More and more devices are getting a Voice User Interfaces (VUI) integration. The range spans from the toilet you are sitting on to the lights in your house. Are these all trails to see what will work and what not? That has yet to be determined. However, there is a reason behind the products, which provides a bit of logic to it all.
One of the most common voice enabled devices is without a doubt the smart speaker. To be more specific, the majority of the people get in contact with a voice device by buying a Google Home Mini or an Amazon Alexa Echo Dot respectively. Not surprisingly, these are the lowest priced smart speakers. Users can quickly get used to it and see what the fuzz is truly about.
This is also one of the three major territories the different voice providers (Google, Amazon, Samsung and Apple) want to claim, your house. Not only do the parties involved want to make sure you use their product and services that come along with it. They want to be your preferred one, in order for when you are going to buy that microwave or other household voice enabled devices, it is one that has their voice assistant on it.
Nevertheless, this is already noticeable in the second smart speaker the consumers are buying. The second smart speaker that most likely is placed in the kitchen or bedroom does have a screen. This enables the user with visual feedback when asking for questions or giving demands. Giving the user the opportunity and tools to get to know the device better. Since it does look a bit like a more familiar tablet, only now powered by voice commands.
Oddly enough, when people are getting more accustomed to their smart speakers they start to realize, that they have the same service as on the smart speaker in their smart phones. Which they have been carrying around for quite some time Siri, Google Assistant or Bixby. On the smart phones voice can connect and control mobile apps or gives you search results.
Discovering voice on smart phones is important, because it gives the realisation that in some situations it is indeed easier to use voice commands. This has caused the rise of hearables such as Google Earbuds or Apple Earpods, the second voice territory.
Next to empowering smart phone users to control their mobile apps via voice and wirelessly listening to music it gives them the opportunity to use voice more easily outside the house. People are not only bound to their home surrounding for using voice anymore.
This is reflected in the places where voice usage has increased outside the users’ home. The first place is in restaurants, followed by the gym. The restaurants are a bit of an ought place to be asking for voice commands. Yet perhaps people do wonder what is in their food. The gym on the contrary is a more of a logic place. The hands are occupied while exercising and in case the user has to change something on their phone voice commands are easily done via hearables.
The increase usage of hearables shows that there is in increasingly demand for voice to be multimodal. To give a task to the earbuds and have it either perform the task on your smart phone and listen to the result accordingly or displayed correctly on the user phones. Which would mean that graphic user interfaces (GUI’s) have to be in-line with voice user interfaces (VUI’s).
The third terrain is one you might expect, the car. The latest models of cars are increasingly getting voice assistants built in to them. In order for the user to not have to use Bluetooth to connect with the voice assistant on their smart phones.
It is no surprise voice assistant have a lot to gain here. The car is nevertheless a place where the user should not use their hands other than driving. A big advantage of voice is that users do not have to touch their phones for and while making a call. The same counts for asking the directions or sending or sending a text. Voice has the ability to replace the phone and make driving hopefully a bit safer.
Just like hearables have a dependency on multimodality voice in the car does too. Not about turning the light on from the users’ house when he/she arrives or opening the gate. Nuance is taking it a step further. They are building an interesting voice/multimodel system into the cars. They now have an assistant that can detect whether the driver’s mood is good or bad and give a response to it accordingly. When the driver is a bad mood the answer is given in a lower voice to calm the driver down. The opposite is true as well when the driver is happy the voice response sounds happy to in order to let the driver continue to be happy.
This is not solely done via voice but via facial recognition. By combining the technologies together, a greater result can be achieved.
Another item in the car is that it knows where you are so when the driver looks at a building and asks what it is. The car can give the exact right response with detailed information.
In conclusion, there are indeed many voice enabled products to mention. Yet there are three main terrains where most of them can be classified in, home, ears (wearables) and the car. It is important to realize these three terrains when you decide to start building something on voice.
Voice is not just available via the smart speaker it has many touchpoints and each touchpoint has a different environmental context. In the home environment users might take a bit more time to understand it. If they have the smart speaker with a screen they even have a visual feedback. In this environment there could be explored more with interactions with the users.
In contrary to hearables and cars where quicker and most importantly accurate responses might be in place.
For your users to get the most out of your product you need to know where they are using voice and how. To make sure whether you should make your mobile app voice ready or creating a stand-alone voice app (Google Action/ Amazon Skill).
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