The Emergence of Voicebots
Let us consider the real world of today. If a user wanted to buy a sensible pair of clothing for his daily work today, he would either
While the first two options are more natural to how humans operate, it is time consuming and more tedious than having to click and order from the comfort of his couch. But this user wants his apple and eat it too, as do most of us. We are looking forever for personalized content, personalized recommendations and personalized everything with as minimal required as work from us.
Even if the websites and apps of today have personalization built in, they are mostly content related personalizations, it still feels like you need to do everything. Click and search and browse and choose and pay and track. There has been a growing need to make it easier than this. What if the user gets a personal assistant to help him choose better and manage all mundane actions. That’s where voice assistants and chatbots come in. These are systems that connect to service providers while having targeted knowledge about each user’s behavior and preferences.
With chatbots you get a streamlined interface of actual communication. It is structured to understand the user’s needs and choices and suggest options. It is much more natural interaction than a point and click website. And of course, engineers had to make it more awesome. Users can now “talk” and get their scheduling taken care of, have their finances managed, get their daily dose of news, get their groceries done, be reminded of their tasks and even get suggestions based on interest. Just like having an ever helpful and competent personal assistant, but one with a more specific focus.
Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple, with a bunch of other highly competent technological teams have been releasing their voice products in the past couple of years with a lot of potential and uses. They have
Wait, Why Should You Care?
If you have been following the news over the past one year, you are sure to have caught something to the tune of “people are using messaging platforms more than social networks”. And the scale here is actually thousands of millions of monthly users and not just a specific group even. Everyone seems to be “chatting” online and of course businesses are running down to where the users are. You want in too, don’t you?
There is also a slow and steady growing concern among everyone that installing multiple apps in their phones for doing multiple things is not “natural”. For some repetitive uses, native apps definitely make sense but if the actions your users perform are spread across time periods and different each time, they would rather look for an easier way to get it done than having to install that one app for that one time.
So, the logical move of the industry was to integrate their services into existing messaging platforms like Facebook messenger and iMessages. They wanted to have “bots” that “communicate” with you when needed and solve your needs. When you want to buy a pair of shoes, pick up a conversation with the Nike bot in Facebook.
While it looked like these messaging platforms were all set for the long haul, with the tremendous strides happening in natural language processing and machine learning, adding voice to the chatbots so that users can have a real conversation with the service was the obvious logical next step.
If you are still not convinced your service needs to adapt Voice, just look at the numbers —
Understanding when to have a Voice Interface to your bot:
Context drives the decision to lean towards voice interface or visual interface for your chatbot. Consider the following cases
So, defining the context and understanding the viability of the voice vs visual interfaces makes or breaks your solution. Check out our previous article on voice user interface design to find out the best practices.
For example, we see a lot of retailers adapting the voice interface quite quickly actually. It is easier for a user to order his regular groceries from Amazon, Whole Foods or his local provider using just his voice. In fact, statistics show that the percentage of users using Amazon Echo or Google Home to order their products have increased manifold towards the end of 2017.
Another interesting domain is with cars and navigation. Apple introduced CarPlay and Google has Google Auto. Both help with attending calls, responding to texts, using maps for navigation, control internal car systems for temperature and mechanics, play music and even tell your notifications.
And in an exciting turn of events, Amazon and Microsoft have announced their partnership to expose their services to Alexa and Cortana so that users of one platform/device can utilize the services from the other.
What goes into building a Voicebot?
There is something important to understand before we dive any further into this world. These bots
When building the voicebot, you would typically have to follow these steps –
If you want to go the extra step, you need to consider these —
What typically goes into the functioning of these voice assistants’ services?
Let us throw in something to excite the tech enthusiast in you — in their basic anatomy, each of the existing voice services, will need to have these three components,
Challenges with Voicebots
So, what next?
Did we interest you enough to consider adding Voice to your service? Do you us to explore the possibilities for you? Do get in touch with us. Also, check out our other blog posts with more details on Voice Assistants and Chatbots.