The spoken word has been the communication protocol of choice for humans for at least 50,000 years. There’s a good reason for that — it’s the best way to convey large amounts of information in a short amount of time. Think about it — you think in words. Our thoughts coalesce around speech (or written words). Computers, on the other hand, required their own language and interface to translate our words into the 1s and 0s of code. But the voice user interface (VUI) offers a chance to remake how we interact with machines, and change our collective digital future in the process.
I think most of us would agree that some version of Tony Stark’s J.A.R.V.I.S. digital personal assistant would be amazing… but we’re nowhere close to a 100% accurate natural language processor. Nevertheless, this is one of the foremost applications in which A.I. can truly impact our lives. Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant and Alexa are all examples of VUIs, and they’re getting better all the time.
Beyond that, though, they’re becoming integral parts of our homes and our lives. Tens of millions of homes have smart speakers in them. The distributed Internet of Things is growing all the time, and the ability to speak those systems into action is real and improving every day.
So much so, that half — yes, half — of all searches will be voice-powered by the end of next year. Google built a trillion-dollar empire on the back of search, so moving half of all searches to a VUI clearly has major financial ramifications for the digital economy.
What’s more than that, though, concerns businesses in the middle of the food chain. You don’t have to be an 800-pound gorilla to be impacted by the shift to VUIs. If consumers and clients the world over expect their interactions with computers to be speech-based, you can’t afford to be left out. Your apps, websites and services can’t rely on keyboard inputs in a user economy dominated by speech.
You have to be where your clients want you to be. To that end, we’ve put together a best practices slide deck to help you build a VUI strategy.
If you want to truly harness VUIs within your digital offerings, though, will almost assuredly require you to work with an expert in natural language processing. Very few companies have this particular club in their proverbial bag, today — and that’s where we come in.