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The topic of conversational interfaces, i.e. communication with the surrounding technology, appeared on my blog many times along with numerous analyzes, data and signals of changes from different regions of the world. It cannot be hidden that this is one of the leading trends in the development of technology on which global giants work. In discussions under my articles, or in social media, there was often one complaint against this trend. It was connected with the fact that publicly, among a large number of strangers, we would not want to talk to our mobile devices in order to protect our private affairs.
This argument should be considered right, after all, not everyone who stands next to us in a tram, shop or corridor in the company needs to know where and why we are going, or the ingredients we are looking for on the shelves or which person at work does not fully meet the hopes pinned on him. However, not everyone interferes with this, as evidenced by the number of company secrets, revealed out loud in train wagons (I often wrote about it on Twitter in real time until the wagons of silence appeared). Likewise with the facilitation which have been available on our mobile phones for some time. I mean dictating messages and e-mail content, recording long voice memos in instant messengers and using voice assistants such as Apple Siri and Google Assistant. We use them more and more often, because they make everyday life and work easier for us, but above all, they speed up the transmission of large amounts of information without having to write on our devices.
Public dictation or questioning voice assistants in our everyday environment can still be surprising. It is different when we leave the borders of Europe and go, for example, to Dubai, where it is completely natural behavior, successfully replacing the process of typing through touch screens. Visiting this city during the GITEX fair and sneaking through the streets in search of a subway shadow or station, I was greatly impressed by how many people in public places use the power of voice input information both professionally and completely private (the distinction was made only by people using English). I did not see any self-restraint due to the help of voice assistants, or a dictated way of communication, but noticeable was the habit of using this technology. I have been to many places in the world, but I have not seen so clearly the adaptation of voice interfaces.
It is said that strong trends do not tolerate borders. The behavior that is natural today, eg in a country in the Middle East, may soon become something obvious in the culture and behavior of people from the region closer to us. In the case of intuitive use of voice assistants, the biggest barrier (even in Poland) is, of course, the lack of native language, and not everyone can and wants to speak to the surrounding technology in English. This, however, may change in the near future (Google Assistant already recognizes a lot of Polish queries), because the Voice Interfaces trend enters its maturity period, and with it more languages become available, supported by telephones or smart assistants. Another of the key requirements for the development of voice technologies, i.e. the degree of understanding by spoken language devices (so-called NLP), is also close to fulfillment. This year, Word Error Rate technology developed by Google fell to “magical” 4.9 percent, which means that the level of machine-man communication approached the level of normal communication between people.
The acquisition of voice technologies is particularly fast among young people from so-called Generation Z and reaches up to 71% in the US. In Europe, according to the Global Web Index, this rate is 25% (this percentage of people answered yes to the question: did you use voice technologies in the last week). In turn, as many as 72% of people who have a voice-controlled device declare that they use it on a daily basis.
What does all this mean for brands that are willing to react early enough to ongoing changes? The necessity of abandoning the kind of talk like “will people be ashamed to speak out loud to their mobile devices in public places?”. They will. Just as they do in Dubai (and probably many other countries where convenience is preferred to privacy), they will do so more often in our immediate vicinity. It’s a matter of eliminating the obstacles which I mentioned above that still block the full use of voice technologies. This is, first of all, the right time to ask the company a question: what is my brand’s strategy with regard to the rapid development of devices such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, as well as Apple Siri and Google Assistant. It is not worth waiting for the answer and taking action, especially if in 2020 as much as 30% of all internet searches are to be made bypassing the screen.
#techhumanized powered by T-Mobile – a project of long-term cooperation between the creator and the brand, whose aim is to observe the changing world of technology, bring innovation and the direction of their development, and explain how these changes will affect our lives. How they will change them in a few, dozen or several decades. The T-Mobile Polska brand has been the patron of the project for two seasons.