Reports of voice tech’s death have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, the business of voice is experiencing a massive resurgence, thanks in large part to the growing popularity and prevalence of voice-enabled home computing systems like Google Home. The voice-first device market has burgeoned in recent years, growing 126% in 2017 over 2016 to reach more than 35 million units shipped in under two years. To put that figure in context—that’s a faster sales growth than the iPhone after its launch, which took three years to reach the 35 million mark.
Still, voice tech is a ways off from dominating the tech landscape and matching the heyday of its past influence—particularly that of radio and telephony. But for a platform that many wrote off as almost extinct, the renaissance of voice is an exciting prospect, and one with the potential to shift the paradigm of how we commonly interact with technology. Part one of our three-part white paper series on voice tech by Sutherland Digital president, Andrew Zimmerman, examines just that: the rise and fall (and rise again!) of voice.
Journey Through the History of Voice Tech
Remember the good old days of radio dials and rotary phones? Empires were built off of these voice businesses. But in the era of text and visual dominated communication and on-demand entertainment, these once reigning technologies are all but old-fashioned. Still, it’s important to understand the history of voice tech and why it faced such a long decline because it greatly informs its future trajectory.
Introducing Voice 2.0
The way society has related to voice has witnessed many behavioral changes over the years. We are now experiencing an upswing thanks to the rapid and widespread embrace of “voice 2.0,” or voice-first technology. Thanks to voice-controlled smart assistants like Siri and Alexa and interconnected home devices, voice-first is establishing itself as a mainstream tech market contender with unprecedented rates of adoption. The hype around voice is real!
Giving a Face to Voice Tech
Looking ahead to the future, voice-first is adopting an anthropomorphic design interface, which highlights how humans are starting to emotionally connect with these devices. In fact, a recent study found that 36% of people love their voice assistants so much that they wish they were real. Talk about catching feels. As voice tech continues to change behavioral and cultural norms, voice-first experiences will spread and evolve beyond their current capabilities, with a focal point on emotional conversation design. After all, what’s a voice without something resembling a face?
Be sure to check out our “Voice Is Back – This Time, It’s Louder”, and stay tuned for part two in our three-part voice tech white paper series.