In this guest post, CEO of The Presentation Studio, Emma Bannister (pictured below), says voice technology is becoming ubiquitous and and uiwill be the next big thing for brands and marketers to get their heads around…
As a mum, CEO and professional speaker I’m pretty busy, so I jumped at the chance to use my voice more and yell at some tech in an effort to save time at home and work.
Google Home now sits on my kitchen bench alongside my kettle. She is the newest member of our household and likes to tell me what the weather is going to be like, what’s in the news, she also plays music, writes shopping lists, and helps with the kids’ homework (particularly spelling and maths).
But I’m not the only one who is embracing this new voice technology.
Data released by Sharpest Edge: Digital Assistants reports that 51 per cent of 35 to 49-year-olds and a huge 62 per cent of under 16-year-olds are already using digital assistants. Voice is becoming the new black.
So what does this mean for our lives, and more importantly, how will it impact our businesses?
Friend or foe?
Currently, the main rivals in smart speakers and voice first technology for our homes are Amazon and Google, with Apple’s HomePod launched earlier this year and Microsoft’s plans yet to be announced.
I picked Google over Amazon Echo mainly because I’ve heard the reports of search and shopping requests defaulting to Amazon products, with simple things like batteries and baby wipes topping the charts. As a consumer I see this as an advantage – less choice makes life easier, but as a business, it is concerning.
Having an Amazon product that only promotes its own products means there will be even less competition out there. So other businesses will only be able to sell through Google, leaving a large portion of the market unattainable.
Also, businesses will need to ensure websites are optimised for voice so that they can be found and suggested easily.
Data privacy is dead. It’s gone. I’m mostly OK with that, as it makes life easier. But I do worry about when these devices stop listening. Is it after they have answered your requests, or do they carry on listening and collecting data? As consumers, should we unplug them? Where is the line for both consumer and business?
On the other hand, yelling in my bedroom to my Google Home Mini, so she adds cotton buds to my shopping list or plays meditation music at the crack of dawn is one thing. But, I see benefits to consumers and businesses alike like with an emerging market of apps (like Alexa Skills and Google Actions) that that help fast-track learning.
At home now, we are not bound to reading books on screens. We’ve moved on from just audiobooks and podcasts to using smart speakers in our environments to help us.
That means the demand for short-form training and education tools via these apps will increase and become more popular. Think lifestyle-curated content based on your preferences, giving us fast up-to-date information and education in bite-size segments, as well as quick searches for information, data and location-based services.
Above all else, as users, it’s about finding what makes our lives easier, what makes us smarter and more efficient. So the opportunity for us as businesses is to ensure we embrace that and cater to those needs.