Every year a new technology is being touted as the ‘next big thing’ that will change the way we do business and marketing.
While some of these claims are somewhat premature or unfounded, there is a new technology that is making significant inroads into our lives and it is one you might be using now; voice recognition technology.
Next-level voice technology and the virtual assistant has arrived and is here to stay.
Since the release of Siri on the iPhone, many of us have begun talking to their phones to accomplish basic tasks such as texting or playing music.
In the past two years, virtual assistant hardware and software has improved considerably.
Along with it has come home automation thanks to devices like Google Home and a new way to shop online with the innovation and introduction of Amazon Alexa.
With over 2 billion smartphone users worldwide Google estimates that by 2020 we will enter a new era where voice search will become our first choice and 50 per cent of all searches will be made by voice.
What does all this mean for your business?
Amazon’s Alexa enables consumers to place orders through Amazon with a simple voice command.
With the impending launch of Amazon’s shopping service in Australia, this could change e-commerce forever. Australian businesses with a seller account may have a competitive advantage over their non-Amazon counterparts.
If you want customers in the e-commerce industry, it is vital your business is ready and able to handle the next chapter of voice search in retail.
The increased usage of Google’s voice assistant on Android and Google home devices will mean that the ‘semantic search’ process will also become more relevant and the way we ask for information from our devices will change significantly.
Searches and results will continue to move from single queries to much more conversational questions. Instead of typing ‘black shorts’ for example, they are likely to say ‘OK Google, Where can I find a pair of cotton black shorts?’. Keeping in line with the conversational aspect, Google Assistant would respond with a sentence such as “Here’s what I found on the web for ‘where can I find a pair of cotton black shorts?’”.
It may also respond with nearby, location-based options. This also addresses the concept of intent versus research.
These virtual assistants begin to understand your location, preferences, activities and habits and provide increasingly relevant and intuitive responses.
Big brotherish? Maybe. But if people decide to opt for the convenience these devices offer then the onus is on the business world to adjust accordingly.
This is one of the most significant tech and marketing development in the past five years and businesses should be urgently studying the implications of voice recognition and virtual assistants to ensure they stay relevant.
The future of search will be spoken, not typed on a keyboard. Will your business be the answer on everyone’s voice assistant’s lips?
This article was first published in the Newcastle Herald on November 20, 2017.