If you have a tendency to walk along muttering under your breath then you’re in luck – pretty soon people will no longer assume you’re losing your grip on reality, they’ll just think that you’re using voice controlled tech – which, luckily, is tipped to be the next big thing.
Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Feb, Jae-woan Byun, the CTO of SK Telecom, said that all the voice offerings we have at the moment are “boring for users” but that a “second tsunami” was on its way to shake things up. Normally tsunamis come with their own health warning, but in this case, it’s more a case of preparing your business for the incoming tide.
Especially as it seems to be a view shared by others too. Scott Huffman, senior engineering director at Google, made it clear that Google sees voice as playing one of the biggest roles in new era of tech. The Samsung Smart Home plans are massively voice focused too, and allow residents to carry out nifty functions; for example, saying ‘Goodnight’ to the TV will turn it off as the lights will slowly dim, giving you time to drag yourself and your evening junk upstairs without having to battle – hands full – with the lightswitch.
So, what can we expect in this new era of the Voice?
- They will be a big part of wearables. From Google Glass to smartwatches, expect to see a lot of people walking around chattering to themselves.
- Private and secure. Especially with all the recent security scandals, the new tech – from wearables to the internet of things – is leading us down a new – potentially dangerous – garden path. Encryption will become default and for most private calls there will be continuous authentication, rather than just at the beginning and end.
- Reinventing. They’ll use voice to find ways to make calls easier, such as more intuitive ways to dial than the traditional keypad.
- Application-embedded features. The ability to process more metadata and tell us more about the inbound calls will maximise all available information from calls.
- Time is valuable. Calls will become more fluid, for example, giving options for people to jump in and out. Cold calls will also come with a voice message pitching as to why the person should answer.
- Recordable. Calls will automatically be recorded so we can search through them like we would any other past message
- Intelligence Assistants. Siri and other voice assistants will become more popular. We already have Google Now and Siri but companies will be cat-fighting to take new ones to the next level of AI; they’ll probably start to become more like PAs than smartphones. Let’s just hope they don’t make them so good we end up falling for them…
- More customisable. As a southerner in the north, I appreciate the pain of not understand what’s being said, and understanding different accents is probably (for my sake, hopefully) harder for a machine. So, they’ll start to take into account accents, dialects and other user-specific context too for easier and more accurate usage.
So, as it looks like pretty soon we’ll be encouraged to talk to our devices more, businesses should already be thinking about how they can cash in on this. If you produce hardware, it looks like it should probably be voice-friendly; if your business has any kind of software, how could you maximise the potential for voice compatibility? Get thinking now, because this journey’s going to be guided by voices, and it’s only just beginning.