Voice tech is certainly something worth shouting about…
Thanks to exponential improvements in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence, we can successfully interact with our devices using only our voices. Voice powered assistants like Cortana, Siri and the Google Assistant have surpassed their initial developmental stages to become helpful tools rather than a source of amusement. It’s possible that, one day, all of our technological commands could be issued via speech. Here are five sector wide organisations already making the most of voice technology, starting, of course, with Amazon.
Having developed the hugely popular Alexa platform, Amazon remains one of the pioneers of voice technology. Alexa powers Amazon’s smart home Echo devices, which gradually learn about owner preferences and deliver relevant suggestions. As part of generating targeted suggestions, Echo can detect sentiment in voice. Amazon’s recent efforts have culminated in the Echo Plus device, which integrates with other household applications. Alexa is also expected to be built into selected BMW and Mini models, extending the company’s reach outside of the home. One of the major setbacks of voice recognition is that it often requires an internet connection. In response, Amazon’s Alexa Machine Learning Team is currently working on a solution to bring voice tech offline. Amazon faces fierce competition from fellow tech giants Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
PayPal is making it even easier for customers to pay by taking advantage of voice tech. Any PayPal user who owns a Siri equipped iPhone or iPad can transfer money to another user by saying, “Hey Siri, send $20 using PayPal.” Applying voice commands to P2P transactions means that money can be sent and received easily and almost instantly. This is contributing to the trend of digital, mobile payments, as well as removing barriers to entry for those who are less tech savvy. PayPal’s voice enabled service is available in several different languages including English, French, German, Arabic and Cantonese.
Epic is an EHR (electronic health record) company currently working with voice AI specialists Nuance to streamline the process of searching for medical documents by saying key words and phrases. The ability to use voice empowers physicians, letting them search through records more efficiently. Medical professionals can open one of Epic’s compatible apps and issue simple voice commands to retrieve medication lists, patient information, test results, schedules and more. In sensitive environments such as healthcare facilities, accuracy is everything. Utilising voice commands in real world health applications indicates just how far the technology has come.
4) Wells Fargo
When it comes to banking, security is key. Wells Fargo‘s Commercial Electronic Office app uses voice technology as part of its identification process, making sure users are who they say they are. The biometric security protocol uses the VoiceKey.OnePass solution from SpeechPro, replacing traditional passwords with voice and face recognition. Identification takes under 15 seconds – faster than the extensive multi-password and question answering process used by other financial companies. Wells Fargo’s voice enabled app was named Most Innovative Feature at the 2016 Monarch Innovation Awards.
5) Dublin Airport Authority
Like any airport , the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) call centre was flooded with calls at peak times. Instead of hiring more staff members who would be idle when peak periods were over, DAA decided to install an automated system to handle simple requests. Working with VeCommerce, DAA has embedded voice recognition software that can identify easy-to-answer questions like flight schedule information, and pass these over to automated voice assistants. Following the system’s initial rollout, around 70 per cent of callers found out what they needed to know without the involvement of a human operative. Others are following suit, including the recently opened Istanbul Airport. As the biggest airport in the world, voice technology will be instrumental in handling high passenger volume.
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