Voice technology is for everyone
Last week I booked a cab for myself. The moment I stepped in, the driver asked about the destination, which I told. After that he softly repeated the destination, but it was not to confirm from me. I noticed that he spoke into his smartphone, which understood his Indian English accent, and displayed the route for the destination on the screen. I was amazed to see this because as a millennial I still don’t use voice to converse with devices, but the driver who was in his early 50s was doing this effortlessly. Probably I am not the right user, but this is a perfect example that reflects how voice-technology is making in-roads and is being used by people who barely know how to operate a smartphone or any other smart device.
Voice technology could be disruptive for enterprises
Voice technology is here and it is disrupting how interactions with machines and devices are happening. While voice-based conversational solutions are still in a nascent stage, used primarily in direct-to-consumer environment, enterprise use cases are emerging fast. Soon one could expect voice assistants in meeting rooms, operations theatres and clinics, front desk and concierge services, integration with mobile apps, in-store shopping support, etc.
Voice-enabled virtual assistants are expected to create highest impact on Indian businesses after Machine Learning, disrupting finance and accounting function and IT/ITES sector the most. Enterprises’ focus on voice-based solutions is also evident by investment and acquisition spree to strengthen their voice capabilities to offer better customer service and augment customer experience.
Voice-technology has potential to deliver business value
Voice truly holds the potential to drive business value for enterprises. Voice-powered conversational AI could be the first line of contact for all customer interactions. It could enable enterprises to connect conversations to business systems to automate and address customer queries, perform analytics and take further action. Voice, when coupled with other digital solutions such as IoT, analytics, image recognition, etc., would be able to compile information and deliver actionable insights.
While adoption of voice technology in enterprises is inevitable and the use cases are emerging fast, there are still a few bottlenecks such as lack of clarity about right business cases and related tangible benefits, customer’s data privacy and confidentiality, need of human agent, etc. In addition, there are a few technical challenges related to voice-based solutions such as understanding limited utterances, inability to answer random questions, inability to understand different accents and dialects, etc., among others.
In order to overcome these challenges, there is need to sensitize enterprises about benefits and value addition of voice-based solutions and foster greater collaboration among ecosystem stakeholders.