Voice-enabling technology is becoming more popular, and many estimate that it could be the next big thing to impact the business world. There are many ways that these devices could positively influence the corporate sphere, though as with any innovation, challenges exist as well.
Growth of Voice Technology
Several different brands of smart speakers are now available, and it is estimated that about 43 million Americans own one of their own. According to Google, 20 percent of searches are now done using this technology, and it is believed that 30 percent of online browsing will be done this way within two years.
Yet this popularity in people’s home lives has not translated to the workplace; it seems as if everybody recognizes the potential usefulness of this technology, but only 31 percent of professionals say that they use it at the office. However, this looks poised to change in the near future.
Emerging Technologies And Their Applications
According to Pindrop, about 75 percent of businesses are looking to invest in ustomer-facing systems like Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant. Other systems are also getting some buzz from businesses, including IBM’s Watson Assistant. This one has the advantage of using a company’s own dataset, and as a result, does not share information with IBM (in contrast to Alexa for Business, which provides data to its parent company, Amazon).
The Spark Assistant, made by Cisco, is another device which could have interesting effects on companies. Based on an experimental app made by the company MindMeld, it is designed to listen in on business meetings and pull up search results based on what it hears people discussing. Potentially distracting, sure, but it could also be quite useful. As the technology continues to advance, there may soon be devices which can even participate in discussions by answering questions or piping in with facts.
Potential Benefits of Voice Technology
These devices can obviously be very useful and could increase productivity in a variety of ways: taking notes, for example, so that a person can more easily focus on other tasks, and easily answering questions and requests from workers. They may even be able to arrange meetings with a simple command, freeing up time that would be used writing out e-mails.
Another benefit: voice technology can be especially useful for those with disabilities that make it harder to move.
Potential Problem: Searching
There is one notable issue with voice-command technology, however: while it makes web searching as easy as voicing a question, it can only provide one result. In other words, if the top answer to your query is not useful, you cannot view the second-highest choice. This is especially contentious because some web browsers, such as Google, have been known to promote their own results over those of other companies.
So far, no one has come up with a good solution to this issue. With the technology sure to advance, however, we can hope that one is found soon.