To paraphrase Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz, "voice is eating the world." As you can see below, the smart speaker adoption rate is faster than the smartphone. And all of these technologies are embracing voice.
Dylan Zwick, co-founder of Pulse Labs, a premier voice assistant user research and testing company, recently shared his vision of a VoiceFirst future and a list of "Voice opportunities beyond the smart speaker" on The Leadership Network.
There is a shift taking place today in how humans interact with technology that will be as transformative as the graphical user interface, and the platforms supporting it have the potential to become the operating system of the internet of things. In the United States, smart speakers are now in the homes of 53 million people, or 21% of the total adult population.
The widespread availability of this exciting new channel for customer communication presents enormous opportunities for brands to interact with, and delight, their customers. As with any emergent and developing technology, best practices are still being formed, and how consumers will prefer to interact with brands is still being explored. However, even at this early stage, compelling use cases have emerged, and they’re worth understanding.
Bradley Metrock, founder of VoiceFirst.FM, host of This Week In Voice, and producer of an annual series of VoiceFirst Events, wrote a great article for Harvard Business Review entitled "Your Company Needs a Strategy for Voice Technology." We highly recommend reading it.
What matters right now is for companies to test voice-first technology for themselves and begin to learn what works for their business and what doesn’t. Start by assigning an internal champion or hiring an external partner to develop a pilot voice experience for your organization. That initial experience can then be discussed internally, shared externally at conferences, and built upon for future growth. A good initial project might be to take aspects of your company’s website, or other individual components of your company’s branding, and build a voice experience around those before moving on to more vanguard uses of voice-first technology.
It won’t be long before every company will be expected to own and manage its own voice-first presence and capabilities, much like every company is expected to own and manage their web presence and capabilities. In fact, every time you see someone asking Siri to give them information, or someone asking Google Assistant for directions, you’ll realize that your customers are already way ahead of you.
The following are just some of the many use cases for VoiceFirst technology. More and more are being invented, designed, developed, tested, released and used every day.