With the rise of artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology, there has been a plenty discussion about how industries, the labour force, and business models will change, but how will these technologies change the way consumers and brands interact?

From then till now

The explosion of smartphones and social media opened a new world of opportunities to communicate. Mobile messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat became the norm. Chatbots followed, which allowed brands to communicate on a one-to-one, personal level. Voice recognition erupted in the same way as social media and is completely changing the way we interact. Vocal communication is part of human nature, so in ways, it’s not surprising how rapidly voice recognition technology is evolving. 

An important aspect of this technology is it being able to accurately understand speech. Being clear, concise, and articulate is a strongly weighted factor in user experience, as well as language diversity and accents. Could this technology be the key to keep endangered languages alive?

Voice theft?

It is amazing what AI technology can do with the voice: switching gender, changing accents and styles of speech. But there’s still one main problem regarding our brain: we cannot distinguish between real and virtual voices. The AI system works with a short amount of audio to learn in order to create a viable artificial voice that mimics the speaking style and tone. This leads to an increase of abuse and lets us understand how can people misuse it. For example, by manipulating and imitating the voice, there could be false registrations or political conversations to influence the results of an election, as well as fake news or stolen identities.

But on the other hand, this could help people that have lost their voice and many industries could benefit as well: for example, in the education area, teachers could create online lessons and video tutorials for their students and, at the same time, it could help the learners to just use their voice to get access to these lessons quickly and effectively.

Let’s talk business.

As we can see, companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple (among many others) are using voice recognition as an additional feature to their devices. We know that with the passing of time it will evolve and innovate at the level of which it will become something normal in our routine life and contribute to a great boom in the business field.

This refers to direct interaction with clients, in the factories of the companies– you can even give a press conference without the person being present, since it is possible to reach the point of recognizing and imitating a voice in an exact manner, with the same tone, accent, and so on, of the same person. We know that an AI machine can either replace or supplement many tasks for some employees in a company (for example, call centre, product manufacturing, etc.). Now we ask ourselves, would you be willing to use a machine to offer interviews, conferences, meetings? Using voice recognition without that person being present… will that method be reliable?

Honey, I’m home!

From the perspective of the consumer, AI is increasingly being adopted and integrated into everyday life. A fast growing trend in the past years is voice assistants such as Google Home to Alexa. According to TechCrunch

“The smart voice AI market reached a critical stage in 2018, with around 41% of U.S. consumers owning a voice-activated speaker, an increase of 21.5% in comparison to 2017.”

These assistants make our life easier by providing both the consumer and companies the option to automate tasks and adapt the customer experience according to its user. At the same time, this gives businesses the power to decide for us during some of these tasks. Take Alexa for example; traditionally if you go to the store to buy milk you could get whichever brand you see best fits your needs. Now, if you shop through Amazon Pantry with Alexa and don’t specify a brand, Amazon makes the choice for you– something that can completely change the game in the industry.

Verbio

An exceptional example of what Voice AI can do for you is what Verbio offers (verbio.com). They are a company with more than 20 years of experience, based in Barcelona, Spain. A Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya spin-off turned into a successful business with more than 15 PHd and with presence in countries around the world, such as USA (Palo Alto), Mexico (México Distrito Federal), Brazil (São Paulo) and of course Spain (Barcelona and Madrid).

They specialize in helping machines communicate with people in a natural way by offering a variety of products:

  • Speech Recognition, that allows machines to know when you are talking to them or not.
  • Voice Synthesis, which provides machines with “Natural Voice” or text, to answer to the person interacting.
  • Voice Biometric, that gives machines the ability to recognise who is talking to it.
  • Voice and Speech analytics allows machines to examine the interaction responses from the human being and create reports with information about it.

These products are combined and create solutions such as Customer contact center, Virtual assistants or even Chatbots. This gives companies a competitive advantage, especially in terms of customer service and marketing.

Want to learn more about artificial intelligence? Check out our other blog post about it! 

Written by: Sonya Parolin, Sofia Sosa, Antonio Gálvez, Valeria Orlandelli, and Luis Torres