Voice and Chat Bots Dominate

Witness the boom in voice-activated search and technology in 2018. Voice is an increasingly popular way of interacting with the internet. Amazon’s Alexa alone is integrated into over 4,000 smart-home devices from 1,200 brands, with more than 30,000 Alexa skills (Amazon’s term for ‘voice apps’). Others include Google HomeAmazon Echo, Apple’s Homepod, Samsung Bixby, Apple’s Siri who are all aboard the voice train.

The ease of merely speaking vs. typing is driving the popularity of these services, and with it, a change in how we interact with the internet altogether. Voice opens up a raft of new use cases because, all of sudden, you no longer need to be looking at a screen or typing on a keyboard. It’s perfect for driving, running, cooking, cleaning and skydiving—any task where you’re concentrating on anything but a screen.

The popularity of voice has spurred the creation of an entire market of new hardware products looking to become a mainstay of your voice-controlled world.. There are too many to list but examples include Hello Egg, a countertop product to help your cooking abilities while helping you plan your weekly meals based on your dietary preference. Netatmo offers a voice-controlled ‘Personal Weather Station’ and ‘Healthy Home Coach’, while sound experts Bose have recently integrated with Amazon’s Alexa to provide their wildly popular headphones an inbuilt voice assistant.

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When we are typing, it’s increasingly with bots rather than humans. Order pizza, update your account details, organise meetings, buy things, anything, just by chatting with a bot. Netatmo has created a personal assistant just to manage your smart home. This is just like speaking with a friend or family member in the house who can close your curtains, put the heating on, unlock the door, etc. Due to this growing popularity of bots, chatbot creation platforms have been springing up. Companies such as Chatty People are capitalising on the flood of bot popularity by building platforms to facilitate easy bot creation.

Predictions

→ Customer engagement shift to Messenger chatbots

Facebook Messenger has over 100,000 chatbots and 1.2 billion active users on the platform. This popularity will surge in 2018 and become a primary customer engagement platform for many businesses.

→ Voice-controlled interfaces enter the enterprise

The advancement of AI, deep learning, machine learning and the conditioning of humans to interact with voice interfaces will see voice-controlled experiences adopted in the enterprise.

Opportunity

Revenue growth, upgraded brand perception and operational efficiencies are but some of the benefits of voice and bots.

Voice is a quick and natural way to get things done. Whether asking to schedule a meeting, calling a colleague, repeating this quarters numbers, or to check your calendar—voice can make things faster and more efficient. Also keep in mind the plethora or voice-enabled products now hitting the shelves as it’s important to keep ahead of voice and all the opportunities it offers you and your business.

Chatbots also offer new ways to generate revenue, increase engagement, offer support to customers, and build in operational efficiencies. Especially from a retail perspective, jumping into Facebook’s Messenger for example feels like a no-brainer for most. Like all emerging trends and technologies, it’s mission critical to continually be investigating and learning to stay one step ahead.

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