Voice technology, once simply a fancy trend, is now becoming a key feature for the majority of personal and enterprise applications alike. Today, over 47.3 million people in the U.S. alone have smart speakers at home. Nearly 62% of these users are also inclined to use voice search when they shop online, turning business voice solutions into a crucial instrument for companies who want to step up their game.
Advanced voice solutions can become decisive in expanding your client base, increasing sales, and delivering a better user experience. Read on to learn more about the functioning and prospects of this technology.
What is voice technology?
Voice solutions enable users to operate various electronic devices, perform searches, and complete tasks using their voices. Essentially, this technology represents a powerful combination of IoT hardware, artificial intelligence processing functionality, and networking, all working together to make machines capable of understanding and responding to natural speech.
The most widely used types of enterprise voice solutions currently include digital assistants and home/office management systems. The best voice technology on the market can take commands and set alarms, change room temperature or lighting, schedule meetings, book flights, search for information, and enable hands-free communication, among other things.
How does voice technology work?
The first step towards understanding speech is digitizing it. Voice command products take in phrases as input and transform them into a spectrogram: a chart that shows how frequencies in the given sound sample change with time. This helps identify letters, words, and background noises.
Then, developers use natural language processing (NLP) algorithms to help computers distinguish the meaning and sentiment behind a person’s words. Since NLP utilizes machine learning principles, the more a user talks to the app, the easier it becomes for the system to recognize their specific patterns of speech.
In addition to basic speech recognition, some direct voice solutions can differentiate between several people, using voice recognition. If this feature is present, the app will look for particular frequencies, intonations, and patterns to confirm the speaker’s right to authenticate.
4 main applications of voice assistants
Voice-controlled digital assistant brands like Alexa for Business and Microsoft Cortana aid businesses across numerous sectors. Let’s take a brief look at which industries currently benefit from this technology the most.
Banking and finance
Multiple digital payment systems, including PayPal and Venmo, as well as banks like Garanti, enable their clients to conduct transactions through voice technology.
Some banks even use voice recognition tech as an identity verification method. Although it’s not yet the most reliable way of authentication, voice technology may reach a future where it becomes essential in checking a person’s identity.
Voice control technology helps the medical sector by making data input and processing faster, enabling patients to control their hospital rooms, and helping disabled or recovering persons better interact with technology and their environment.
Voice synthesis in retail helps with personalized promotions, while voice recognition allows customers to make purchases through their phones and home assistants.
Some hotels already welcome customers with Echo-equipped rooms. This system allows guests to control room parameters, such as lighting, temperature, TV, and music, with their voices.
What are the benefits of enterprise voice solutions?
Now that we’ve discussed how integrated voice solutions are used by companies in different fields, it’s time to talk about the two largest impacts of this technology: both on the corporate and customer sides.
Improve customer experience and boost sales
Implementing modern voice technologies helps your business grow by achieving the following:
- clients buy more through voice assistants when they are available;
- the process of conducting a conversation—even with a machine—strengthens the bond between a customer and your brand; and
- voice marketing solutions enable greater personalization.
You can also improve the internal functioning of your company by enabling the following:
- faster hands-free searches;
- speaking instead of typing;
- editing and proofreading documents with voice, thus making it possible for employees to combine tasks more effectively; and
- scheduling calls and meetings faster.
How to develop a strategy for implementing voice technology
1. Identify a purpose
Before diving into development, study your company’s operations and requirements carefully. Identify the areas where voice technology could optimize some processes. Once you know exactly what you need, you can start looking into custom development or test some of the applicable voice recognition products on the market.
2. Choose the features
After you form a general idea of what the desired solution should be able to accomplish, write down more specific features and capabilities of your future software.
3. Find developers
When it comes to creating voice technology applications, make sure the provider company builds solutions that are capable of working with context, supply short and precise answers, have all the required features, follow the latest voice technology trends, and offer strong security.
4. Get a prototype and test it
Before moving the development to the final stage, it’s a good idea to launch a test version of the app and determine how well it performs.
5. Launch the app
After you release the app, document all reported inconsistencies, bugs, and general feedback to identify the areas of possible improvement.
The biggest obstacles to voice technology integration
Although voice control technology is incredibly promising, it still remains in its infancy with multiple significant challenges to overcome. Let’s take a look at the four most pressing issues.
1. Privacy and control
The issue of privacy is one of the most pressing for modern global voice solutions. This challenge is split between the following three aspects:
- Data security: must be protected from information and identity theft;
- User privacy: must safeguard against accidental activation;
- Access control: must only react to certain voices to prevent unauthorized or malicious interactions.
2. Convenient and comfortable interaction
Consider that not all users and employees will be comfortable with Voice User Interfaces (VUIs). For some, it’s a matter of habit, while others may simply feel weird speaking to their phones.
Voice recognition technology has made a leap in the past years, yet it’s still not at its peak of performance and accuracy. Besides common errors, developers also have to deal with different target languages and accents, all of which require additional resources and time to include.
4. Complicated integration
Although this challenge is one of the easiest to overcome with the help of software providers like Eastern Peak, the integration process for voice command technology is typically complex. Prepare for larger computational power demands, as well as the need to hire new staff, including speech recognition engineers, data scientists, and other specialists, depending on the requirements for the app.
Enterprise voice technology: Recap
The surge of voice control technology has caught the eye of businesses in numerous fields, from healthcare and finance to retail and entertainment, and the steady growth of this innovation is likely to continue.
Voice-activated products are equally appealing to enterprises and their customers. For clients, they offer an enhanced experience, while companies benefit from increased sales, greater customer retention and brand visibility, streamlined processes, and improved employee productivity.
Although this technology still requires a lot of polishing, now is a perfect time to prepare for the future and incorporate voice solutions into your business.