The Rise of Voice Controlled Devices

Whether it’s smart toilets ordering extra toilet roll and improving the sanitation of facilities. Fridges which calculate when the food is going to expire and tells people in their homes. Or mirrors which you can speak to “mirror mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all!“.

Voice technology is here to stay and it’s predicted that less and less will be touching our screens and more and more will be talking to our smart televisions, smart homes, smart speakers and connected cars.

From saying “Hey Google to turn my heating on” at home or “Alexa open the garage door” these commands will become part of our daily lives. And in fact Alexa has programmed something called routines where by saying “Alexa I’m up” you can get your coffee machine to make a cappuccino, turn the lights on, play the news and turn the car engine on to heat the vehicle.

While some people might say this is plain lazy, it is undeniable that the lower value routine tasks can be eliminated to allow humans to focus on more creative, personal and largely higher value tasks, be that at home or at work.

Which leads me to the point around work. Again we see the consumer tech world overtaking the business tech world. Voice technology is much more prevalent within our homes than it is our businesses. This means businesses need to catch up with voice technology and cash in on the benefits.

Examples might include “Alexa play me my work schedule” or “Alexa book the board room for 10 AM”. “Alexa we run out of coffee” to order more or even better “Alexa order some coffee from Starbucks and deliver to City Exchange”.

Again some people might say this is eradicating the job of a personal assistant whilst others might proclaim that the personal assistance can focus on higher value tasks.

For the travelling salesman speaking to Alexa and other voice assistance in their cars is not only a safer way of driving but a productive way of preparing for meetings and following through with meeting minute actions. Instead of the travelling sales rep getting home late at night and having to type up his laptop notes into a CRM this will already be done!

Millennials might find adapting to this technology easy but other workers within organisations will need to learn the new lingo of Siri, Cortana, Alexa and of course Hey Google. People will need to change their habits to a voice first approach to technology is fast becoming a reality. Although I can’t see people talking to mirrors in communal toilets at work I can see video conferencing through voice activation speeding up connectivity and saving massive amount of time.

How often have we all been in meetings where the technology becomes part of the conversation? If the technology can blend into the background and become silent and unnoticeable we can then focus on the real business and real content of such meetings. After all the voices are much faster method of communication than the fingers.

When the voice technology becomes so powerful and our intent is understood more possibilities will become available. One example might be voice technology taking meeting minutes notes transcribing the voice to text and computing the decisions or actions needed. Automatically everyone who attended the meeting could then be informed.

We can now login to our banks using our voice apparently the human voice is a unique as our DNA. Whether the voice will take over as the next great bastion of IT remains to be seen. One unfortunate side effect voice technology is that some babies first words will now be Alexa or maybe Siri!