The Future Of Voice Technology

The Future Of Voice Technology

We’re going to be using our voices a lot more in the future. Where once people would interact with technology purely physically – we would touch the devices to interact with the – voice technology is evolving at a rapid pace and is quickly becoming standard.

The appeal of voice technology is easy to understand. By using our voices we free our hands for other tasks, and with technology being increasingly focused on facilitating communication, there’s a deeper, more human resonance when we use our voices to communicate and interact. With voice recognition doing a better job of distinguishing accents and speech patterns than ever, those old frustrations of having to repeat yourself over and over to navigate a voice menu are also long gone. It won’t be long now before voice communication and physical interaction are at parity, in terms of how we work with technology.

What’s driving the uptick in voice?

Over the past 18 months, technology has become our window into the world to an unprecedented degree. We use it for communicating with co-workers, friends, and family. Screens have become the dominant way that we consume art and entertainment, where once live events were a far more common occurrence. There’s an entire Olympics that is being held with empty stadiums, but all those people watching at home are sending HD screen sales soaring.

People are also interacting with technology at a far deeper level. Developments in AI increasingly mean that when we contact a brand or business, we’re interacting with chatbots. We’re placing orders with online retailers through Smart Hubs like Alexa or Google Home. Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s Sam are setting meetings in our calendars for us. As the interactions with technology become more authentic, our desire to interact with technology in a more intuitive manner has deepened, and now, with many of these devices, voice is the principal form of interaction.

What are the benefits of voice technology?

There are both soft and measurable benefits to using voice technology. In summary, it’s a much more efficient way to utilize technology, but to summarise the benefits:

1)     It boosts efficiency

There’s a reason that the newest wave of interest in voice came from “personal virtual assistant” tools like Siri; the ability for this technology to set up meetings and reminder alerts, place orders or make searches through directories and search engines results in minutes in a day being saved from menial tasks. It might sound small, but those little savings build up and help a person focus on the bigger tasks at hand.

2)     It also boosts productivity

Voice transcription services, which work in real-time, can be startlingly accurate – they may require some post-dictation editing, but they can slash the time taken in physically typing out documents massively. It’s also easier to multi-task when the inputs are different – voice technology and physical inputs work in collaboration better than trying to manage multiple physical inputs at once.

3)     It improves posture and well-being

The more time we spend in front of screens, the more concerning the impacts that they have on posture and general well-being. Voice technology can free the body from hunching over a desk and, even if it’s not all day long, at least provide the user with the ability to sit back and stretch out more. In addition to the health benefits, this variance in routine and posture helps professionals stay fresh throughout the day.

The challenges of voice recognition

While voice technology has certainly improved leaps and bounds, there are still challenges with it. The heavier a person’s accent, for example, the more liable it is to make mistakes, and this can cause everything from frustration in the user, right through to miscommunication and conflict.

Voice technology also has an ongoing issue with background noise. In the context of a quiet home office, there might not be a problem, but what if someone fully integrates voice technology into their working habits, and then finds themselves working in a noisy office or trying to work while out and about in a busy area? Again, the accuracy and quality of the work being done can take a hit.

Finally, voice technology can be more distracting to people around the user. The sound of a typing keyboard is much easier to ignore than the sound of someone dictating to their computer, or placing orders via their voice. Voice technology often assumes that the person is by themselves, and this isn’t always compatible with modern ways of working and/or lifestyles.

Despite these challenges, voice will continue to grow as a technology that people use for the productivity and efficiency that it offers. Linked with cloud servers and online applications, we’re going to be talking to our devices endlessly soon, and it will become an entirely natural way of both getting work done and optimizing our personal lives.

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