August Episode: Trends & Insights Pulsating through The Voice Ecosystem
Yesterday’s “VOICE Talks” featured the latest developments in voice technology, including how developers and marketers are evolving their practices to meet the needs of increasingly savvy users. Megan Grace made her debut as the show’s new host. Experts across the field joined her to discuss some of the shifting trends pulsating throughout the voice community -- with a potential impact on the way brands, marketers and developers approach their work to meet customer expectations.
So what are the trends that are about to erupt and make an impact across voice?
Here’s what we learned from the folks who have their finger on the pulse of the voice ecosystem:
Marketers - Listen Up!
With 91% of all consumers leveraging voice, James Poulter, CEO of Vixen Labs, shared findings from the “Voice Consumer Index 2021,” an in-depth look at people’s behaviors around voice assistants in the US, UK, and Germany. According to James, voice is becoming one of the primary ways that consumers will connect with the digital world. Voice is no longer considered an “emerging technology,” with 57 percent of people in the US, UK and Germany using voice assistants. In fact, at least 50% of people in these markets use voice more than once a week on a wide range of devices.
What was most surprising? Consumers are much savvier than we tend to assume. And the way they learn how to interact with voice tech is mainly through trial and error. Most consumers in the US use their mobile devices as the gateway to immersive experiences in the car, home, and office. This shows how “we need to be thinking of the phone as the primary interface of voice,” said James.
Most importantly, James shared that voice in the marketing funnel is alive and well. About 40% of all users in all marketers are willing to make purchases via voice. Voice is a marketing channel that should be considered alongside mobile and web.
Megan Grace summed it up perfectly when she shared that marketers could be doing more to accommodate and reach the needs of users. “It means that there are tons of unlocked experiences for voice,” she said.
Top Trends in Voice Right Now
Daniel Hill, community manager at VoiceBrew, shared the top five consumer trends in voice seen over the summer. According to Daniel, those are:
- Consumers use voice to turn on the car and A/C before they get in.
- They are using routines to turn off devices at home for cost savings.
- They are spending more time at home and investing in upgraded new in-home devices (with expectations that they are voice-enabled).
- We now see more consumers continuing their audio experiences wherever they go. They might start listening to a podcast in their home and continue listening from their car as they drive to the office.
- They are purchasing voice devices for family and friends.
What 3 commands are trending right now? According to Daniel, they are related to:
- Remembering where individual’s parked their cars.
- Enabling in-car experiences (such as games or music that the whole family can enjoy).
- Teaching your voice assistant to say your name correctly.
What top 3 commands have you asked your device this past month? Post a video or image on social with your response tagging @voicetalksai and using #3commands. You could be featured in the show, on our blog or win a new Google device.
Daniel also described what he predicts will soon be the top three trends in voice. (We won’t give those away here. Watch Daniel’s segment to find out what they are.)
A Movement Towards Emotional Intelligence
Joti Balani, founder & managing director at Freshriver.ai, and the founder of the New Jersey chapter of Women in Voice shared insights she’s learned from advising Fortune 100 enterprise clients as they make the shift to voice. For Joti, clients must build brand equity through AI, data and social sciences.
According to Joti, "Voice is inherently a very powerful medium that humans have been using to communicate since the beginning of time. While technology has made it faster, better, and cheaper, there's now a new factor at play that has to be considered, and that is emotional intelligence." Conversational AI needs to be framed by including diversity, ethics, empathy, and equity in mind. Voice tech needs to reflect the beings we are. It requires emotional "awareness" or intelligence - in order to successfully move forward with AI. (View our previous post on the topic here.)
The Conversational Designer’s Job Is Evolving
Kane Simms, the founder of VUX World, whiteboarded how the conversational AI process currently works, and in his opinion, how their roles will need to evolve. According to Kane, the conversational designer's job will need to be about finding content, defining content, and writing content that is fit for consumption. In other words, conversational AI today should be much more fluid -- much like his incredible whiteboard drawing that he shared in the segment -- and designers will need to consider a more open dialog as a result. Their roles will be more about writing and considering content, copyrighting, and building designs to listen in a more efficient and natural way. Today, the one thing that conversational designers can do more of is user research. As NLU gets more demand specific, designers will be thinking more about their designing content.
Voice As An Operating System
In conversation with Megan, Dr. Teri Fisher, founder, editor & host at The Voice Den & Voice in Canada, shared his predictions on future trends in voice tech. According to Dr. Fisher, voice is a natural interface, and as such, it is becoming the new “operating system” for people and businesses. What makes voice-enabled technologies so compelling? Dr. Fisher says it’s because ‘V.O.I.CE.’ stands for Versatile, Omnipresent, Intuitive, Contextual, and Efficient.
One hundred years after the last pandemic, Dr. Fisher also predicts that just as the last pandemic and the industrial revolution spurred cultural and technological advances in the roaring 20s, we’ll experience another technological evolution -- with voice leading the way.
How is voice your OS? Be sure to follow his #VoiceismyOS campaign on social media and share how voice is helping make your life easier.