Voice Assistants: Now Reached Beyond the Hype 



Marc Rothmeyer

Do you ever have a conversation with machines? Or do they ever talk back to you? If you ever find yourself talking to appliances, you are not crazy. Millions or maybe billions like you have developed relationships with devices like phones, TV’s, and speakers to play music, or to locate an address. Today voice apps have gone wild and become ubiquitous. Just look at some of the trends

Voice will be on more devices

Voice is not just something in fashion for people who want their hands to be free. Now it has become essential, as we can always talk faster then we type. If we specifically talk about the presence of voice features, then it is everywhere you can imagine like—In your car, your home, hotels, and in other aspects of your life.  

Because of voice, it may be possible that you can talk with your washing machine and they will be talking back, offering advice or some suggestions. Today, there are about billions of devices supported by tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and Google, running on voice commands.   

Voice will be on more devices

Voice will be more useful

Until now, people haven’t used voice devices very much because the scope of tasks these voice apps perform is very narrow. If we talk about the tasks, most of the people use voice apps to find an address, start a call, dictate a text, or to set an alarm. Still, most of the apps haven’t established a seamless communication with the users.   

But in the near future, you will be able to interact with more photos apps as well as more devices in your home, and the world. And when more personalization is added by machine learning in the devices, they will be more equipped for seamless communication with users. 

Voice will have to overcome privacy concerns

Voice apps have many attributes but still have some hurdles to overcome before they get adopted all over. One of those concerns is privacy because these devices are bound to listen to your voice. But in reality, these devices only become active with some commands like “Hey Siri” or “Hey Google” or Alexa. In the proper context, these devices are not recording our conversations. 

All the companies involved in voice business take privacy concerns very seriously. Yes, privacy concerns occur, but it is not from the makers of virtual assistants that causes these issues of privacy. It is from the side of the hackers who could break into our devices and used them to spy on us.  

In one way, Voice assistants are not perfect and certainly, they have some privacy issues to overcome. But like other technologies, they are getting better day by day.   

Anyways, we want speedy work in every operation of our daily life. And we just don’t want to write some long instructions to command every machine we use. To fend-off all these issues, voice commands have entered the technology space. 

However, many tech giants in the world have already marked their presence in the voice market. But here we are going to mention the most prominent ones and explain how they have been maintaining their dominance.

Voice will have to overcome privacy concerns

Apple and voice assistants

  • Apple entered the era of voice-enabled assistants when the company launched Siri back in 2011. However, its own smart speaker HomePod has been struggling to make a mark in comparison to solutions from Google and Amazon. Well, it is not on the question mark on Apple’s ability or technical expertise, but maybe it is Siri’s inability to act perfectly why HomePod hasn’t been that widely purchased. 
  • Apple is still working on to enable the use of Siri without an internet connection
  • You are using the apple or you are not using it, it is as simple as that. Apple has always been successful to convince users to take advantage of its entire ecosystem. So the users who are not connected with the Apple universe might face difficulty to take advantage of its offerings.  

Google and voice assistants

  • Well the main advantage of Android is—it has the biggest user base in the world
  • Google is now investing heavily in its accuracy and AI-first approach to boost its capabilities on search, language, and conversational AI.
  • Recently, the tech giant has announced Google Duplex, a technology for conducting natural conversations to do some specific mundane tasks.  
  • The tech giant also launched a new venture fund for investments in voice to boost capabilities in healthcare
Google and voice assistants

Amazon and voice assistants

  • Fortunately, Amazon holds a significant market share because of its flagship product, Alexa. It is also very much popular among users for its efficient voice capabilities
  • Since it has seamless connectivity with one of the largest e-commerce stores, users can shop over by using voice 
  • Amazon’s biggest challenge with the voice feature is to convince Alexa’s users to buy online with voice commands. This time, this feature works best with repetitive purchases. 
  • To sort this issue, the tech giant has introduced Amazon Choice, which is a label given to various products across the site that tags products as high-rated, well-priced or durable. So Alexa will only recommend tag products first to increase the sales.
  • Amazon is also investing heavily to integrate Alexa into its smart infotainment systems. 

Microsoft and voice assistants

  • Microsoft has entered the smart speaker market with Cortana early. But still struggling to compete with other tech giants ever since. 
  • The tech giant has already integrated with the Amazon Alexa with Cortana and has some plans for Google Assistant.   
  • Right now, the market share of Microsoft in the voice market is small. But by baking on some of these partnerships, Cortana has successfully been able to increase the popularity of voice assistants in the corporate world.

Facebook and voice assistants

  • The social media giant has started its journey in voice through a smart speaker called portal. This is meant for making AI-enhanced video calls with Facebook Messenger. It responds to basic voice commands when playing music or to facilitate video calls. Thanks to its partnership with Amazon, it comes to Alexa.
  • However, Facebook has some plans for the voice market, but for now, it has only some limited functionalities of Portal.
  • Maybe, for now, it has limited potential for the voice market. But it has great potential because it has billions of users and it also owns the most popular apps in the world, WhatsApp.

Conclusion: Future of the Voice Assistant and A.I

Voice search has also become quintessential for an amazing mobile experience. But still many organizations are still not acquainted with the potential the voice market has. Maybe the absence of resources and expertise makes it tough for organizations to work on voice search. 

Experts claim that with a mistake rate of just 8%, voice search can change the way users search on the internet and how they interact with the devices.

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