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Speech recognition technology has become a significant part of everyday life activities. People use voice search on their phones as a way to get information, navigate to different places, and even use voice assistants to shop for products online.
On PCs, Microsoft’s Cortana acts as a voice-based tool that helps users achieve different goals as they work. According to Purna Virji, content evangelist at Microsoft, 25% of searches in the search taskbar are carried out through voice search.
The prevalence and growth of voice search, voice-based home assistants, and other technologies means that speech recognition and machine learning needs to be developed to match future needs.
It’s important to be aware of major trends in marketing and consumer expectations to understand the direction that AI will take. In this post, we’ll look at important trends related to voice search and related devices and technologies.
Home assistant devices may surpass the number of humans in the world
Today, 5.11 billion people in the world form unique mobile users. Ninety-five percent – that’s most of the US population – owns a mobile device.
And Google reports that 27% of people use voice search on the phones as of 2018. By now, that number has likely increased.
People carry out voice search and voice commands on home assistant devices like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and other products too.
It was projected that the number of smart speakers in use would be 21.4 million by 2020. However, by Q4 in 2019, there were 147 million smart speakers sold already.
We’ve focused on voice search taking place through mobile and home assistant devices. However, when we take smart TVs and wearable devices into consideration, the numbers become even more staggering.
According to Juniper Research, we can see the use of voice assistants rise to the 8 billion figure, more voice-interactive devices than there are people in the world today. This information relates to the next point which is about creating a variety of input data to power speech recognition and AI.
Call for improved data input
As helpful as voice assistants are, they are not without controversy. A study by UNESCO, that voice assistants reinforce gender-biases by using a female voice as an eager-to-please helper. Other issues are that voice assistants struggle to recognize different accents and even appear to be unable to recognize commands by female voices as they do men’s.
But as the use of smart devices with voice assistant features increases, it will become critical to train machine learning models with a variety of inputs from people around the world.
It’s a simple enough solution but one that can impact how the general population perceives AI and whether they will support the use of AI in more and more activities that impact their everyday life.
Businesses and developers must prioritize training speech recognition models with inputs from more sources and also offer options when it comes to personalizing the voice of home assistant devices.
Businesses will change how they create content
The increasing use of voice search to get information will change SEO and how businesses create content. When people carry out searches through text input, search engines show them a list of content which gives even lower-ranking search results the opportunity to compete.
With voice search, the assistant responds with a single result. This means that businesses need to alter how they create content and so that their material appears as a possible response to search queries.
One way that a business can support correct content creation is by using schema markup for HTML code and Dublin Core to standardize Metadata information. Voice search optimization is the next frontier when it comes to making content search engine-friendly.
Natural and conversational language is the future
AI voice interactions have come a long way from using formal and monotone responses to user queries. When interacting with voice-based applications, users speak to their phones and assistants using a natural and conversational tone. And they expect responses to happen in the same manner. 83% of people prefer informal, chatty tones in any type of communication.
Today, voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and others are able to interact with people in a more natural way. We can look forward to even more human-like interactions in the future.
An interesting development can be found in Google’s Meena Chatbot. This tool is only second to humans in terms of how its conversations are specific to the context and how sensible the responses are. Given how the chat tool is so far advanced, it would be no surprise to see such a development transfer to voice assistant devices. This will enable voice search to become more effective and appealing to people.
The use of voice commands to carry out everyday tasks like shopping, making grocery lists, and simply getting information is already common.
For consumers and businesses that are hesitant to involve AI and IoT technologies in their operations, the better implementation of security strategies in IoT can go a long way towards alleviating the fears of one’s data and privacy being compromised. In fact, boosting security in voice-based devices is another major area that needs to be developed.
We can expect voice assistant devices and voice search to continue growing in the future. It will become normal to interact with multiple devices at home and at the workplace.
The trends we looked at in this post also indicate areas of development for speech recognition and AI. As these technologies become more human-like and useful, we can expect a world of increased interconnectivity.