Innovative voice assistant eliminates the need to use eyes and hands for interaction and opens new opportunities and possibilities to create new mandates. In future, the next billion people may not have to touch the screen resulting in a switch of consumer behavior. Many industries start to adopt the voice technology because there is a significant increasing in voice technology usage via smart phone, car and smart speaker. For MICE industry, having a voice presence could build a new format and content in the events, boost the customer experience and offer more convenience to all MICE stakeholders.
A thing can talk
A voice recognition technology has significantly made a progress in the past few years that it is able to enter the market. And now, the innovative voice assistants are all around us. Many devices such as smart phone, car, smart speaker and laptop are able to listen, understand and react to our voices. The easiest way to access the voice technology is via your smart phone since most of them have a built-in voice technology depending on the operating system. The capabilities of voice assistant include answering our questions, handling smart home devices and performing several tasks based on a verbal command. For vehicles, some of the companies such as BMW and Audi have embedded voice assistant to their products. Its capabilities will let you control over standard in-car features by voice including navigation, entertainment, temperature control, engine settings and checking car’s status. Being able to use voice control while your hands and eyes are occupied will help you focus on driving which enhances safety on the road. Among voice devices, smart speaker which acts as your assistant in your home is the most popular uses of voice technology. The top interactions are for relaxation and entertainment. Also, it is able to help with the control across all smart devices in your home and assist you while your hands are busy from the housework.
A race to lead the Voice-first economy
The key technologies behind the intelligent assistant consist of artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), natural language generation (NLG) and hybrid emotion inference model (HEIM). They improve the quality of voice assistant significantly that makes the errors drop to 5% and is able to answer 81% of the queries correctly. Currently, there are several players in the voice market but Amazon has a lead with 61.1% of market share and followed by Google with 23.9% in 2019. The trend might shift toward the voice technology with the prediction from Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company that 30% of all searches will be done through voice by the end on 2020. Moreover, in the end of 2018, there was a remarkable growth in voice devices which increased by 78%. And now, the two giant companies has striven to develop and compete in order to establish the ecosystem for voice-first economy. Since the introduction of Alexa, a voice assistant by Amazon, it can work with 20,000 smart home devices versus 10,000 for Google assistant but Google has an advantage on the integration between its assistant and popular service such as Google Map. Furthermore, they both expanded the new integration of the assistants on the automobiles. The fight over the voice technology will be more focus on smart speaker which represents its voice assistants as 93% of customers will purchase smart products based on the smart speaker brand, reported by Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. As a result, this can create a new mandate of the consumer behaviors and we should pay attention on how this technology will develop so that we can integrate it into our products or services in the future.
People start talking to the thing
Voice technology has come to an attention in the past few years. In 2018, the U.S. smart speaker owners increased by 40% climbing from 47.3 million to 66.4 million or more than one-fourth of the U.S. adults have accessed to the voice technology, according to Voicify, the market leader in voice experience management software. The usages also vary on the devices and places. At private place, people tend to interact with their smart speakers for entertainment, including queuing up the music, asking a question, checking the weather and listening to sports as well as personal management such as setting the alarm or timer, controlling smart home devices, searching for product info and instructing during the cooking. At public place, people are more likely to have their conversations with voice assistants via smartphone for productivity purposes including calling someone, sending a text, checking a schedule and setting the reminder for notification. Also, for information purposes, such as asking for traffic situations & directions, finding a place to eat and researching on a products & services info.
Entering the mainstream
According to Voicebot, the central source for data, analysis and insight about voice assistant revolution, there are several factors that push the adoption of voice technology including fastness, convenience and accuracy of technology. Voice search was the first indication that the consumer will be more likely to use voice more frequently and its usage quickly rose to 20% of all mobile searches. Moreover, the introduction of Amazon Echo and Google Home proved that the voice technology did not limit to mobile and can be anywhere. In 2018, over 79.1% of smart speaker owners in the U.S. used voice assistant in monthly basis. The number reflects high awareness of the existence in voice technology which its trend has already shifted from early adopters to early majority. When people get more comfortable with voice assistant in their home, their behaviors start to affect from private place to public place, especially, in accommodation sectors. According to Angies hospitality, a pioneer in voice activated internet and room control technology solutions, 84% of U.S. business travelers considered that a personalized experience is important. They wanted to receive the personalized service from hotel which voice assistant can come into play. Moreover, the voice technology has started to transform many sectors including media, transport and retail, according to Voice Summit 2018.
The early use of voice technology in MICE industry
Technology has shaped the new way to hold meetings and events. Today, voice technology starts to become popular and some of the organizers already integrate this technology in their events to boost the customer experience and offer more convenience to the attendee. For example, Winimy, the word first voice-activated artificial intelligence for concierge & wayfinding, debuted at AWS summit 2018 in Singapore. Its job is to navigate the way in the event area by explaining and showing the animation on the screen via voice interaction which is able to substitute the real human at the information desks. Another assistant is Eva by Voicea which can aid you during the meeting and conference. Its abilities include extracting the main ideas of the speaker as a highlight and updating them as a list on the mobile application so that you can easily review or catch up the important details later.
The future use of voice technology
The voice assistant has been using a lot at private location, but the future development is starting to focus on the public use. There are many potential integrations of voice technology in MICE industry. For instance, Marriott has installed the Amazon’s stand-alone voice assistant in the hotel room. The customers will be able to use voice control over electronic devices or services call without going down to the front desk. In addition, it allows guests to connect their own Amazon account to the voice assistant which means they can easily access their personal music collection and play it on the device. Some other hotels such as Mercantile in New Orleans deploy Angie’s voice assistant which mainly focus on improving customer’s personalization. The devices can remember preferences of customers’ room features such as brightness of light, room temperature, preferred meals and entertainment devices for future stays. In meetings and conferences, the skills kit that provided by the voice provider such as Alexa and Cortana allow the speaker to set up keywords as a signal. The voice assistance will able to synchronize and automatically proceed based on the speaker which leaves more room to engage with people. Moreover, the speaker can also ask for more details that support the presentation or command the voice assistant to convert the complicated data into understandable information in real time. The use of voice technology is a next step toward automation as it plays an important role for enhancing the customer experience. MICE stakeholders should pay attention on the development of voice technology and the change in customer behavior in order to enable to combine this technology for the better quality of service in the future.