Media, Money, and the Metaverse: Voice in 2022 and Beyond
What is the future of voice technology?
I sat down with James “JP” Poulter, the CEO of Vixen Labs, to discuss where he sees voice technology going in 2022 and beyond. Vixen Labs is a full service voice agency working with Fortune and FTSE 500 brands to develop voice and conversational strategies.
However, to look ahead to the future, you have to see where you are today. Vixen Labs partnered with the Open Voice Network to take an in-depth look at people’s behaviors around voice assistance on smart speakers, mobile, and web across the US, UK, and Germany. All of the findings are in their Voice Consumer Index 2021 report.
There are some key findings that especially relate to what JP sees in 2022 and beyond for voice, such as:
- 31% of people use voice assistants daily with almost half using them at least once a week.
- Outside of music and weather, most usage is in asking questions via a search engine – product and service information (80%), local businesses (70%), and brand information (70%).
- Most use voice in multiple locations.
The study also highlights some areas of concern and opportunity:
- While nearly 60% of those surveyed use voice technology at some level, that means 40% are not using it.
- While data privacy receives a lot of attention, spatial privacy is a real concern in voice technology. When you are typing something, it is easier to be private, but if you are at your desk or commuting and trying to interact with your voice, those around you can hear you. That is affecting adoption.
- User levels show extensive use of voice to find information on businesses. Is your brand getting in front of voice users?
The full Voice Consumer Index 2021 report is available on the Vixen Labs website. Grab your copy of the white paper now – there’s plenty of information packed in it!
When forward-looking, JP divides the voice universe into three areas: Media, Money, and Metaverse. I asked him more about each of these...
How is voice going to enhance media consumption?
There are obvious consumer advantages to using voice to control entertainment – finding the shows you want, or would watch but don’t know about yet, in the vast streamingverse (new word alert).
It can already be used to switch channels or control the volume of live TV – but implementation of this has, so far, been less than ideal. The interoperability between providers and technology is virtually non-existent. Enter the open standards being developed by the Open Voice Network.
Consumers will see amazing benefits as natural language understanding grows. Imagine being able to sit on your couch and ask something like, “What professional sporting events are on now on any of my providers” or “Show me newly released movies that are less than 2 hours long” and your TV updates, as you speak, with show options across all of your channels!
How will people start making money with voice?
Monetizing voice is really in its infancy. Brands are starting to be present, to utilize voice to improve user experiences, and more. But the possibilities are exponential.
Consumers are getting more used to paying for high-quality experiences across media, and we expect to see this growing across voice technology uses.
Furthermore, brands who are able to understand the data provided to them by voice interactions will find themselves more able to quickly meet consumer demands – as well as predict future trends and needs.
JP predicted, “I think next year we’ll see some of the big retailers in the world start making voice a preference for the way in which we shop them. Then we will see a massive awakening to the data that sits behind understanding the conversations with customers.”
How will voice enhance the metaverse?
The metaverse - the virtual and augmented reality experiences that are projected to become more commonplace - will require voice to be a primary way to interact. And consumers are being trained now to adapt.
JP points to the AirPods he is using, “These are great headphones and they are little training wheels for the future where Apple sells you a pair of AR glasses. Everytime you talk to Siri or read something back to you on your headphones it is training you for the future where you’re going to be wearing your computer. Voice becomes the natural control paradigm.”
The metaverse raises some new privacy concerns. Your voice becomes your identity in the virtual world. You can make your avatar whatever you want - but you can’t change your voice. How do you handle voice security when voice biometrics is essential?
My post here really just touches on what I talked about with JP. But never fear - he is presenting at Voice 2021 on this very topic. If you are interested in what possibilities 2022 and beyond hold for voice and your business, join JP for his full presentation and a chance for Q&A.