Voice Bots & the power of voice technology for businesses
by Valon Rexhepi, on Sep 3, 2019 4:06:25 PM
Everyone is crazy about chatbots nowadays. And thanks to the tech giants out there like Google, Microsoft and Amazon, it’s a piece of cake for every developer out there to build something with machine learning and AI and pass the Turing Test every single time. Thanks to those giants, everyone finally can access supercomputers and a tremendous amount of processing power to make their wildest AI-dreams come true. Read on to discover how exactly AI-powered voice technology & bots are shaking up the chatbot world. Plus how companies can benefit from all this voice technology to improve their customer experience.
Wild AI dreams that come true: it’s no different for Natural Language Processing (NLP) dreams these days. NLP has evolved so much in the past few years that it would absolutely make sense to bring Microsoft Clippy back to life. This time it would be useful because, thanks to NLP, it will actually understand what you mean and you would not kill it brutally like you did back in the days. Remember it started a useless dialogue and asked you if you were writing a letter, when you were actually trying to focus on getting things done?
What if your interaction with computers could drastically improve by using what’s most natural about every human being? Yes, my title is removing all the surprise factor, I’m talking about your voice…
Voice bots are the new hype, and it’s not just hype, it’s happening as we speak.
It took 20 years for computers to get mainstream, a bit more than 6 years for smartphones. Voice speakers spiked in the second year of their existence and went mainstream in only 4,5 years.
Based on research that Voicebot conducted in the beginning of this year, one in four United States consumers have access to a smart speaker today. And this is not just happening in the US. Europe, Asia and Australia are spiking in terms of smart speaker usage, as we speak (pun intended).
When you think about it, it’s a new type of UI that will revolutionise the way we will interact with computers, smartphones, electronic devices, cars and the list goes on in the (very) near future.
What can your Voice do with this technology?
For starters, the usual things like Google-ing stuff on a daily basis, asking to play your favourite music, playing games, ... the usual stuff. Right now, 20% of the searches are done through Voice in the US and by 2020, ComScore is predicting that 50% of the searches will be Voice based.
As the voice technology is evolving and becoming more mature, it’s getting richer in features. Voice technology at this point can for example help you to cook your dinner step by step, reserve a restaurant for you and enable you to buy groceries or pizza and get it delivered at home.
And this is where it becomes very interesting for enterprises.
Finally a fresh new interface to do things differently and supercharge the customer experience!
Although making a purchase is at the bottom of the graph in terms of Voice searches at the time of writing, I strongly believe that consumers will adapt their online behaviour and their digital interactions will change very soon.
Based on a recent study from Juniper Networks, retail sales from chatbots will double annually, reaching $112 billion by 2023 while cutting costs by $439 billion a year in 2023. These figures went drastically up from $7 billion this year, as AI-powered chatbots get more sophisticated at responding to customers.
Who are the main Voice technology players out there?
Amongst others, there are 5 main Voice technology players worth looking into today:
Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple's Siri, Samsung Bixby and Microsoft Cortana.
When looking at the Voice assisted speakers, Google Home is nailing it with the support of 13 languages being Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish, Swedish and various dialects, covering a very big part of the globe and more than 1 billion devices.
That’s the most amount of languages and devices compared to the other voice bot technology vendors out there. The reason for that has to do with Google’s firm strategy on Voice-enabled devices and a very attractive platform for building voice- and chatbots called Dialogflow.
Google has always been very open on providing an open ecosystem for developers to build stuff. With Google DialogFlow, you can join a community of more than 400.000 developers for creating your chat & voice bot for any platform. You can also use Actions on Google for publishing your Voice bot on the Google Assistant enabled devices such as Android Smartphones and iPhones, as well as Google Assistant enabled speakers like Google Home and Google Home Mini.
How are companies taking advantage of Voice?
Pizza Time! Dominos Australia introduced the ability to place an online order for its pizza, just by using your voice. As a customer you link your Domino’s account to your device, specify your preferred payment method and once that’s done, you can simply ask the Google Assistant “Hey Google, ask Domino’s for my last order” and your pizza gets delivered in less than 30 minutes at home.
Hey Google, get me a pizza!"
In Belgium, ING has built a Voice-enabled bot on Google Assistant that will help its customers to get answers to the most frequently asked questions. In the near future, ING is planning on extending this virtual agent with additional features that will help their customers do stuff quicker.
There are a million other uses cases out there that you can explore at the Google Assistant website (over here).
Now that you’ve received a glance of what Voice can do, how consumers (your customers and prospects!) are using it and which advantages it can bring for companies: how do you get started with a voice bot for your business? In a follow-up blog post, I’ll share some of the best practices we put in place when building a voice bot or chatbot that fits our customer's business strategy.
Need some help?
We help enterprises like yours to build hyper-personalised customer experiences with big data, machine learning and AI. Want to talk about your voice bot or chatbot idea? Register for our Chatbothon event to try out your use case, or just drop us a line!