Voice technology has been present for a considerable length of time, and has been utilised in a variety of products ranging from smart speakers to hands-free automobile systems. Recently, there have been developments which have seen enterprises utilising this technology for new applications that benefit from voice control and the ability to obtain information from computers in a more understandable way. This more natural interaction between humans and computers has resulted in increased efficiency, trust and decision-making capabilities, as a secondary outcome of its primary goal.
Businesses now have access to state-of-the-art capabilities such as intent and sentiment analysis, speaker identification, statistical demographics and more, thanks to the use of enhanced vocal biometrics and speech recognition, as highlighted in a recent article from Forbes Technology Council. This article examines some of these advances in speech technology, and their potential implications for business in the future.
Individualized Synthesis of Digital Voices
A company’s digital voice can be just as recognisable as its logo or typography, providing customers with a distinct experience (e.g. Apple’s Siri). This voice can be implemented across various channels to ensure a consistent user experience. By using the same digital voice consistently, customers will have a more unified and seamless experience when interacting with a business.
Advances in Natural Language Understanding (NLU), Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Neural Text-to-Speech (TTS) have enabled artificial voices to sound more natural.
Methods of Data Analysis
Voice data, like any other type of data, has the potential to be used for a variety of purposes once it has been processed. Currently, only a small proportion of customer service interactions are studied; as such, this is a largely untapped area of potential. By collating demographic information such as age, gender, location and emotion, customer motivations, interests and concerns can be better understood. This type of analysis could be hugely beneficial for making informed decisions regarding product and service development, advertising and customer service.
According to a recent article from Forbes Technologies Council, businesses now have the opportunity to adopt a unified API standard, allowing them to expand their use of speech technology. This standard covers the following skills:
- To communicate verbally through telephone, web, or mobile device
- To help in deciphering what the consumer is trying to accomplish
- Progress in Internet of Things (IoT) and cybersecurity measures including anti-spoofing and user authentication
Recent advancements in technology have enabled robots to be more human-like, while providing improved understanding of inputs of various lengths and complexities. Natural Language Understanding (NLU) is used to process instructions from basic commands to complex news articles. AI is often used in conjunction with NLU to enable translation and other forms of voice recognition. By integrating Text-To-Speech (TTS) capabilities, voice-enabled systems are now able to respond to customer queries in a more nuanced and natural manner.
Recent research has suggested that the use of voice technology, including reliable voice recognition, could help to improve online safety. An article published on TechRepublic claimed that speech recognition systems could be used to identify individuals based on characteristics such as pitch, pace and timbre. This is due to the fact that each person’s speech has a unique quality, and the technology could be used discreetly, for example, in a customer service centre.
As this technology becomes more widely adopted, passwords and other biometrics are likely to be replaced or supplemented for customer identification. Financial institutions may employ it to protect their customers’ assets, while doctors may utilise it in telemedicine to ensure they are interacting with the correct patient.
Recent developments in remote working have presented a new opportunity for the application of speech technology to security. Voice recognition could be used by IT professionals to ensure the protection of corporate data, particularly when working from home where security measures may be less robust.
Dictation and Transcription
Rather than taking notes or typing out drafts on a keyboard, you can use voice recognition software. If you need to record a conversation, interview, meeting or other important voice-based communication, automatic transcription can help. These features can be found in many software packages nowadays.
Both new technologies are still in their development stages, with their own respective benefits and drawbacks. As an example, software can make errors in more intricate situations where humans demonstrate mastery in pattern recognition. This is especially relevant when considering highly specialised areas such as medicine. Generally, though, software can complete tasks far more quickly than humans can.
Variety of Uses in Various Fields
There are many applications for voice technology.
- Some colleges and universities now provide access to their library catalog and other services using voice-recognition software.
HealthcareOne use is encouraging patients to make behavioral changes in areas such as food, exercise, and medication usage via two-way communication.
- Due to its conversational features, speech technology is now being employed by customer service teams to understand and respond to customers’ basic requirements.
- New technologies on buses and trains provide passengers with the ability to request directions.
- Advances in voice technology have enabled innovative methods of advertising and selling items, such as speech-enabled search engine optimisation. The video below emphasises the importance of having a search bar.
Implementation Strategies Should Be Established Immediately
The implementation of these additional features will open up a range of applications, both existing and yet to be invented, such as providing administrative assistance, facilitating hands-free work and supplementing human customer service agents. Businesses should start to consider how speech technology and a ‘no touch’ approach could be employed across all aspects of their operations, from ordering to operations to customer service.
As is standard, these decisions should be based on the needs of the company, rather than the most recent technological advances. Nonetheless, many businesses are likely to find a suitable answer to their problems in voice-based solutions, given the wide range of options available with these intriguing developments.