It can be difficult to imagine a world without voice technologies like Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Voice. And while it may seem like a recent invention, voice technology has, in fact, been around since the 1950s. Of course, when it was first introduced, it was much different than it is today.
In 1950, K. H. Davis, R. Biddulph and S. Balashek of Bell Laboratories invented a device called Audrey, which recognized the numbers 1–10 and eventually expanded to 16 English words. The next milestone for voice technology came in the 1970s when IBM, Carnegie Mellon University, and Stanford Research teamed up to make “Harpy,” which could understand over 1,000 English words and entire sentences.
Jonathan Ramaci, tech entrepreneur from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and CEO of Wellnest, a company that uses voice technology to better the lives of seniors receiving healthcare, shares an overview of voice technology and improvements to the technology.
The Digital Era and Voice Technology
Today’s modern voice recognition devices are quite impressive. In fact, the past few years have seen many exciting developments in the tech industry. One of the most intriguing of these advances is the rise of voice-controlled assistants.
Just 10 years ago, improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) and natural linguistic programming (NLP) like Siri have turned voice technology into a promising tool. Today, we are seeing several trends and developments in voice commands and voice AI that will grow in the coming year and beyond.
So, what are they? Jonathan Ramaci shares three trends and developments in voice technology.
Increased Voice Searches
Voice assistants are becoming even better at answering questions than ever before. As a result, more and more people are becoming accustomed to using them in their everyday life. In fact, 20% of Google searches on mobile devices are verbal searches, leaving no surprise to say this percentage will continue to increase in the coming years — and as voice technology continues to evolve.
When it comes to using voice assistants, consumers usually do this while multitasking and can either be alone or amongst a group of people when using them. Think about it: using speech commands is faster and allows the user to conduct searches while both hands are busy. In today’s fast-paced environment, the more hands-free technology is, the better, says Jonathan Ramaci.
Continued Voice Integration
We are no strangers to integrating voice technology with other everyday products. For example, Amazon has been ahead of the game with the invention of Alexa, a voice assistant that is already integrated into a vast array of products including Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerators. More recently, Google has announced Google Assistant Connect. The idea behind this technology is for manufacturers to create custom devices that serve specific functions and are integrated with the Assistant.
In the coming years, we will continue to see even more development of voice-enabled devices. This type of technology will include an increase in mid-level devices i.e. devices that have some assistant functionality, but aren’t full-blown smart speakers. Instead, the devices will communicate with a smart speaker, display, or even evident on wearable devices via Bluetooth, including smart phones, earbuds, watches, glasses, and even rings.
Jonathan Ramaci on Voice Push Notifications
Push notifications are designed to increase user engagement and retention, says Jonathan Ramaci. They simply remind users of the app and display relevant and useful messaging to the user. Now that voice technology is a predominant trend in the tech industry, voice push notifications are becoming more widely adapted. Now, users can hear notifications rather than read them. This type of technology is most recently evident in Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, which allow the user to enable spoken notifications for any third-party app that has the compatibility.