The scenario out of science fiction movies, where we’d come home and just start speaking to our personal home computer or digital assistant which would take care of our every need, is not too far from being realised anymore.
Enjoying the luxury of always having an assistant at our side, who can support us in our daily tasks 24/7, is making its way into our lives at a rapid pace of adoption. Granted their functionalities are still limited, but with time voice assistants will be able to help us with more and more activities.
The beginnings of the work done in this area reaches back to the 1970ies. When voice recognition of computers was not much more than a grand vision. It took until Apple’s voice assistant Siri entered the stage to gain a significant leap forward because it was the first personal voice assistant that was broadly available to the public as part of the iPhone.
Voice Assistants are a revolutionary technology
What are voice assistants and how do they work – is the question we want to explain to you in this article.
In general voice assistants react to voice commands and give the user relevant information about his inquiry. Presently voice assistants are already able to process orders of products, answer questions, perform actions like playing music or start a simple phone call with a friend.
The basics of the technology currently exist and the next few years will be used to develop these artificially intelligent assistants even further, enabling them to have more complex capabilities.
The long-term vision for voice assistants is to act as a smart bridge between humans and the vast knowledge and capacities which the internet delivers. Taking away the need to use any device or screen to interact with the internet, technology or other humans in different locations. Soon we’ll be able to do it all with our voices only.
Smartspeakers – The connecting link in voice assistant communication
For the voice-enabled world so-called smartspeakers have shown to hold a lot of potential. These have a microphone to “hear” and speakers to communicate back to us or play music. The smart part is their direct connection to the internet and advanced speech recognition software.
The software can understand and react to specific commands. Asking the voice assistant in the smartspeaker for tomorrow’s weather is a good example. The assistant will decipher the human voice command and then act independently by searching the web for the right answer and reading it back to the user.
The smartspeaker itself is only the physical part of the smart assistant, the connecting device between bits and bytes and our human needs and demands.
The software is the actual core of the artificial intelligence that enables the smartspeaker to answer our specific questions and human commands. Being able to understand and process our questions is the great challenge voice assistants have to master. Meaning a voice assistant has to be able to learn and make use of languages to be able to pick the right answers to our commands.
In the combination of the physical and digital parts of the smartspeaker lies their great potential to act as a bridge in-between humans and their computers or machines.
Recent studies show that the rate of adoption of these new smart devices is even faster than it was with the internet or mobile, as humans are getting more used to technology being a consistent part of our lives. Furthermore, talking is just part of human nature and makes it even easier to interact with smartspeakers which are comparatively affordable at around 100 €.
The future use of Voice Assistants
The importance of “voice” is undeniable. For this very reason, companies are already figuring out the best ways to make use of voice assistants and integrating them into their marketing and customer services.
To be on top of the game, it is especially important to focus on the new ways customers might interact with voice-enabled machines and develop strategies accordingly.
Being able to engage customers on a conversational level is going to open up entirely new ways of brand to customer interactions. Voice still has a long way to go, but it has always been the primary way of human communication. Including machines in this way of interacting holds many exciting potentials.
Voice assistants are already being used in multiple different ways and industries: They are used in smartphones and smartspeakers, in mobile apps and operating systems, in cars, in sales, in medical care, and telecommunications.
Following the latest developments in this space will be vital for companies’ future successes. As “voice” is here to stay and voice assistants and smartspeakers will be some of the primary drivers of its development.
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