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Voice Tech and Year 2021 - Post-Covid19 Trends

2020 is finally in the past. What a year it was! For many of us, it is a year of reflection, and a year we would probably want to delete (or shift-delete for geeks :-) )…

For us, the voice technologists and practitioners, this year helped shape the future of voice best practices, in the years of the post covid19. It is clear now that touch-free interfaces technologies are on the rise when the stay at home (in lockdown), work from home (WFO) and overall people’s distancing, helps shaping the demand for voice interaction, for improved accessibility to services and new user experience (UX). This is also a new ocean for the advertising world, presenting a new un-touched market segment, and engagement opportunities.

The trends* we identify can be gathered into 3 groups: better experience; better accessibility and new user engagement opportunities.

Better User Experience

  • Voice interface in the public areas – transportation, kiosk, vending machines and IOT devices. After several rounds of lockdowns, and different level of limitations on people’s transportation, traveling and commute, as the world is slowly moving towards a best practice of the pandemic management, it is clear that people’s commute and traveling through public areas – transportation, open \ indoor shopping centers, education campuses and of course health care facilities – will be back, and at the same time, the habits are bound to change – where voice replaces touch, in every user engagement. Use cases and scenarios varies, from Ticketing Vending Machine at the transport station (link), to kiosk machine using computer vision to replace touch interface (link), to efficiency in quick service restaurant (QSR) drive through and more. It worth mentioning Intel IOT Solution Alliance (ISA)** work on these and other initiatives, within the overall efforts of making user engagement safe yet efficient.

  • Voice gets deeper into home appliance – beyond the smart speakers use case. As people are staying more at home, many voice technologies and solutions designed for home comfort and efficiency are becoming a growing part of the daily household activity. LG’s voice activate refrigerator is a notable example as whirlpool smart home example.

Better Accessibility to Services

The Covid19 time taught us a great lesson when it comes to technology in the hand of humanity. As people locked at home, accessing various services – normal activity in normal days – becomes a challenge.

As a result, many solutions were developed to make those services more accessible to the different audiences, from elderly to people with disabilities, to the technophobic and to people which these technologies are out of reach, such as in the case of Rural India \ S. America and other similar impact initiatives.

This is a trend amplified by the pandemic, but will remain and grow further in the days to follow.

New User Engagements

This year presented many new use cases and best practices for the deployment of voice as the human machine interface (HMI). Retail is a major segment where "Voice technology can also give shoppers directions around stores, recommend brands, create shopping lists, place orders, execute checkouts and more, potentially reducing the need for human interaction in retail as the pandemic continues to keep safety concerns at the top of the minds of many consumers" (link).

At the same time, it is fascinating to see how voice interface becomes a natural method of communication with the platform in entertainment – where OTT service providers utilize streamers such as Android TV for improved end user experience in voice.

Last, we are witnessing a growing interest in the use of voice in the advertisement industry, specifically making interactive voice advertisement within various entertainment platform (streaming TV, online Radio, streaming music and podcast, and more).

A word about privacy

As voice technology usage grow - the requirements for better standards and best practices to keep user privacy and business data ownership grow as well. This is becoming a nearly trivial part of every use case engagement. Technology vendors understand the importance of implementing the required practices to anonymize the information or better yet, deploy a technology, which does not require user’s information in order to provide accurate and appealing experience.

* all from Tukuoro customers and new opportunities

** Tukuoro is an Intel ISA member, see more here

What’s next?

If you’re in charge of customer experience, innovation or product – you need to start planning your voice strategy, and there are several articles about it online. Or you can talk to us.

Tukuoro is the Voice Open Platform. The best practices outlined in this article are based on the experience Tukuoro team gained while working with customers, in the various use cases and design discussions.

Reach out to us and learn how to make your interface Voice enabled.

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