Jan 15, 2021, Innovations

Voice AI in 2021 – will it finally speak out?

Aneta Skoczewska Business Consultant

New year, new voice AI solutions? Well, why not? Artificial intelligence doesn’t laze around and constantly influences all of its fields of expertise. Although voice technologies are quite fresh, they found their own place on the market and have a continuous impact on developing various industry branches. Maybe they still haven’t launched like a rocket, but the path is being paved in front of our eyes. Here are some of the most realistic forecasts for 2021. 

Tough times spark off a new revolution

2020 forced us to adjust to a new, pandemic reality which favored moving most of the services online. Today, being enriched with nearly a year of experience, we know how to support consumers in this peculiar time and positively influence their perception of a brand. Experts assume that such an uneasy period doesn’t have to be so useless after all – it can trigger the development of voice technologies and help adapt at least a few revolutionized processes planned for a more distant future. 

It’s anticipated that voice interactions will finally go beyond the existing patterns, being more than a useful support for smartphones and cars. It’s only a matter of time – new applications from industries such as retail, transit or travel will most likely strike quite soon. 

Deep learning – the human side of a bot

Thanks to the deep learning technology – an advanced section of machine learning – we are able to provide a voicebot with more sophisticated human features. Robot of the XXI century’s second decade will be able to:

  • understand a broader context of a statement and properly adjust its own reaction
  • grasp an emotional state of interlocutor considering nonverbal methods of expression such as a look or a gesture traced by adequate sensors or cameras
  • anticipate users’ needs and provide them with proper, helpful information, being an inherent part of their everyday lives

Alexa and Google Assistant’s rightful heir

All of the voice assistant craze is just getting started. And it’s not only about Alexa/Google couple and derivative solutions that are most hip right now, but also personalised technologies adjusted strictly to brand’s and its users’ needs. 2021 can be a gamechanger when it comes to creating new assistants – especially those specialized in a particular field and enriched with substantive competences. Some companies will probably prefer to bring their own independent bot to life instead of using ready-made, often limited solutions. A new assistant will do much more than just simple customer service tasks. It will support a bunch of inner operations, search processes, retail, field work – and it’s only a drop in the sea of its endless possibilities. Voice will become a new platform able to define existing digital experiences and give them a second life. 

Time to speak with some mobile apps

It’s estimated that in the near future voice will become an immanent part of modern mobile applications. In 2020, when most of us were forced to stay at home, the popularity of smart speakers drastically grew. If the new year is prone to let us out of our apartments, get back to our offices and regular commuting, we’ll seek for similar functionalities in apps and cars. Getting used to what’s convenient and pleasant is easy – that’s why companies need to catch up with all of their consumers’ new requirements. We want to do everything both faster and better, not having to put too much effort in it. 

Podcasts on Alexa

In September 2020, Amazon released a dedicated repository of podcasts which can be listened to on Alexa. For now, it’s hard to evaluate if the change has been valid for the users or not.  Nevertheless, we can anticipate a growth of this voice assistant’s popularity as a top podcast platform in the world. 

Short audio clips

Text-to-speech mechanism (TTS) which usually sounds a bit unnatural is doomed to be forgotten in favor of short audio clips. Used in applications, they’ll support content, products or services search – the communication will be clear, comprehensible and more fluent. 

Microphone on a wrist

Smartwatches will be given a new life following minor commands given by means of speech. Having a microphone on your wrist can be quite an interesting option, especially as typing on such a small device can be a bit inconvenient. 

Voice from TV

It seems obvious that a voice assistant can be a part of TV, too. With its help we can change a channel, volume or search for interesting information – it will all depend on TV’s model and its capabilities.

Multimodality – several options in one tool

Industry experts and apps creators are unanimous and… relatively preservative. They know that voice solutions won’t dominate the market overnight and displace currently popular functions. Hence, the nod to multimodal applications binding several different forms of communication and service. Are we ready for a change? 2021 can bring some crucial alterations and unequivocally answer the question.

It’s foretold that, even with a choice, a contemporary user will be more eager to use voice AI solutions which are easier and more convenient than a touch or typing. As a result, a number of such applications will probably rise to meet users’ expectations.

Voicebot in customer service

A company that expects its clients to be patient, doesn’t invest in efficient phone calls handling and avoids real-time communication? In 2021 it’s an unforgivable mistake. Competition doesn’t sleep benefiting from each of such stumbles. In times of moving most of the services online, we need a capable contact with our consumers – every person interested in our brand should see it as a reliable partner. Hiring a smart voicebot, a company supports the productivity of its employees and improves communication channels with a client. We won’t miss a single phone call and complaint because all the processes will be properly automated. Transferring them to a bot will relieve some of the employees, letting them focus on more demanding tasks.

Contactless means safe

It’s said that only in times of pandemic most of us learnt how to properly wash our hands. We felt that a simple touch can be risky and dangerous. Door handles in public places, products in shops, and even our own smartphones became true enemies of our orderly lives. Fear of touch that developed during the pandemic has been a trigger for turning to voice solutions. First changes will probably be seen in the new Apple devices in 2021. The revolution will also have an impact on ticket machines, sales points, and food ordering kiosks. A good example is an option implemented last year by our client InPost – remote locker opening and posting a parcel directly from one’s phone, not having to touch anything that’s strange and scary.

Voice AI in 2022 and further on

We are waiting impatiently for what the following years will bring. Apart from the directions mentioned above, there’s also a foundation for voice ads, natural language processing, and voice-based toys. The key to success is an increasing quality of the implemented solutions. The more human the robot will get, the more effectively it’ll be used in our everyday processes.

Want to prepare your company for upcoming trends? Let us know! We’ll be happy to answer any questions and match a product exactly to your needs.