Categories: Business / Developers
We’ve all had a frustrating moment attempting to talk to a computerized menu system. But those experiences are becoming less common.
There’s a reason that by 2020 we’ll be making 200 billion searches a month using voice recognition technology. Speech recognition technology has hugely improved. And when combined with context-based information and AI, it’s going to take a massive leap forward.
Chances are you’ve started a sentence with “Hey Siri” or “Alexa” recently. With the impressive trajectory of voice recognition software, these assistants are increasingly able to understand us. What’s more, they can actually provide a solution. Gone are the days of Siri apologizing for misunderstanding your question.
Voice input is faster, easier and safer
Robust voice recognition technology has changed how we interact with our devices. For humans, speech is a far more natural way of communicating than inputting commands via a touchpad. It’s up to three times faster, it’s fluid and it can be corrected on the fly. And it allows for “conversations” with our devices in a way that text input simply can’t.
Another key benefit of speech technology is its hands-free nature. Users can activate and use the technology at a distance. This means they can input commands while driving or performing other activities where touchpad input is difficult or even dangerous. Voice-activated wearables are widely used in warehouse and retail environments, for example. And it’s just a matter of time before we start seeing more of voice in factory and manufacturing environments.
Voice recognition technology gets integrated
So what’s next? We’ve pretty much cracked voice recognition technology now. So we’re going to see a whole lot more of it across all of our devices – and our lives.
Take the SiriKit, released with iOS 10. The kit allows developers to build new, app-spanning ways of talking to Siri. Similarly, the iPhone’s new Bluetooth headphones allow simple and seamless voice input when on the go or in public.
Amazon has also stepped up its voice input game. It’s expanded its Alexa digital assistant from existing solely within the Echo home entertainment system across to the Fire tablet. And Microsoft’s Cortana is now integrated into Windows 10 so that you can issue voice commands straight to your computer.
Of course, these leaps and bounds in voice tech don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re driven by market demand. Users want faster, more efficient ways of communicating with their devices. As a result, a world where voice becomes the main way we engage with our wearables, home entertainment systems, vehicles and homes isn’t far off.
What does that mean for businesses and app developers? It means that it’s time to embrace voice input as the interface of the not-so-distant future.