Voice – It Ain’t All About Alexa

With the development and adoption of virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana, and Siri, many are looking at voice enabled IoT devices and smart homes as the future of voice. While smart homes are exciting, there are many other industries where voice will become an innovative force. This panel discussed the category of voice technology, concerns around it and the larger changes and implications we can expect.

Speakers:

  • Kinuko Masako – Co-Founder, SmartEar
  • Greg Apple – Head of Marketing, HelloGbye
  • John Wang – Partner, Deloitte
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What is this category and how do you define it?

“Voice is a mechanism to get you where you want to get to, faster.” –
Greg Apple – Head of Marketing, HelloGbye

It is still a fairly new category and is commonly associated with being hands free, without an expectation of privacy and as being imperfect. For instance, Siri has only recently gone from 80% accuracy to 95% accuracy on voice search. The technology is still even learning how people talk and adopting to their needs.

Applications

The applications should start with what the user really needs it. In its current form, it is handsfree and contextual.

“The key to adoption and success is about solving some kind of fundamental need that the user has.” – John Wang – Partner, Deloitte

Concerns – Privacy and Security

Millennials, more than any other group of people, are willing to share their information publicly in order to get better experiences and are less concerned about privacy. However there are people who believe that the wider implementation of voice technology is a threat to their privacy. The fact that the legislation has not caught up with the times, does not help.

What are some of the larger changes we can expect when it comes to voice technology?

Some people believe that it can take up to 2030 or even 2070 to introduce true AI. One of the reason why Siri has not been super effective for all of us is because it cannot do multiple things at once. As voice technology evolves we will not only get there faster, it may even provide a way to aggregate services and to solve bigger problems.

When it comes to voice technology, who has to do the learning – humans or machines?

It is a combination of both. The technology is not that advanced yet, whereby it can solely learn from us but, in the future, with the help of predictive abilities and analytics it will get there.

What is the major hurdle in getting mass adoption for voice technology?

It does not work perfectly yet and people have come to expect perfection when it comes to consumer products.

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