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Voice Technology and Brands

Enter any ‘smart home’ today and you are very likely to see a voice assistant occupying a prime spot in the house. Once you get used to one of these devices, you start treating it as an obedient pet.

You can prompt the device to answer questions on any topic that you want, set reminders, play music and fiddle with the volume and literally do anything at just your voice command. Gradually, the relationship between you and these voice assistants is evolving to a point when their conversational UI is transcending borders to behave like your true friend and not just a gadget.

Voice technology is also liberating the consumer from being constantly bound to their screens and giving a hands-free experience instead. This presents infinite opportunities for brands to explore sonic options to engage with consumers in a personal as well as collective way — like a family unit or a group of friends sitting in a living room.

Influencing the brand-consumer relationship

Voice assistants can help lead to more impressions on a website: for example, if users want more information at the end of a verbal answer, the Google Assistant can direct them to open the Google Home app, which in turn can help navigate the user to the website to read the complete text.

They can encourage marketers to improve their content: since it is projected that more than half of the searches will be voice-based by 2020, brands are inspired to create more engaging and newer content.They can initiate innovation in advertising: one probable method could be where the user asks questions and the voice assistant answers them in an intuitive way. The brand can help the assistant learn and retain information so that the conversation appears
natural and informative.

They can make brands more aware of their users’ choices: voice assistants can distinguish between the voices of different users thus enabling brands to find out more about the choices of various people in one family. The insights will be more personalised based on the purchases they make, brands they buy, music they play and other such characteristics.

Voice assistants can bring innovation into marketing: users can integrate this technology in their routine life — to order groceries for home delivery, book a cab or even complete a funds transfer.

Although voice assistants are ready to answer your every command, they will also do the same for your voice recording (which may be used unlawfully) and answer the commands of other people too, as a recent incident in the US showed.

There is now a debate regarding the actual help that these devices are providing vis-a-vis the risks they entail. Closer home, the Rs 100 crore voice-and-speech recognition market in India can grow only on the back of regional languages, or rather software that supports local languages. Siri in Hindi, the Hindi version of Google Assistant or Alexa’s natural language understanding notwithstanding, assistants need to understand a majority of regional languages and speak in them, to get a bigger market base.

The author is co-founder & CEO, Agilio Labs

By: Sanjay Tripathy – Financial Express

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