In 1941 Glenn Miller put Chattanooga (Tennessee) on the map when he played the lush swing dedicated to the train that passed through the town. Chattanooga Choo Choo became nothing less than the first recording in history to sell a million copies.
Eighty years later, the Project Voice congress brings a new milestone in the history of audio that replaces this quiet and southern location of deep America on the map: the so-called Voice First.
Voice First refers to the disruption of voice as the main form of interaction with any type of technological device, together with the development of artificial intelligence and the so-called Internet of things. This in itself is a revolution. Our relationship with machines will be much more natural, simple and human. Let’s talk to them.
- More than virtual assistants
Project Voice 2020 has brought together the main protagonists of this trend. Virtual assistants and home speakers They have a very prominent space, but they are only two examples of the multiple ways in which the voice is becoming in the center. The automotive, health, education, marketing, financial or mobility services, home environment … All of them begin to be deeply affected by this new relationship with the user.
Once Amazon, Google and Samsung (Bixby) created their developer platforms, imitating what Apple did at the time with the apps for mobile, the fruits began to arrive. The most relevant is not the amount of skills or actions developed, but the quality and scope of what is being achieved, as shown by some examples of what was presented at the fair.
Until now, security was a big problem in the application of voice in financial services. The software Voice ID uniquely identifies the user through biometric elements of the voice. For example, in a demonstration, the system perfectly distinguished a real voice from a recording. They can incorporate more layers of security as facial or behavioral elements with their hands. Under the mantra of “zero authentication effort,” products such as ID Voice combat phishing, the deepfake voice fraud or spoofing. Interestingly the developers were Russian and the American commercials. That with Rocky did not happen.
In advertising, great advances are also foreseen. Nowadays Alexa does not have a system similar to Adwords, but nobody escapes that at some point it will arrive. In the world of voice there is only one or two answers to a search. Companies like Whetstone develop platforms that interact on all voice devices, are multimodal with users, integrate with brands’ CRM and launch advertising messages to users while chatting with devices. An example is the hotel industry, in which Amazon is developing Alexa Hospitality. Platforms like Whetstone’s can work through television, a mobile phone or of course a Home Speaker. And you could also do it through a device placed in a car or in the fridge. Always natural for the user and measured in its entirety.
Huge advances are being seen in the education sector. Alexa arrives in the classroom shooting attention, the engagement and customization. Social learning based on emotional components is one of the keys. The Alexa4edu team conducts experiences in classrooms with 4 or 5 devices per class, all working at the same time with different groups of students in a personalized and content-based way. Many skills -like Voicelets- they offer solutions for teachers and students and reach the home environment, where they help students not only to do their homework, but also to be more autonomous and responsible.
They have also highlighted in the fair advances in the field of inclusion and diversity, such as the initiatives of Women in voice or the wonderful and exciting Project Understood from the Down Syndrome Association of Canada and Google to get voice assistants to understand the collective.
In the world of health, hospitals and developers have come together to set the tone. The Mayo Clinic, for example, has developed First Aid, its highly successful first aid voice application, although the main focus is on remote user care with voice as the main interface between all types of medical devices, the patient and the doctor. Services such as Constant Companion are similar to those offered by the Madrid city council for the elderly, although the patient only needs his voice to activate the entire process and there are many features that can be added to the system.
A Mercedes Benz chairs the showroom and its MBUX is one of the most talked about. Virtually every car brand has its assistant running or incorporates some. The integration of Voice First in the car transforms the way we understand the car. The trend is the car as an entertainment center. Thus Drivetime creates a voice-based experience specially designed for when in the car, with games and entertainment. Other solutions such as What3words focus on facilitating geolocation by translating any geographic coordinate into 3 words. Try to enter the sequence of words: they remain. They agree in the Cabify search engine and you will see how it takes them to Santiago Bernabéu himself.
With the penetration rates triggered and the technology reversing millions of shovels, voice disruption is unstoppable.
Juan Corrales is CEO of Flyabit, AudioBranding studio and digital advertising