Voice interfaces have been around for quite some time now. It started in the early 1950s with “Audrey” that could recognize numbers. Over the years, systems became more and more powerful, and in 2011 Apple brought Siri to the mobile phone mass market.
A short and incomplete history
In the history of voice interfaces, there were many technological advances and systems that introduced a new level of voice recognition.
1952: “Audrey” could recognize the numbers from 0-9
1962 – “Shoebox” could understand 16 English words
1970 – The Hidden Markov Model (HMM) boosted speech recognition technology by introducing prediction models.
1971 – “Harpy” could understand more than 1000 words
1984 – “Speechworks” was an interactive voice response system over the telephone
1996 – VAL was the first dial-in voice portal based interactive voice recognition system
1997 – “Dragon Dictate” was the first software that was able to recognize continuous speech
2007 – “Siri” (the company) was founded
2008 – Voice search queries were introduced by Google.
2011 – “Siri” introduced on the iPhone 4S
2014 – Amazon launched Echo with “Alexa”
So, if voice interfaces have been around for so many years, why they are a hot thing now? There are several reasons for this. First of all, the quality of speech recognition is extremely good thanks to advances driven by AI. When you talk with a digital assistant, they understand you very well and are able to make sense out of your inquiries (well, for the most part anyway). Second of all, it simply took a while for smart home appliances like smart speakers to gain a market share. It’s not alien anymore for people to talk to their speakers at home and get an answer. Third of all, Bluetooth headphones (and built-in microphones) are working. When activating a digital assistant, there is no need to hold your phone to your face and talk to it, your headphones can do the job. Forth of all: podcasts are mainstream with millions of podcasts available and many more people listening to them. After all, listening to a podcast is a nice thing to do while going for a walk or commuting to work.
And last but not least: the Clubhouse hype. This voice-only social has generated hype and has sparked interest in audio as a communication medium.
Voice for your Business
Since voice is everywhere, you need to enrich your communication channel with your customers with a voice channel. There is no way around it. There are many basic services that your business can offer like for example:
– Contact Requests
– Product Feedback
We’re happy to work with you on bringing your services to personal assistants like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant. Just ask Siri to contact us: “Hey Siri, contact IKANGAI” after installing the Siri Shortcut.