Voice Interface Technology (VUI) is starting to make a big splash in the consumer world. Every day, increasing numbers of smartphone owners are asking Siri, Alexa, and Google questions to help them make decisions – from recipes to public transport times and live sports results.
From a business point of view there’s a couple of questions we need to start asking ourselves…..what ways can businesses start integrating voice interface technology? And most importantly….. how can voice interface technology benefit your business?
How are Businesses Integrating Voice User Interface Technology?
Voice User Interface Technology (VUI) is beginning to creep into all industries: hospitality, logistics, customer service……VUI is being utilised in almost every sector on the planet.
Progressive hotels are seizing an opportunity and some have already added voice interfaces into all their rooms – bedrooms and meeting/conference rooms. VUI added into the control and automation systems enable voice commands to begin presentations and control the projector, turn on and off the lights, television and air conditioning. VUI can make conferences run much more smoothly and turn hotel bedrooms into a taste of what smart homes will be like, into the future.
Large retailers are also getting in on the act by adding VUI into their warehouses to improve efficiency. Warehouse teams are being given headsets that direct them to the stock that needs shipping and at the same time allows the staff to talk to the system notifying it of where they spot any stock levels that are low.
How Can Voice Interface Technology Benefit my Business
Well it’s early days so the possibilities are endless but two benefits we expect to see in practice include time saving and more effective collaboration.
Take the example of the warehouse employee outlined above. As staff move around the warehouse and spot low stock or any issues with stock, they can simply report this by speaking into the headset – saving the time that would normally be required to find a workstation and manually type in the information.
The police in Canada are taking a similar approach and using speech recognition software to report on cases. This has resulted in lowering the time spent logging reports by a whopping 85%.
From a customer support perspective voice recognition software can allow callers select different options from menus – resulting in less anxiety for the customer and a better service delivery.
Companies such as Microsoft are working on new meeting room technology that can do a whole host of clever things such as record and produce a complete transcripts of the meeting and email on to the attendees.
Microsoft also want meetings to become very inclusive for team members who might be joining remotely or for people who have hearing difficulties. Their plan is to have VUI transcribe what people are saying in real-time and display it on screen making the meeting easier to follow.
Challenges to Voice Search
VUI for business is still a bit of a work in progress but like most things in tech, we’ll see progress happening pretty quickly.
One definite challenge for software suppliers is to improve the accuracy of the tech. and reduce errors so that voice commands can be deciphered from background noise – at present this is problematic and
errors can obviously cause issues for businesses. IBM, Microsoft and Google are all investing heavily in research and development to improve word error rates. This type of Improvement will go a long way to