Alexa, Cortana, Siri. These are the names of voice assistants created by companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple. The use of voice assistants to obtain information in cell phones and PCs, and to organize activities in houses and offices is a rising trend that combines many other factors such as Artificial Intelligence, Data Management, and Security. New approaches that once sounded far-fetched no longer do, such as the use of voice first, before text, and using the internet and commands to control our electronic devices.
The demand for voice assistants like Alexa is a reality that indicates a growing boom of technology needed for not only the creation but also the operation of these types of devices.
According to Canalys data, the sector would reach 150 million intelligent assistants sent at the end of 2019. A business that will continue to increase to 225 million units in 2020, a commercial explosion that will continue as 29.5% of buyers around the world are hoping to acquire one of the different voice assistants in the coming years.
Consumers have already given their verdict: 51% already use voice first in their day to day. In addition, more than half (56%) see a very promising future for those voice assistants that can be used both at home and in business.
Voice search and smart speakers are a type of technology that allows users to perform a search on the Internet by asking a question verbally on a smartphone, smart device, or computer instead of using the traditional method of writing the query in a search box. The query is then answered by a search engine or a digital assistant.
Users’ favorite voice assistants are as follows:
Among the main devices on the market, Amazon (Echo/Alexa) leads the sales of smart speakers with a market share of 22%, according to Strategic Analytics. It is followed, by Google Home, and then Alibaba, Xiaomi, and Apple (with their assistant Siri).
The growth will not be so exorbitant in the coming years, although, according to Kantar, voice searches will account for up to 40% of global searches in 2022.
But what could change with the rise of these voice assistants?
What if keyboards were not needed to interact with the devices? Just what users are asking in a Pindrop survey echoed by ZDnet. Almost half of users (48%) expect that the use of keyboards will be drastically reduced in 2023.
Even today, voice assistants are not very useful in the business world, but their tendency can and will go further if entrepreneurs and companies know how to take advantage of them. In fact, one in four companies have considered its use for the management of all their interactions.
There are many other business situations where it can also be used: in a meeting to manage information or take notes or a point of sale where customers need information quickly. Just imagine that a virtual assistant takes note of everything you want to write in a business meeting with a client.
These ideas also need people to implement them, plus security and regulation conditions that they do not yet have. However, time can put them on the table sooner rather than later, because there is already a large number of public organizations that are working on this.
Among the most common uses of voice assistants, commercial use is rising stronger every day. Today, users use these voice assistants to interact with other devices or appliances in their homes (63%) and at the moment, only 3% search this way. That means that, when it’s time to buy, clients prefer to use voice first.
However, many (51%) can already be purchased through these helpers. An open door to exploit commercial options with which to attract consumers give more value to purchases.
In this sense, Amazon is already making its first steps with its smart speakers, controlled by Echo/Alexa, a spearhead for other stores and vendors that can mark the way forward.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect for the future that voice assistants open is the possibility of automatizing everyday actions to maximize time. With the help of machine learning, already integrated into these systems, and Artificial Intelligence, the next step, we can see great advances in the very near future.
Thus, tasks as mundane as buying bread every day, turning on the radio when we wake up, or simply creating light environments in our home will be much more automated.
How can you apply this to your company? The window of opportunity is immense and there is only one technology provider needed to know how to make the most of it.
With a little creativity, you can adapt your website, online business, and internal processes to the service of voice assistants. This will take the forefront of a land little explored by entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Erik J. Olson is the Founder & CEO of Array Digital—a marketing agency that enables its clients to achieve their dreams, fulfill their missions, and impact more lives with their services.