At OrangeAxis, we always have our ear to the ground, listening for cutting-edge technology trends. Web 2.0 (early 2000s), the rise of social networks (mid 2000s), smartphones and mobile computing (the first iPhone was released in 2007), and more recently, the Internet of Things (IoT), the network of “smart” physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other things connected via the Internet.
We are confident that the next big game-changer will be voice interaction.
Apple introduced its virtual assistant, Siri, in 2011. Siri uses a natural language interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions (such as setting a reminder). What started as a novel (though sometimes helpful) service has exploded into a tech arms race of sorts between Apple, Google, and Amazon.
Just last week, CNN posted an article entitled, “Amazon’s Alexa is the biggest challenge for brands since the internet.” Another recent report suggests that voice-enabled smart speakers will reach 55% of U.S. households in less than five years. Voice interfaces are also expanding across other platforms, including computers, tablets, connected TVs, gaming consoles, cars, and wearables.
“A new Wild West has opened up,” said Z. John Zhang, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of Business. “Alexa is the gatekeeper.”
People are embracing voice-first user interfaces because they are natural, conversational, and user-centric. Think about it: when you need to solve a problem that involves another person, what’s the best way to solve it? Having a conversation.
“The popularity of voice devices is proving to be a first credible challenge to touch as the primary interface for consumer electronics,” says Adobe’s Colin Morris, adding that, “Consumers will expect that brands know their preferences and tastes across channels.”
While companies are still trying to figure out how to monetize voice interactions, there is no doubt that simply having your brand visible on these platforms is yet another way of connecting with your clients and customers. At OrangeAxis, we are currently developing Alexa skills for several of our clients (Alexa skills are interactive voice programs that run on Amazon’s Echo brand of smart speakers). Skills range from specific product information to mutual fund price updates and commentary.
Do you have a great idea for an Alexa skill for your business? Drop us a line and let’s talk about it!