The pandemic has slowed down the development of many businesses and entire industries, but not the sphere of conversational artificial intelligence. The global voice technology market is growing at 17.2% annually, analysts say Meticulous Research. It is expected to reach $ 26.8 billion by 2025.
According to Just AI and Canalys, at the end of 2020, there are about 400 million smart speakers and screens in the world, and in 2021, growth will only slow down slightly. The growing coverage of the population with smart devices also increases the audience of voice assistants - in our country alone, according to Just AI, it is 52 million users.
Changes in interfaces
There is a new technological wave of changes in interfaces. At one time, visual, and later touch-based interfaces changed the nature of human interaction with computers and machines in general, formed new habits and requirements for communication with users. Today, the same is happening with conversational UX (user experience, user experience) - it will soon complement familiar interfaces almost everywhere we interact with the digital world. Conversational technologies will evolve and become increasingly used in communication between the client and the business - in natural language. For example, conversational UX will be used by support teams in large companies, as well as by administrators and office managers in small companies.
In the segment of "smart" speakers, smart displays occupy a significant share. According to Strategy Analytics, 9.5 million smart screens were sold globally in the third quarter of 2020, which is 26% of total column sales and 21% more than in the third quarter of 2019.
The screen allows you to implement more complex mechanics of voice skills and thereby make voice services more convenient, interesting and immersive. And also to unleash the potential of voice product monetization. The skill for a "smart" screen allows you to control a particular service with your voice, but - unlike a speaker - keep many additional parameters in front of your eyes. This opens up new opportunities in the field of voice commerce, video shopping, games. Besides, smart screens have built-in face recognition technology using artificial intelligence, and the assistant can be controlled using both voice and gestures.
The essence of the multimodal approach lies in the synergy of the visual and voice interfaces, as well as the touch interface, gesture control or remote control, as is the case with “smart” set-top boxes. The trend towards multimodality will intensify, and content will be created taking into account various options for user interaction with it.
Cases have appeared on the world market when several voice assistants work in one device. For example, a Facebook Portal user can activate their own Facebook or Alexa assistant from Amazon.
For every day and all occasions
In 2020, voice assistants are being used more often. 32% of those surveyed said they use assistants daily, up from 29% in 2019. Several times a week, assistants are used by 38% of respondents, once a week or less often - 31%.
The share of users of voice assistants in smart speakers increased from 2% to 6%. The audience using assistants in the navigator in the car has grown from 4 to 11%.
Over the year, the cases of using voice assistants have become more diverse. People began to search and play music with the help of voice assistants more often, this practice grew from 4 to 7%. The most frequent request is search and answers to questions, 37% of respondents resort to it.
In mobile applications
The voice interface will be the next evolutionary step in the development of mobile applications. Voicebot conducted a survey and found that more than 45% of American users would like to see voice assistants in their favorite applications. Voice assistants inside mobile applications will help to use the application on a smartphone in a more native way - not only using standard taps and familiar elements of visual UX, but also using voice.
In Smart TV
Most of the new TVs with the Smart TV function, including the economy class, are already equipped with a voice assistant, albeit with reduced functionality. However, TVs as a platform for engaging viewers in the ecosystem is clearly of interest to development companies. Over 5 million TVs were sold in the first nine months of 2020, 60% of which are Smart TV.
In wearable devices
The development of voice assistants and the rise in the number and popularity of wearables - “smart” accessories and devices that you can take with you (watches, fitness bracelets, headphones, glasses, etc.) - are complementary trends. Voicebot analysts report that in the United States, headphone use of voice assistants has grown 103%, from 21.5 million users in 2018 to 43.7 million in 2020.
There are more extravagant examples of the technology used in wearable devices: in January, at the international consumer electronics show CES 2021, a protective mask from Binatone was presented with support for voice assistants.
Machine learning technologies and GPU power are developing - synthesized speech is becoming more perfect: technologies already today make it possible to imitate the voice and speech of the speaker much more naturally than before, repeating the emotions, tonality, and individual characteristics of the speech of the original source. The quality of synthesis is growing, and more developers will have access to this quality.
Voice assistants are already capable of distinguishing users and delivering customized content.
Voice technologies in call centers
Complete replacement of call-center operators with robots with artificial intelligence is a rather complicated solution, but an interactive voice response (IVR) with NLU technology on the first line can be implemented quite quickly. The global IVR market in 2020 is estimated at $ 1 billion and predicts annual growth of 5.6%.
Following large companies, the trend for voice business assistants will be picked up by medium and small businesses. Voice assistants will be tailored to business needs and integrated with back-end systems such as CRM.
New types of devices have helped voice interfaces to penetrate the gaming industry, where the trend for voice games began to emerge. Market giants like Disney Plus have partnered with smart display manufacturers. Developers of "smart" screens are no less interested in cooperation with game development companies - for them, this means reaching a new audience of users.
Games have always been the drivers of technological innovation - from touch-based interfaces to graphics cards. And today developers, due to the voice immersing users deeper into the plot of the game, can create content of a completely new type, when the gameplay is tied simultaneously to voice, touch, and gamepad controls.