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Designing Voice for Humans

The scope of voice technology really is global. One of the many countries in which voice tech has seen massive growth is Japan. Aimi Nakajima is a Japanese Voice UI UX designer and CEO of VOICE Ale. She joined us at VOICE Global 2021 on June 16 to discuss how VOICE Ale came to be; some new voice tech projects her company is working on, and her company’s vision for the future.

Voice tech - made in Japan

Voice tech is big in Japan, and, like everywhere else on the globe, the pandemic made it even bigger. As a result, the big players in voice tech (i.e., Amazon and Google) have always had a strong focus on the Japanese market.

But now, Aimi and her company, VOICE Ale, are developing their own vocal assistant with the potential to grow the Japanese voice tech market. Aimi provided insights into this initiative: “It’s a huge challenge because our customers are used to existing vocal assistants while we’re designing a new one from scratch,” said Aimi.

Another area of intense growth in Japan and worldwide is the Internet of Things (IoT) market. And voice-enabled smart appliances drive a significant portion of that growth. VOICE Ale is active on that front as well and is currently developing a voice-enabled air conditioner.

Aimi discussed some of the snags you can run into when writing custom Alexa skills and Google actions for smart appliances. She also shared her thoughts on some of the challenges of building voice-enabled devices specific to the Japanese market. As she says, “I’m sure that as voice technology develops, it will alleviate the obstacles, both mental and physical obstacles in the design and the adoption of the technology. But currently, there are still many issues to solve.”

A vocal future

When dealing with an emerging industry that’s still in flux, it’s always interesting to hear how the players in that market position themselves regarding the future. At VOICE Global 2021, Aimi revealed her vision on the growth of voice tech for the near and far future. She also explored potential directions the development of voice tech could take and some of the key population segments that could drive its growth: “Voice technology is essential to people of all ages, but especially to children and teenagers. These are two very different kinds of users, but they both have huge potential.”

Missed VOICE Global live? Watch Aimi Nakajima discuss the benefits and the pitfalls of developing voice tech in Japan at VOICE Global on-demand here. View the VOICE Global speaker lineup to see what other engaging speakers joined us across a variety of industries.

VOICE Global