The Internet of Voice

By Special Guest
Alex Pop, Special correspondent
October 12, 2017

The market for hearable devices is expected to exceed $40 billion by 2020 (Source). Wireless stereo headphones, mono Bluetooth earpieces and hearing aids which have a wireless connection to a phone are all classified as hearable devices.

There’s an old wives’ tale that says that for 95 percent of our lives, our phones are within hand’s reach of our bodies. I believe it; smartphones are omnipresent. Therefore, it stands to reason that the relationship we will have with our smartphones is an important topic worth exploring.

Voice search queries will change the way we interact with our smartphones. No longer will we need to touch them to initiate a question, request information, or tell an app to do something. When our smartphone devices can be accessed without touching or tapping, we will need to re-evaluate our relationship with the technology that connects us so pervasively.

Voice search has evolved. Voice search, Cortana, OkGoogle, Siri, and Alexa are taken to replacing keyboards, taking away the pain of typing on a smartphone. What ramifications does this have for smartphone users and user experience in technology? Well, for one, they have become our companions.

Daren Gill, director of product management for Alexa, says he has been surprised by how often people try to engage the assistant in purely social interaction. “Every day, hundreds of thousands of people say “good morning” to Alexa,” he says. “Half a million people have professed their love. More than 250,000 have proposed. You could write these off as jokes, but one of the most popular interactions is “thank you” – which means people are bothering to be polite to a piece of technology” (Source).

On September 7th 2016, Apple did away with the 3.5mm jack. The daring move, which removed the headphones jack from the iPhone 7 and replaced it with airpods. The company’s aim was to encourage manufacturers to put more functionality into their wireless and headsets. Since then, more and more companies are capitalizing on the trend. Ford lets you talk to your car, Huawei and LG let you talk to your phone and refrigerator, and ADT lets you talk to your burglar alarm (Source).

And we are talking more to our technology.

Google’s CEO also recently reported that 20% of queries on its mobile app are now voice queries. This trend will continue to increase as we move along the adoption curve and see others using it firsthand. For example, seeing your driver say speak into his phone, state “Ok Google take me to Miami International Airport,” (all while having his hands on the wheel an being a safe driver) – will make you more likely to adopt the technology. The next time you drive you may be compelled to try the voice search out yourself.

Its convenience is undeniable, especially considering the hyperconnected, hustle and bustle world we are now living in. Indeed, voice searches for “Navigate Home,” “Call Mom,” and “Call Dad” have increased 35x since 2008 on Google Trends (Source).

The same article found that voice searches are completely changing the search-engine-optimization game. Now that Baidu and Google have more than a 90% accuracy when their software listens to searches, more and more people will start using it all the time. Smartphone users will need to train themselves to use their fingers less and their voices more.

About the Author: Alex Pop is a content writer for SayWhat. He specializes in advertising, e-commerce, and hearing solution technologies. He enjoys educating readers on the beneficent power technology brings, while tackling societal issues that both unify and isolate modern man. Follow Alex on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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