January 26, 2021

Indian shoppers are utilizing voice know-how to get issues completed. Manufacturers are you listening?

By Sreeraman Thiagarajan

What do you consider while you image people speaking to their units and utilizing voice to command machines? If you’re like most of us, you’re most likely imagining a futuristic Star Trek like situation the place man-machine interactions happen as if by magic. However the actuality is kind of completely different, as a result of voice-enabled assistants are already part of our on a regular basis lives, and whereas there’s a good bit of technical wizardry wanted, none of it includes endeavor voyages to distant planets.

Again on earth, at my dwelling, the voice-enabled Google Assistant has rapidly turn out to be a well-known presence, and my dad, spouse and son flip to it for assist, a number of occasions a day. Appa, who can’t see too nicely with out his studying glasses, calls out to the Google Assistant on his cellphone each time he must entry some info with out having to sort. My son can’t appear to recover from his curiosity and retains asking the Assistant about astronomy and math, and I normally name out to ask for a recipe earlier than making kitchen experiments!

Voice is intuitive, straightforward to make use of, and permits customers to multitask. I can vouch for the truth that it’s tremendous useful to not have to succeed in for my cellphone when I’ve atta on my fingers, however indisputably it’s Appa who has essentially the most enjoyable participating with Google Assistant. One in every of his favorite methods is to try to outwit the AI powering the gadget, in new methods.

An extended drive fanatic, my dad likes to quiz the Assistant by asking for solutions he already has. As an example, he loves saying, ‘OK Google, what’s the distance to Kovilpatti?’, and almost applauds when the bot responds with an correct reply, relying on the place he’s. When he’s visiting me in Mumbai the gap to Kovilpatti is 1,526 kms, and when he’s at his dwelling in Bangalore, Kovilpatti is a mere 523 kms away. My dad already is aware of this as a result of he has been driving to and from Kovilpatti for 20 years now.

Nonetheless, there may be a variety of work that goes into producing these solutions in a flash. Firstly, the voice assistant is contextually conscious of the gadget location, secondly, it understands indic phrases with a purpose to precisely pinpoint a small city located alongside NH 44, the nation’s longest freeway connecting Kashmir to Kanyakumari. And, thirdly and most significantly, it understands the intent behind the query and supplies a significant response, all very quickly.

The dialog doesn’t have to finish there. You may ask comply with up questions like, ‘How lengthy does it take to get there?’ and also you’ll hear the know-how reply with the hours it takes to drive to the vacation spot. If the 25-hour lengthy drive isn’t your type, then be at liberty to comply with up with ‘What about flights?’ to get flight choices to fit your price range. What makes it so easy and magical is that you simply don’t must say the identify of the city many times to get solutions to your comply with up questions. The AI is wise sufficient to know and keep in mind that you’re nonetheless speaking about reaching Kovilpatti.

In case you suppose that every one of that is made doable solely by Google with monumental assets at its disposal, suppose once more. Transformative voice know-how is constructed utilizing an open platform, so all of us can contribute to furthering the probabilities of voice know-how, by constructing new conversational experiences to swimsuit our native contexts and wishes. Whether or not you’re an automaker or shopper items model, an leisure firm, or an unique content material creator with an thought you want to implement on voice, there’s a place for you throughout the ecosystem. Not solely is the voice know-how platform open for builders to construct and form it as they please, the use instances of voice themselves are rising. With increasingly individuals speaking of their pure voice to their units, voice know-how is being formed by individuals in distinctive and surprising methods.

The place shoppers go, manufacturers comply with. Manufacturers right this moment are observing this transformation in shopper behaviour and have begun providing Indian prospects new sorts of merchandise, companies and experiences on a brand new platform. With voice changing into the brand new UI after contact, additionally it is creating a unique sort of market.

Nonetheless, among the manufacturers we seek the advice of for want a bit extra convincing. With all choices being information pushed, a bit little bit of skepticism is barely to be anticipated, however my narrative is borne out by exhausting details and figures. In keeping with IDC, Voice enabled units and the ‘hearables’ market is rising at a wholesome price of 289%. That is excellent news for an entire lot of us, working to extend adoption of voice applied sciences, for enterprise and shoppers.

The story solely will get higher while you realise that India is uniquely poised to embrace voice know-how, with 99% individuals accessing the web from their telephones, our nation may be very clearly a cellular pleasant ecosystem, and android-first at that. Let me remind you that each android cellphone comes with voice know-how constructed into it. Which signifies that individuals are in a position to merely start utilizing voice tech proper out of the field, to search, purchase, or search assist, with out having to fret about shopping for a particular gadget or downloading an app. Manufacturers with robust mobile-first methods who want to faucet into the voice enabled market, due to this fact, have a strategic benefit, in an Indian context.

Voice is enabling entry even for customers in India who can not afford a smartphone. Voice know-how works even on a easy Jio function cellphone operating KaiOS. Priced between Rs 700 to Rs 1400 worth vary, these telephones are utilized by 100 million individuals. Whereas these entry degree telephones do not have the flamboyant capabilities of contact, they nonetheless come geared up with know-how that’s serving to odd Indians in far-flung villages and cities use voice as their major interface to navigate their cellphone and entry a world of services and products.

Distinction this with a extremely developed economic system just like the US, the place there are over 100 million households with a number of voice assistants, embedded into completely different home equipment and surfaces. You may management every part proper from the porch lights to door cameras to the thermostat, utilizing voice. However right here, we Indians are utilizing voice for a completely completely different set of actions, counting on it to play devotional music, be taught English, observe orders on Swiggy and even play antakshari through Gaana Antakshari. Simply say ‘Okay Google, play Gaana Antakshari’ and see what occurs.

The chances, then, are infinite and thrilling. And types in search of early victories within the voice house can merely begin with what they have already got, by sharing present details about their enterprise or model and making it accessible in a conversational format, on any voice enabled gadget. As they transfer alongside this journey, manufacturers can empower prospects with self-serve options, resembling letting them test their account steadiness or the standing of their order, simply by utilizing the voice. For shopper dealing with manufacturers and companies focusing on millennials, there are much more methods to domesticate buyer delight. Create a podcast, curate a playlist, assist your viewers with fascinating recipes, quiz them on their favorite matter, and provides them an opportunity to take part in a contest, or just assist them get issues completed. All with out lifting a finger. As a result of the ability of voice know-how means you’ll be able to expertise some magic, with out transferring off your sofa. That feels like a future I might get used to!

(Sreeraman Thiagarajan is CEO of Agrahyah Applied sciences and aawaz.com. He tweets at @sreeraman)