Consumer Electronics Show (CES) : 2021 “Voice” trends !
The Consumer Electronics Show starts 2021 with its new edition and intends to present the latest technological innovations. As Vivoka is once again taking part, it is our duty to present the next trends in voice technology.
First of all, we should note the increasingly important role that the voice interface plays in our use. From the simple voice assistants in our smartphones to today’s in-car voice systems, the smart speakers in our homes and even the voice-controllable refrigerators.
This fast and constant evolution of uses creates new trends every year, reflecting a market that is increasingly fond of voice technologies, but above all more diversified. This brings us directly to our first point.
Personalised voice assistants: becoming technologically independent in the age of GAFAM.
Originally, the concept of a voice assistant was generally associated with systems designed by Apple, Google and Amazon, being the main players on this subject. Due to a high level of technological complexity and a lack of alternative solutions, companies wishing to create voice assistants for their activities had to go almost exclusively through GAFAM.
Today, the paradigm is quite different, with a plethora of actors spread over the different fields (voice transcription, voice synthesis, language processing, artificial intelligence, etc.) giving greater freedom to demand. In other words, we are talking about data ownership, better profitability and the possibility of creating a more domain-specific experience.
This is what today is reflected in the constant increase in personalised voice assistants, which are a true reflection of a company’s brand image.
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These projects give rise to ever more innovative and ambitious voice interfaces. For example: voice assistants in vehicles. Certainly, some manufacturers choose the reknown voice assistants (Google Assistant, Alexa…), but others such as Mercedes, to name but a few, are turning to players such as Cerence to create from scratch the voice assistant adapted to their positioning and their products.
It is in this trend that Vivoka has created the Voice Development Kit. The idea is to give technology back to companies while simplifying it to make it accessible. This allows everyone to create a voice interface, more or less complete and complex depending on the case, in record time and without necessarily having to rely on the expertise of technological leaders.
The diversification of devices or “wearables” equipped with voice interactions.
Today mobility is a key factor for many users. This is the premise behind many products such as wireless headphones, connected watches and even Smart Glasses. Of course, the list is not exhaustive and, better still, it is growing. Currently represented by the GAFAM (Google Pixel buds, Apple watch, Amazon Echo frames…), new players will join it this year…
These different everyday tools are perfect hosts for voice technologies. On the one hand, cloud services are compatible due to the connectivity of objects, on the other hand, embedded technologies (without internet connection) are becoming more and more popular and efficient.
(The Verge : “These smart glasses convert words into voice for people who are visually impaired – Credit : Oton Glass)
These objects will become increasingly important in 2021, as the services offered to users, and the experience imagined, must operate throughout the whole journey. Indeed, technology is totally nomadic, from the home, to the terminals of shops, to cars and to ourselves.
Since speech recognition solutions are new ways of interacting with innovations and the latter are increasingly open to this process, it is not surprising to see more and more use cases emerge.
As our technologies move from stationary objects to mobile accessories that have access to more data than ever before, we will begin to develop new standards of use.
The voices and sectors that will be heard in 2021 (and at the Consumer Electronics Show)!
Gaming. This industry, always in search of innovation (VR/AR), is estimated at more than 60 billion dollars in the United States alone. Voice interfaces are already being experimented and even marketed in some cases. For example, in July 2019, there was a 160% increase in voice-activated Alexa games compared to the previous year, proving that this type of commitment is more than just a guess.
What’s in store for us? For in-game experiences, we imagine that the voice plays a more central role, allowing users to speak aloud in headsets and have their responses interpreted by the characters in the games. Instead of menus and text selection, the voice will become a new and more immersive means of communication. In addition, on the hardware side, it won’t be long before voice-controlled consoles with personalised wake-up calls will appear.
To illustrate this, here is a video of voice commands integrated into the Star Wars Squadrons game allowing the player to be assisted by a personal assistant (and it’s possible with the VDK!).
Also, apart from the video game directly, assistants can take on the role of coaches for e-sport apprentices. Although companies like Gosu AI have already started to develop the market for voice assistance during games, this is a potentially huge area for voice. We believe it will grow rapidly as e-sport continues to evolve.
As video games continue to reinvent the avant-garde with impressive graphics, new platforms and immersive gameplay, voice could be the next frontier, both from a character and player perspective.
Advertising. Never short of ideas, the world of advertising is constantly identifying new consumer uses to increase its presence, its relevance and therefore its effectiveness.
Indeed, Engagement is always at the heart of advertisers’ concerns. This is why, already in 2020, the evolution of interactive voice advertising has made itself felt. NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service has launched “on command” voice ads that allow viewers to interact directly with the ads via the microphone on their remote control.
Other examples confirm this trend towards “voice” in advertising. Pandora recently opened its voice advertising programme in beta version and reported positive results from its pilot projects, showing that 47% of users said they liked or appreciated the concept of responding with their voice and 72% of users said they found the advertising format easy to use.
The orientation of brands towards proprietary voice assistants is growing. Indeed, companies realise that having their own voice assistant gives them the choice of how, when and where to use their voice interface without being constrained by big tech companies.
One thing is no longer to be proven: voice technologies and their uses are constantly improving and diversifying. The trends we have presented in this article are already becoming a reality on the market. The challenge for “voice” remains to become a sustainable part of the dynamics of users and companies. 2021 will certainly participate in this!
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