Voice-based technology has come a long way recently. Your first encounter with the technology might have been to speak commands – repeatedly – to a glitch-prone GPS device where you had to repeat yourself several times. Today’s apps are significantly more reliable, convenient and cheaper. Let’s take a closer look at some of the major trends in voice technology and AI.
Three Ways Voice-Activated AI Has Changed The Landscape Since 2011
Ten years ago, offering voice-activated technology to customers was incredibly difficult. You had to build everything from scratch. If that wasn’t hard enough, you also had to convince people to speak to a computer instead of picking up the phone. That all started to change a few years ago when the largest technology companies launched reliable voice-based technology to the masses.
1. Siri Introduces Voice-Activated Tech To The Masses. Launched in 2011, Siri was Apple’s breakthrough voice assistant. Some pundits dismissed it as a toy when it came out, but usage numbers don’t lie:
That’s a usage base larger than the population of the USA, Canada and UK combined! Whether they know it or not, these users are relying on AI and voice-activated technology on a daily basis.
2. Smart Speakers Extend Voice-Activated Technology To Third Parties. Google and Amazon were the next major companies to join the voice-activated technology game.
That’s just part of the story. Amazon’s Alexa is particularly significant since it encouraged other companies like Capital One, Uber and Sony to build apps on top of their platform.
3. Voice-Activated Arrives In The Business. Companies may have been slow to adopt voice-activated technology, but they have finally joined the game. At first, companies focused on text-based chatbots to generate more marketing leads on websites and social media sites. That capability is now extending to the enterprise.
Raw technological innovation is just part of the story here. The takeoff in voice activation is here to stay because legal and social trends mandate it. As of 2019, 16 US states prohibit the use of hand-held phones while driving. That reality means drivers need a reliable way to use their devices while driving — enter speech-to-text features. The second trend is the drive to provide greater support for accessibility; for example, voice-activated devices empower people with vision limitations.
Four Ways AI Is Having Billion Dollar Impacts In The Enterprise
The early years of AI were exciting but not all that useful to most people. Sure, IBM built a massive device that could defeat a chess champion. While impressive, that capability is little more than a passing headline for most people.
Recommendation Engines Deliver Significant Revenue and Engagement. Whether it is Amazon, Netflix or Google, recommendation and prediction engines are everywhere. So if you find it tough to tear yourself away from Netflix hour after hour, these engines are one of the reasons why.
Improving Marketing With AI. HBR research found that personalizing promotions with AI can boost revenues by 1-2% compared to traditional stores. For larger companies, that increased revenue will more than offset the cost of implementing AI.
Saving Money Using AI. Increasing top-line revenue is just part of the AI story. Companies are already using AI to save money with greater efficiency. In a study of over 400 AI use cases, Harvard Business Revenue researchers found that AI can reduce inventory-related expenses by 2-3%.
AI Investment Is Rapidly Growing. Achieving big wins through AI is no longer theoretical. Large companies are actively working to build AI capabilities. Since 2010, Salesforce, Twitter, Intel and Microsoft have all made multiple AI acquisitions according to Fortune. PwC, a consultancy, estimates that AI “could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030”. Even if we cut that forecast in half, it still shows that AI will be tremendously valuable to companies that seize the opportunity.
Don’t feel discouraged if you have yet to jump on the AI trend. There are still ways to participate and grow.
Why You Must Take Advantage of AI Trends
A few years ago, you could dismiss voice-activated technology as a neat but not necessary feature. That’s not going to cut it in 2020 and beyond. If you define AI broadly to include machine learning and algorithm-related technology, it quickly becomes a standard expectation. Here are some of the reasons why you need to take advantage of AI trends this year:
End-User Voice Technology Acceptance. As we’ve seen with Siri and smart speakers, voice recognition devices and programs are starting to become mainstream. That means you will not have to make a case for voice technology in general – people are already comfortable speaking commands and requests to machines. This means getting people to use your AI-based service is much easier.
Gain An Edge Over Competitors While You Still Can. Right now, text-based AI chatbots are rapidly becoming mainstream. You could follow in their footsteps. However, that approach means you are not going to stand out and be memorable. The better approach? Use voice-activated AI. It provides convenience to users while still standing out as new.
Now you know that AI is booming and it will only continue to grow. The only question is how you will jump aboard the opportunity.
Two Roads To Voice-Activated AI Success
To participate in the AI revolution in 2020, you need to make a choice. Until you make this choice, you will stay stuck in the status quo and gradually fall behind. So how do you join the AI and voice technology wave?
Your first option: Develop your AI and voice recognition team internally. If you are a large technology firm, this path makes sense. Microsoft, Salesforce, IBM and Intel are all working at building up their AI expertise. They’re spending heavily on hiring, acquisitions and experimentation. Every bet that pays off has the potential for major rewards. The downside? Considerable upfront capital – millions of dollars – is required to pursue this path. If you have those resources, this path will produce results. What if you don’t have the resources of a Microsoft or an IBM? There is still a way for you to join the AI revolution.
The second way: Work with a specialized research and development company like Ciklum. We have the in-house expertise to build voice-activated AI services quickly. Since we have worked on multiple AI projects for clients, we know the right way to organise data to enable machine learning. Plus, we know about the most common failure points to avoid. For example, to speed up the launch of your AI app, you need to identify which features to build and which capabilities to source from existing software. That’s what we can help you achieve. To find out how AI technology can improve your work, reach out to our specialists.
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