Use cases for Voice

Do you realise that this is the time when, more than ever, you need to make thoughtful choices about your tech-innovation strategies? It is the era of rapid digital evolution, impacting the consumer behaviour and customer expectations from business operations. Consumers are expecting greater speed, access to information, and automation, to name a few.

So how are you planning to innovate at the next level to meet these expectations? If your innovation strategy doesn’t include Voice, then you need to check out the following statistics:

  • Nearly 92.3% of smartphone users will adopt voice assistants by 2023, as forecasted by eMarketer.
  • In 2021, Voice search already accounts for over $2 billion worth of sales. (Web FX)
  • The global smart speaker market is likely to grow by 21% by the end of 2021. (Canalys, TechCrunch)
  • 58% of people use voice search to find a local business online. (Forbes)
  • Voice-based shopping is predicted to be $40 billion by 2022.
  • As per GeoMarketing, 65% of Amazon Echo users or Google Home users have said they can’t imagine travelling back to the days without a smart speaker. 
  • Google states that 41% of people, who use voice-activated speakers, have admitted that it feels like talking to a friend or a person.
  • There are more than 1 million Actions or apps created using the voice technology of Google Assistant.

The crux of the matter is Voice is taking over; people are ditching their touchpads and keyboards when it comes to surfing the net, buying products, or accessing the range of on-demand app-based services.

Be it for the comfort with the technology, the usability convenience, or improved experience, and consumers are shifting to voice-driven interfaces. But the big question is, are you ready to take the plunge and adapt to this new consumer behaviour? Have you started using voice technology to your advantage to connect with your customers in a better, faster, and smarter way?

Voice for Business – Why should you focus on it?

In today’s business world, it’s a must that you understand the importance of changing the core of your commerce in line with trends around consumer behaviour and technology innovations. The future belongs to Voice commerce. This next big thing is poised to grow from $2 billion in 2018 to $80 billion by 2023, forecasted by Juniper Research.

What does this mean to a business or a marketer? Just recall the days when you were headstrong about optimising your business website because that was the most efficient, quick, and scalable way of reaching out to more and more customers.

In the current times, Voice integration holds the same importance. Your website needs to be optimised for voice search for leveraging voice commerce; your service applications should be capable of delivering voice experiences or facilitate integration with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home.

Corporate offices use Alexa for smart office and power voice CRMs. Meeting scheduling, reminders and calendar queries are a voice command away, keeping executives focused on their core business operations effectively with more productivity.

When you think of voice integration for your website or service apps, don’t confine it to the idea of some chatbots. Voice for your business would mean many more things, for instance:

  • Creating engaging conversational experiences for your customers
  • Account linking with a voice assistant like Alexa for syncing with other Alexa accessories
  • Integration with third-party services
  • Performing transactions, preferably hands-free

Thus, integrations with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant should be considered another business-crucial platform alongside web and mobile. Also, you must focus on voice marketing using mediums like the Alexa podcast; voice-based ad revenue is expected to reach $19 billion by 2022. (Techcrunch)

Voice for Business – Its Use Cases

If you have yet not ventured into the space of Voice, then most likely, the prime question of your concern is, “How are businesses using voice, and how is it helping them?”

Every business can leverage Voice, and how they use it depends on their specific business needs. Here are some industry-specific Voice use cases for you to understand how your counterparts are using this technology:

Voice controlled homes are new normal. OEMs integrating Alexa Voice Service to provide users ability to control their home appliances using voice commands and from anywhere.
  • Home automation OEMs integrate interfaces like Amazon Echo to provide users with the convenience of connecting with Alexa to control home appliances through voice commands.
  • Corporate offices use Alexa for Smart Office and power Voice CRM for handling tasks like initiating calls, emails, texts, scheduling meetings, setting up timers, booking meeting rooms, etc.
  • The Banking, Finance, and Insurance Industries offer the convenience of voice banking and other voice-enabled services such as client’s access to research and analytics reports.
  • Coaching institutes are scoring through Voice-driven education initiatives made possible by voice assistant software and conversational artificial intelligence.
  • In the health and wellness industry, Voice User Interface is being used to handle booking appointments, follow-up calls to medical triage, and even diagnostic procedures.
  • Driving companion apps like Alexa Auto or Android Auto are made Voice compatible with providing the drivers with the convenience of finding routes, checking weathers or play songs just over voice commands.

Likewise, there are countless use cases for Voice, custom-developed for different business operations like helpdesks, online shops, route planning, language lessons, issue trackers, etc.

Voice assistants like Alexa have a huge impact on the education segment. On-demand access to world encyclopedias and study materials not only made it easier for students to learn at a fast pace but also instructors, coaching institutes find it a more personalized way to provide study content.

Already, Alexa has over 70 thousand skills, and Google Assistant can over 1 million actions to create voice experiences for consumers. To leverage the capacities of Alexa and Google Assistant, all you need is to implement the right set of voice development endeavours and create custom Alexa skills or Google Actions for your business.

Final words

You and your customers live in a connected digital world. People of this world believe that the Internet and applications make their life easy. They want every service to be made available to them through an app in some way or other.

And that’s what businesses are doing; they channel their services, reach, marketing, and everything through applications powered by new-age technologies like AI, IoT, Voice, Mobile, AR/VR. As per a Forbes article, according to famous industrial experts, almost all application will integrate voice technology in the upcoming five years.

Netflix facilitates voice search for TV episodes and Movies, WhatsApp allows reading and sending of messages via Voice, Google Search promotes hand-free web searching, Uber facilitates voice-booking of the cab, almost all big names have already ventured with Voice. Now, it’s time for even medium and smaller businesses to see the opportunities that this new technology can deliver and emerge with it.

Do you have questions about Alexa or Google Assistant? Do you want to discuss some particular use case or want to know how your business can be onboarded on the Alexa or Google platform? Connect with Us@ Boltd. We are a listed Alexa Skills Developer and can help create custom Alexa Skills for your business.

Talk to your car

Why voice?

Time, that is the one item that we all have in common as a species. You and I have the same 86,400 seconds in a day that Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates do. And you know what, I just queried that magic number through a simple voice command, “Alexa, how many seconds in a day”, and in a whiz came her reply. That is the true power of voice – it is fast, it feels natural and second to no other medium, and saves me the effort of pulling my mobile from my pocket, opening the calculator app and doing the math, or even typing the keystrokes for this search query in Google and waiting for it to spit out the answer. Not only that, I did it while I was sipping my coffee and looking out of the window at my son playing cricket. I for sure couldn’t do all three at once with any medium, other than voice. Yes, voice lets me multitask. It is the exact same reason why podcasts have started getting so popular – stuck in your daily commute, you can drive and “safely” listen to news, people’s opinions or whatever your interests be, not just making your ride more comfortable, but putting that idle time to some good use. Now imagine, asking the voice assistant in your car, whether that is Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri or something else,  to order groceries or pay the utility bill or turn on the air-conditioner of your living room while you’re making your way home. Once again, you can’t safely, and definitely should not, do this by punching keys on your cellphone while you are behind the wheel. So guess what, voice just bought you extra time on this planet that you could spend with your family when you get home.

Alexa has the most prominent voice ecosystem with its Echo branded smart speakers and Alexa Skills. Boltd, an amazon recommended Alexa app development agency helps brands to onboard on this rising platform.

Voice is everywhere

Celebrated marketing guru, Prof Scott Galloway of NYU, in his blog wrote, and I quote, “Any company that creates more than $10 billion in shareholder value does one of two things: extend time (more time, saving time) or enhance time.” The big four – Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, each with about a trillion dollars in valuation, all have their proprietary voice assistants that are at various levels of smarts and sophistication. Google Assistant gets you all the information to your “ear not-finger tips”. Alexa has the most prominent voice ecosystem with their Echo branded smart speakers and Alexa Skills. Siri has more attitude and chutzpah than any of them, and Cortana, well she’s all about productivity. Not only is their Natural Language Processing (NLP) getting more and more advanced by the day, they are now available in various vernacular languages as well. In addition to English, Alexa speaks in a total of 15 languages including Spanish, French, German and Hindi, while Google Assistant is available in 44 different languages including Arabic and Korean. While the first billions consumed the internet through PC’s and phones in English, imagine what happens when the remaining billions get to consume it through voice in a language of their choice. For those with very little ability to read and write, and believe me, there are quite a few, voice lends a medium that instantly gets these have-nots on a level playing field with the rest.

Voice is the new normal

Just look at some of these trends to see how the world is lapping up to voice:

  • In 2020 alone, more than half of all smartphone users are engaging with voice search technology (ComScore).
  • 65% of 25 – 49 year olds converse with their voice-enabled devices on a daily basis (PwC)
  • 52% of all smart speaker owners place them in a common area such as the living room (Google).
  • 30% of all web browsing sessions this year will be screenless (Gartner).
  • 11.5% of smart speaker owners make purchases using voice monthly (Voicebot).

What this tells us is that voice and the voice ecosystem is going to explode. While entry level devices like the Echo Spot and the Google Home Mini are getting better sound fidelity at impulse-buy price points, their bigger cousins such as the Echo Studio and those by OEM brands such as Sonos and Harman are replacing full-fledged music systems inside homes. As awareness to physical and mental health issues due to screen-time stigma grows, these smart speakers are edging forward to fill that void. Already, a lot more music is now consumed through smart speakers as opposed to smartphones. Being a device that is always plugged in has its own benefits over that with a constant fear of discharge.

Google Assistant is available in 44 different languages including Arabic and Korean.

Use cases

Now let’s look at some of the popular use cases in voice. As stated earlier, playing music is the number one use case when it comes to smart speakers. On Alexa, while the default music service is set to, surprise surprise – Amazon Prime Music, users can set the default to any of the third party streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Gaana, Saavan, etc. Likewise, news and podcasts are other categories that are quite popular. Since children are amongst the most prolific users of Alexa, skills such as bedtime stories, puzzles and games are widely used and have great return engagement metrics. Fitness skills that provide guided workout or yoga invoke daily use and form part of users’ routines. A routine is a collection of skills or actions that users can program their voice assistants to trigger with a keyword or a phrase, such as, “Alexa, good morning” or “Hey Google, I’m home”. So a phrase such as ‘good morning’ can be programmed to trigger a set of skills such as turn on the lights, open the curtains, play the news followed by a guided yoga or a meditation skill. Speaking of meditation, a number of skills are available on Alexa that just play soothing music in a loop such as sounds of nature or instrumental tunes – essentially music that helps to calm or set the mood for meditation or relaxation.

Brands started taking note of voice medium

Major brands from different industries like A&E, Audi, Fortis, Unilever, Taco Bell worked with Boltd to get their products and services be available on the voice platform.

While a large chunk of these skills are indie, i.e. created by independent developers, brands have started taking note of voice as a medium and have started putting out skills that provide at the minimum, a secondary mode or touch point for their products and services. Whether it is news brands like BBC, FMCG brands like Crest toothpaste or gig-economy services such as Uber, more and more brands have started making voice as a part of their go-to-user strategy. Some of these have already tasted early successes with engagement and are either in the process of or have already rolled out subsequent versions that provide even more functionalities on voice to their users who are getting more and more accustomed to the medium. With Alexa for Business rolled out into mature markets like the US, it has opened up a whole new ecosystem for productivity related skills for organizations.

Always start with a good voice design

So how can your brand get on the voice bus when a large portion of this still sounds like one big lorem ipsum? To begin with, think of having your own voice website. Think of all the useful information that your users today get by clicking on menus and diving into nested internal pages, now available through a single query – “Ok Google, ask Fortis Hospital to book an appointment with a cardiologist” or “Alexa, ask Audi what is the clearance under new A6?” While the voice assistant can pull information from a source such as Wikipedia, there is no guarantee that the accuracy and relevance of those results for the specific query by your users might be as high compared to that information given by your own voice website. This so called voice website or voice app is called a custom Alexa Skill or a Google Action. You can either find a qualified Alexa skill developer or a Google actions developer or go through online tutorials to build your own. Either way it is important to get your voice design right at first.