Google Home can support up to six user accounts and detect unique voices, which allows Google Home users to customize many features. Likewise, for those who use Alexa, simply saying “learn my voice” will allow users to create separate voice profiles so that technology can detect who is speaking and thus provide personalized experiences.
5- Security will become a priority
According to a recent Microsoft report, 41% of smart speaker users in the U.S. are concerned about their privacy. But let’s go a little further, giving an example: in the near future the voice assistants will be able to plan an entire evening, that is, they will allow us to find the times of the local films, to buy tickets, to book the restaurant and the taxi. To do all these operations, it is clear that virtual assistants will need a lot of personal data, such as our address and credit card number. Since this future may not be so far away, concerns about payments and sensitive information are more than justified. Companies operating in this sector will therefore have to guarantee an adequate level of security, especially as regards purchases made through voice.
Let’s now go back to the present: it is undeniable that the progress achieved in different sectors are helping voice assistants to become more sophisticated and useful for everyday use.
Voice has now established itself as the ultimate mobile experience.
What does this mean? It means that companies that want to remain competitive on the market will have to adopt a targeted vocal strategy, alongside traditional marketing and business strategies. Now that technologies allow much deeper conversation experiences, voice represents a new opportunity, offering a new way of engagement and customer interaction. In order to take full advantage of this opportunity, very in-depth technical skills are required.
Fortunately, there are some specialized companies in the world that can help other organizations to implement adequate vocal strategies. CELI is one of these companies and, having been in the NLP field for more than twenty years, it is able to offer all the skills necessary for the development of an effective virtual assistant.
(Mariella Borghi – Marketing Manager and Matteo Amore – Computational Linguist)