Which developments we can expect in the area of voice assistants this year?
This article summarizes capabilities, developments and trends for voice assistants.
1. Personalized Conversation
In the early days of chatbots, the initial goal was to be able to understand what users say. After overcoming these initial difficulties, it is now important to create a more personal interaction.
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For Google Home, it is already possible to create up to six different users. This makes it possible to distinguish between users and display for example personal calendar entries and music playlists.
Similar developments can also be found for Alexa. At the end of last year, updates were released, which makes it possible to include more contextual information and past interactions to provide a better user experience. In the coming year, more improvements in this area can be expected to create an even more personal and individual experience for the user.
2. More Humanlike Voices
Amazon announced the introduction of a Neural Text-To-Speech (NTTS) technology end of last year. This makes it possible to adapt the language style to personal preferences. So Alexa reacts to a whispered command with a whispered answer. This can be useful if you don’t want to wake up sleeping family members for example.
NTTS will also be able to improve the speech quality of voice assistants and make them sound more human. Additionally, they can adapt to certain use cases, such as reading out news like a news reporter.
Furthermore, Google has started to offer voices with different accents, such as British or American English. Similar updates that will be improving the voice quality are expected in the coming year.
3. Permanent Availability
You might also have gotten to know voice assistants through your smartphone, right?
But especially in the past year, smart speakers like Google Home and Alexa have found their way into many homes. The market for smart speakers is growing continuously and there is currently no end to it. In Q3 / 2018 19.7 million smart speakers were sold.
This year the distribution goes one step further. Now that the voice assistants have arrived in many homes, the technology will be used in other areas of everyday life. Voice assistants are already available in many newer car models. It is expected that these trends will continue to spread in the automotive industry soon.
4. Time-saving functions
Google Duplex’s call in a hair salon was one of the most discussed events in the past year. Google Duplex can now be used by users of Google Pixel Phones in some American cities such as New York or San Francisco.
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If the technology is successful there, it will be used in larger regions soon. The AI is supposed to make appointments for restaurants or the hairdresser completely autonomously and, thereby, creating significant time saving for users.
5. Voice Payments
In the beginning, voice assistants were first and foremost a toy for playing music or requesting information. In the future, however, this channel will also become increasingly interesting for companies, that would like to sell their products with the help of voice assistants.
There are already a couple of brands experimenting with voice payments as a new payment method. H&M added voice payments to Google Home at the end of last year. It is likely that many vendors will follow this trend and increase the ability to pay via voice assistants.
A big hurdle for this are security concerns. Especially in Germany, doubts about voice assistant’s security are on user’s minds. Therefore, we can expect significant progress in the area of speaker verification and identification in the coming months.