2017 was a year of Cambrian explosion for voice-enabled devices. Echo Dot was Amazon’s best-seller during the holiday period. CES this year offered a glimpse into the future of conversational voice: a world where consumers can use voice to control everything — thermostats, lamps, sprinklers, security systems, smartwatch, fitness bracelet, smart TV, or their vehicles.
2018 will be the year for Voice to enter the Enterprise and transform how work gets done. Here are a few important factors for Voice to make a seminal impact in the enterprise:
- Conversational Experience: Enterprise Voice AI should provide a human-like conversational experience. Unlike request-response, we should be able to interrupt the Assistant anytime. While you are getting your daily briefing by saying “how does my day looks like” and listening to the summary of your meetings, urgent emails, direct messages and important tasks; you should be able to interrupt anytime and ask to “Text Laura that I am running 10 min late, and move my next meeting by half an hour”.
- Contextually Intelligent: Today, we use a whole array of applications to get things done at work. Enterprise Voice AI need to preserve the context of the conversation so the user can have a deep meaningful dialogue to complete the business workflow drawing information from different data sources — without switching the applications. For example, a technician may ask “Where is my next appointment” followed by “Which cable modem should I bring”. Enterprise Voice Assistant will need to preserve the customer context from the first question to pull up the right modem information.
- Proactive Predictions: Voice AI for the enterprise should not just respond to the user commands, it should also be able to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to proactively make recommendations and predictions to accelerate the task. For example, when a Delivery Service guy asks “how do I get to the next delivery”, Voice Assistant should provide directions but also proactively tell “By the way, the door code is 1290 to get access to the building.”
- Domain Specific: Every enterprise and every industry is unique, and has its own lingua franca. Enterprise Voice AI should be able to apply Machine Learning (ML) to learn the unique vocabulary of every domain to improve the speech-to-meaning. The assistant should cumulatively learn from each user interaction such that it can make recommendations to other colleagues about what to say to complete the task.
Voice AI will not just be used for simple work tasks like control the meeting or book a conference room. It will be used to complete the complex business workflows because as we think about it, the more complex the scenario, the more it benefits from voice AI to help users get what they need quickly without switching applications.
2018 will be the groundbreaking year business leaders in every industry will wake up to the importance of voice AI.