The rise of voice interfaces in business environments is happening as more companies are seeing the value in it. Devices such as the Amazon Echo and others have the potential to support executives sitting in on business meetings, to procure relevant data in real-time on demand, and to provide a direct connection with a multitude of different analytics.
Interacting with a computer’s voice is something not all consumers are yet adjusted to but it is happening. As the minds of everyday consumers change, the business community does follow. Decades ago, one couldn’t imagine operating in a business setting without a mouse or keyboard to draw from. Now we do it every day as we gather data and communicate with our smartphones. Behaviours have changed and voice interfaces, in a decade’s time or likely less, are going see huge integration into our lives.
Amazon is introducing Alexa for Business which is a slightly modified voice interface designed to be used specifically in business environments. This cloud service uses voice to navigate its contents. This is among the first products Amazon has released in this category specifically targeting businesses and there may be more in the pipeline in the years to come. There are already companies who have independently integrated Amazon Echo into different tools.
Despite all of the investment and those in favor of voice-enabled interfaces, there are still some who are choosing to access the tech in other ways. For example, Cisco recently introduced Cisco Spark Assistant this past November which is designated to act on voice commands during business meetings. In addition, there are companies with more specific ambitions in developing their own voice-friendly software, including the start-up Roxy which is said to be targeting the hospitality industry. These developers and companies, which are just beginning to come into the voice interface business market, highlight the growing trend of some choosing to do without the help of the big four – Amazon, Apple, Google, or Microsoft. They actually have a pretty good point in doing so as well. By going it alone, companies such as Cisco see more control over their systems and interactions, knowing that this data is not being syphoned elsewhere.
As we look ahead to the next few years, we see much potential for voice-enabled technologies and voice interfaces to dominate the business world. Though companies have focused on everyday consumers, the value of voice interfaces in business is high. Throughout 2018, expect integration to be higher than in the past year as more companies, both independently and with the assistance of the big four, come around.
Voice interfaces pose no threat to the mouse and keyboard, desktop or laptop computers, or even smartphones in a company setting. When appropriate though, voice interfaces can help cut down on typing time and arguably provide a more natural connection to company data.
If you are a small business owner or an entrepreneur, consider the different ways voice interfaces can improve interactions and efficiencies. Imagine pulling out a voice interface in your next conference or client meeting. When it serves a purpose and makes sense to enable, having voice interfaces in your back pocket can provide advantage. Be sure to take note in the coming year as new releases are sure to further entice integration with the business market.