The voice, a trend in artificial intelligence making its debut in the business sector

Voice assistants are trending in the exponentially growing field of artificial intelligence. Integrated into connected objects, their role is to answer our questions or perform remote actions dictated by our voice.

These last months, we’ve heard a lot about smart speakers using voice recognition such as Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod. These tools are growing in popularity with specific consumers and for good reason. Being the latest in connected devices, they invite themselves into homes and obey their hosts. They give us the weather, let us listen to music, give us control over home automation and even allow us to launch a film on TV… Sales for 2017 exceeded 30 million units!

The voice assistants (Siri, Hey Google …) are mainly used on smartphones and most recently with smart connected speakers. After a visit to the CES 2018 (Consumer Electronics Show), we understand quickly that they will soon be everywhere: in our cars, our TVs, our mirrors…

While artificial intelligence is being democratized among individuals, it is also gaining ground among professionals. Innovations from industry giants like Apple, Amazon, and Google are mostly aimed at the general public but leaves nobody indifferent in the professional world. Their innovation only represents a piece of the cake. As such, promising companies and start-ups are positioning themselves in the professional segment.

By 2020, more than 50% of searches will be executed by voice. Why has voice become so popular?

  •   This is because it allows users to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. Indeed, a simple conversation leaves your hands free.
  •   Because we speak faster than we write, it returns an answer quickly and provides easy access.
  •   It is safer because it can be used in motion; while walking, pedaling or driving, the eye remains fixed on the most important: the external environment.
  •   It evolves and improves. In the US alone, 45 million objects (67 million in 2019) are connected by voice and allow artificial intelligence to continuously improve.

For companies, the voice has several consequences:

The first is the evolution of advertising and marketing methods. Individual express themselves himself differently in writing than in speaking.

The second is the integration of voice in companies’ products. Start-ups such as SNIPS market their own voice assistant that uses artificial intelligence and speech recognition. Snips is customizable and can manage calendars, buy products, launch music, search for information, serve a coffee remotely by activating the coffee maker, etc. It is sold to be integrated into products of other companies. It has the benefit of not using the cloud as a storage medium for queries. Private data is not stored online and stays on local hardware. Misunderstanding of use, lack of trust in security and handling of private data are all major concerns.

In fact, Europe has published its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applicable in May 2018. It applies to organizations that handle data (collection, processing, and storage) on citizens of the European Union. Among others, Amazon, Apple, and Google are companies concerned by this reform. They will have to make great efforts to be in good standing, especially with regards to the transfer of European data to the United States.

The third is the impact of the voice inside the organization. To illustrate it, here are some examples of its future uses:

  •   Administrative service: professional assistants imitate the role of the administrative assistant. They organize meetings, write down the minutes of meetings, create “TO DO” list, send reminders of appointments …
  •   Human Resources Department: a voice assistant can answer employees’ questions concerning holidays, internal procedures (reimbursement of expenses, declaration of illness, business trip …) via voice.
  •   IT service: For more efficient level 1 media handling: password management, printer…
  •   Commercial service: a voice assistant integrated into the CRM to know client’s accounts, create a customer record, make a note, fix an appointment …

We will soon experience a shift in the organization of internal business processes thanks to our voice. Artificial intelligence maximizes efficiency by reducing time spent on routine and/or administrative tasks.

The security question is still very present. How can I ensure data security while I am surrounded by Internet-connected objects with HD microphones? How to protect oneself from piracy and industrial espionage?

These questions nourish many theories and debates, but they will find their answers. Everything is in perpetual evolution, such as the Law with technology, to frame these innovations and preserve the respect of companies and people.

“The best way to predict future is to create it” Peter Drucker, professor, author and theorist in business management.