If you’ve turned on a television lately, chances are you’ve seen your fair share of Amazon Echo advertisements. The retail giant’s AI, Alexa, is rapidly becoming a staple in many households. Its convenient voice software makes it easy to make purchases, search for information, and control other applications throughout your home. In fact, 2018 is seeing a fairly large growth in conversational voice users. As for what the future holds, here are some likely developments for the future of voice applications.
If you’ve ever pulled out your iPhone to ask Siri a question only to receive an answer that has very little to do with what you’re asking, you’re not alone. When it comes to follow-up questions, it only gets worse. In fact, outside of some of Google’s applications, many conversational AI programs have difficulty understanding contextual questions. Put simply, context refers to understanding not only what a user is saying, but why and where they’re saying it, as well.
To put it into practice, imagine you pull up your Google Home assistant and ask about tomorrow’s weather in your town, which is New York City for this example. The app replies with a basic overview of the day’s forecast. You then follow up with a question about the likelihood of rain. Google knows that you’re asking this about your specific location, eliminating the need for a query such as “Will it rain tomorrow in New York City?” As such, it is able to serve you an answer that provides a better solution. Not all AI have this ability as of yet.
If you have even a passing interest in the current state of digital marketing, you undoubtedly know that professionals in the search engine optimization niche have their hands full deciding just how to navigate the increased prevalence of voice search. One of the more complex barriers is that voice applications don’t have a visual component. That means voice queries and searches lack the visibility of a traditional search engine. How do you provide users enough options to satisfy their search queries outside of voice assistance apps?
One potential industry shift may come in the form of paid messages. It presents an interesting parallel to radio advertisements in the sense that a paid message would precede the results of searches done via voice applications. Voice search is only growing in popularity, with some estimates stating it’ll take up over 50% of all search traffic by 2020. Therefore, companies are rushing to address how they facilitate search and monetize it.
Another thing Google Home excels at is differentiating a user’s experience through voice detection software. The company posits that Google Home can identify up to six different voices and provide each user with their own customized settings and personalized query results. Individual users can ask for their personal calendar details, linked account, payment details, and tailored news snippets.
As voice continues to saturate the market, there’s no doubting that assistant personalization will become more prevalent. In fact, Amazon states that it intends for Alexa’s voice profile personalization capabilities to be on par with Google Home’s sooner than later, and they are actively working on solutions for multi-user setups. This will be a major factor in family voice setups, and furthered voice recognition technology will also serve to bolster application security in the event of a breach or a theft.
More on the horizon
It’s hard to tell just how explosive and ubiquitous voice will become. As of yet, in-home voice setups are still in the realm of luxury purchases and whole home integrations have a fairly high cost barrier to entry. It’s not unreasonable to think that with the increased prevalence of voice applications and new service tiers for models will cause variations in price and affordability. One thing is for certain, though. For the foreseeable future, voice applications are here to stay.