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The (Relatively) Current State of Consumer Voice Services

Escrito por Tony Dillistone el 02/10/2018 a las 11:08:50

(Partner MediaMojos)

Toni Dilistone


Widely heralded by industry analysts as the wave of the future, voice services are becoming increasingly vocally embraced by consumers, according to a recent U.S., survey by Adobe Analytics. 


The study suggests that use of voice assistants and smart speakers (such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomePod, etc.) is becoming increasingly popular, changing the way we both view and use voice activities across the board.  The new “norm” is asking a machine to perform simple tasks - such as playing music, checking the weather and setting alarms or reminders.


A rising number of respondents are using their voices to access what Adobe calls “bite-sized” information including directions, sports scores, checking traffic or asking “fun questions,” such as jokes and “Alexa, do you love me?”


Adobe also identified a number of voice-based activities as “emerging use,” including 31% using voice for smart home commands, 30% for shopping and ordering items, 17% for food delivery and takeout orders, 16% for flight/hotel research, and,  interestingly,  36% for “making calls.”


Imagen de movil

(Image courtesy of TechCrunch)


Even non-smart speaker owners increased their use of voice assistants over the past year (31%), but 76% of smart speaker users report that they increasingly used voice in the past year. Seventy-one percent of smart speaker owners reported using them at least daily—44% of which said “multiple times a day.” Only 8% of owners reported “almost never” using them. 


The study makes it clear that smart speaker ownership is driving voice usage. Thirty-two percent of consumers reported owning a smart speaker in August 2018, compared with 28% in January 2018 - a 14% increase in just a few months. That’s significant growth given that earlier reports point out that 79% of smart speaker sales typically occur in Q4.


Smart speaker interest remains high for the upcoming critical holiday shopping season. Adobe says that 45% of consumers who already own a smart speaker plan to purchase another one for themselves, and 23% plan to buy one for someone else. Additionally, 23% of non-owners said they plan to buy one for themselves, while 9% plan to purchase one for someone else. If this purchase prediction proves to be accurate, Adobe says it will push consumer adoption to almost 50%.


“Technology trends come and go, but we think voice is here to stay,” said Colin Morris, Director of Product Management for Adobe Analytics. “Consumers continue to embrace voice as a means to engage their devices and the Internet. It’s a trend that has fundamentally changed the face of computing.”


Although consumers are increasingly seeing voice assistants and smart speakers as the smarter, faster, and easier way to perform everyday activities, and it seems likely that voice services will continue to experience massive consumer adoption and growth, there remains some consumer issues and concerns to be addressed for that to become reality.


Those include a general lack of trust in the technology; consumer education of advanced capabilities of the services; the devices ability to reliably and consistently understand voice commands (“Siri, I want the weather not a sweater”); providing a seamless and consistent user experience… and a fear of losing privacy through increased personalization.


We’ll keep a close watch on how these trends develop as the technology evolves.