The Potential of Voice – The New Age Interface

by Dina Abdelrazik | Mar. 15, 2017

Voice-enabled technologies have experienced massive growth in the consumer market since the introduction of Siri in 2011. The momentum in voice technologies is similar to the Internet boom in the 1990s. Companies who did not get on board and create a web presence, especially in commerce, fell behind to their competitors. The voice-first movement may elicit the same effect. For companies to capitalize on the current market opportunity, they must consider enabling a voice experience with their product and service offerings.

The first decision a company has to make before doing so is to decide whether to develop their own proprietary in-house solution or to integrate with a readily-available solution. Both approaches pose varying strengths and weaknesses. On one hand, creating an intelligent interface that is able to process natural language takes an immense amount of time, resources, and expertise—a level of investment that a company may not want or have the means to undertake. Partnerships and integration provide a time-to-market advantage and the ability to leverage technology that has been carefully crafted by experts in the field. However, creating a proprietary solution allows for a company to have full control of its solution, product performance, and reliability.

Companies like TiVo and Comcast have chosen to build their own solution and have found success in the connected entertainment space in doing so. Others have partnered with voice-based personal assistants like Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Assistant. As Parks Associates finds that 45% of U.S. broadband households use a voice-enabled personal assistant through an application or dedicated device, the opportunity to leverage personal assistants’ consumer base and popularity in usage is clear.

Dominos has found that in promoting voice, among many of its other consumer engagement techniques, its sales expereince enhanced. Many factors, such as digital ordering, voice-enabled ordering platforms, price points, and advertising, attributed to its 12% increase in U.S. based same-store sales in the fourth quarter of last year, and a 10.5% increase over the year. By creating a custom skill for Alexa, Dominos was able to provide an engaging user interface for its pizza purchasing process. Not only can a voice interface provide a robust user interface but also positively affect a company’s bottom line. As the quality and accuracy of voice interfaces continues to improve over the coming years, companies across multiple verticals will be able to utilize voice to improve user experience, streamline business operations, and create a stickier customer through engagement.

For more information on voice technologies, Parks Associates’ industry report, Voice Assistants and Technologies: Ecosystem and Market Leaders, assesses leading personal assistant devices, evaluates the impact of voice control on various market segments, presents consumer preferences and usage for voice interfaces, and forecasts sales of smart speakers with personal assistants through 2021.

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