How Voice is Taking Over
My Voice is My Passport. As I noted in our last Mashup, ‘Alexa’ (Amazon’s new voice activated, intelligent personal assistant), was the clear standout at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Vegas. But for me, it even gets better than that – Amazon has just brought my childhood (ok, adulthood) sci-fi-junkie self to a new high. As an ode to Star Trek, they have added the wake-up command “COMPUTER” to Alexa’s vernacular. That’s correct, right out of the pages of science fiction and the brain of Gene Roddenberry, we can now utter “computer,” and just like when James T. Kirk said it … Alexa will respond.
Voice is taking over. Voice as your operating system (think of Spike Jonze’s 2013 movie ‘Her’). Voice as navigation. Voice as control. Voice as help. Voice as search. I often tease Kerry at our Content Group – who is an amazing EA – that Siri (Apple’s slick voice assistant) is vying for her job. To date, Kerry has always proven this NOT to be the case. That said, however you slice it or dice it, the shift to voice and the implications of all of us using our voices to connect digitally are massive.
According to Media Post, “Voice assistants are coming in a big way this year. Last year, 7 million voice-first devices, most notably Amazon Echo and Google Home, hit the market. That was up from only 2 million the year before. This year, 25 million devices will be shipped, bringing the total number of voice-first devices to 33 million in circulation, based on a new study by VoiceLabs.”
Gartner predicts that by 2020, about 30% of all searches will be done without a screen, and adds, “voice interactions will eventually overtake typing a search query. By eliminating the need to use your hands and eyes for browsing, ‘vocal interactions’ become the utility for Web sessions to find content while multitasking — walking, socializing and exercising.”
So what does this mean for brands and marketers? Voice will have an immense impact on marketing and how brands connect, dialogue and engage with consumers. Don’t think of this as some far off challenge… 2020 is not far off at all. If searching and acquiring information, content, etc., without a screen, becomes routine – are you prepared? Soon, your emphasis will have to morph. Gone will be the days when you solely focus on figuring out keyword, image and text strategies to get people to click. Now, you’ll have to also consider how ‘voice-initiated’ searches will play out with your product or service, while someone goes about “living life”. Can you hear the change and are you going to be ready?
The 2017 Voice Report by VoiceLabs
Google Home and Amazon Echo are simply the start of a much bigger future, where hundreds of millions of consumers will enjoy a more natural way of interacting with machines – conversational voice.
Michael Chase, CMO
St. Joseph Communications
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