Lately, I've been running around at home shouting "OK Google, turn off the lights" and "Alexa, how do I get rid of a dead body?" amongst enter code hereother things such as getting them to set reminders, reading the news, controlling music or TV and searching the internet.
Voice is here, and businesses have to get prepared to tap into this new technology sooner rather than later.
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Google Home and Amazon Alexa are the pioneers of Voice Recognition Devices (VRD) and enable businesses to interact in new ways with customers and their internal workforce.
Both services enable you to develop custom Skills or Actions, which trigger functions and allow you to create fully voice-controlled applications. From allowing customers to order products, checking their account balance or making a reservations everything can be done by simply speaking to the device.
Creating such a service is easy by principle. First, you will have to design the flow of the service that will show how users interact with the service. The designed flow will be used to identify intents which are used to command the service such as "book," "check" "search" etc. The intent will trigger a backend-service, and the remaining voice command is translated to input parameters that require processing or further clarification.
For example, your service may support checking an account balance, and the user can say "Alexa ask my banking-app to check my balance," and the service may respond with "which account, checking or savings?"
These types of scenario require detailed planning, ensuring security is in place as well as the development of backend-services that can handle the logic.
Should you consider creating a voice service for your business?
There are a couple of considerations to be made.
First, do you have the underlying infrastructure in place to deliver the service? It means that ideally you already expose your service in another digital format, such as a website or app and you can leverage existing systems to build your voice service on top of it.
Second, do enough of your customers or target audience have Voice Recognition enabled devices? If yes the next question is which one as developing for Alexa or Google Home would differ slightly, and you will have to consider the additional effort.
Third, will your service offer a great customer experience and make the life of your customers easier? If it's a complicated process that is easier done using your thumbs and a smartphone then maybe your innovation may fail.
However, creating a Voice Activated service can also become a competitive edge these days. Not only can it be used to deliver services but also to provide content to your audience. Think about offering up-to-date information, news or insights via a simple command. Amazon offers a service to set this up easily using RSS feeds and a service called Flash Briefing.
One great opportunity often overlooked is the creation of business services. Alexa enables you to release applications secured within your business network. You can create private skills for your workforce that help you streamline your business operations. Imagine an environment where you want to get hands-free access to critical information such as an operating theater or a laboratory.
Voice Service adoption has only started, and we are inevitably going to see a lot more innovation in this field. It's a technology to keep up with and making sure your services stay prepared for the future.