Once-novel innovations like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri have now become common, almost everyday facets of our lives. This has led many people to believe that the voice communications revolution has come and gone, and that few forthcoming innovations will meaningfully upset the status quo. The truth of the matter, however, is that the voice communication revolution is only just getting started. A number of forthcoming developments will continue to put voice-activated technology at the center of our lives for years if not decades to come.
Here’s why voice assistants and voice communication will continue to be essential elements of the economy, politics, and our social lives for a long time.
Cellphones were just the start
Most people were introduced to voice communications technology in a meaningful way when it became commonplace for smartphones to have voice-activated assistants. Apple’s iPhone has continuously been recognized as a barrier-breaking device that’s helped change our broader culture, for instance, and never was that truer than when Siri went from being an idea relegated to videogames and Sci-Fi movies and turned into a common everyday reality that we carried around in our pockets. Cellphones were just the start of the voice communications revolution that’s still underway, and we can expect our voice-activated assistants to spread elsewhere in our lives very quickly.
Automobiles are now being sold with voice-activated assistants built into them, for instance, and most of them are already compatible with existing voice-activated assistants. Amazon, Google, and Apple have a sizable leg up on the competition when it comes to voice-assistants in automobiles because consumers are already intimately familiar with the voices of Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. This means that newcomers to the voice revolution will struggle to compete with these existing giants, though consumer mindsets could change as time goes on. “Familiarity fatigue” could set in and once-beloved assistants like Alexa and Siri could become yesterday’s news in the future.
The rise of home assistants was the next obvious step up for the voice assistants who were once constrained to our smartphones. Indeed, smartphones have now given way to “smart homes,” or IT-savvy households that are replete with voice activated assistants and various technological gadgets that make everyday life easier or more enjoyable. The number of people expected to use smart assistants with voice technology is expected to soar from 504 million in 2016 to 1.6 billion by 2021, according to one analysis.
Even the speech-deprived can now find technology like text to speech converters which make it easier to audible express what you mean. As innovators continue to find ways to make the speech of digital assistants more human, it will become increasingly flawless and even hard to recognize as being robotic in nature. Future voice assistants may be able to call others on your behalf, leaving detailed messages or even carrying out minor conversations. All of this is to say that the voice communications revolution isn’t over, but only just truly getting underway.