Activated digital voice technologies such as Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri have experienced strong growth in recent years, and a virus pandemic can accelerate that, analysts said.
Reporting from the website of The Economic Times of India, voice assistants not only answer questions and shop, but are also used for smart home control and for various business and medical applications that can increase interest when people try to limit personal contact.
“The presence of digital sound has made significant inroads into smart home spaces and voice control can mean avoiding surfaces that are normally touched around the house from smartphones, to TV remotes, light switches, thermostats, door handles and more,” said Jonathan Collins of ABI Research .
This pandemic will likely provide “additional motivation and incentives for voice control at home which will help drive awareness and adoption for a variety of additional smart home devices and applications,” Collins said.
ABI estimates that shipments of voice control devices for smart home devices reached 141 million last year, and by 2020 they will grow globally by almost 30 percent.
For a wider market of voice assistants, Juniper Research estimates 4.2 billion devices will be used this year, growing to 8.4 billion by 2024, with a lot of interaction on smartphones.
Collins hopes to see increased consumer interest in smart locks and doorbells, along with other smart home systems, to eliminate the need for personal contact and face-to-face interaction as a result of a pandemic.
Avi Greengart, an analyst and technology consultant with Techsponential, said the data was not yet available but that “anecdotally, the use of voice assistants is on the rise” as a result of locking. Greengart said he expects broader business applications for sound technology in responding to health and safety issues.
“Going forward, office space will need to move towards more touch-free controls; sound can be a solution, although motion triggers for lighting are often easier and more friction free, “he said.
“However, I hope smart speakers – along with a list of emailed orders – become a common feature in hotels and other rental properties. The fewer touch points, the better. ” added Greengart.
In line with other analysts. Julian Issa of Futuresource Consulting said there appeared to be “an increase in the use of voice assistants since the virus outbreak” during the pandemic.
“While avoiding touching the surface might play a small role in this, it’s mainly because consumers spend more time at home with their devices,” Issa said.
Chris Pennell, another Futuresource analyst, said he hoped the adoption of digital assistants would likely increase, “especially in clients facing areas such as health care, retail and entertainment.”
One example of this already in use is the Mayo Clinic tool using Amazon Alexa which allows people to assess their symptoms and access information about viruses.
Other Medical Applications
Veton Kepuska, a Florida Tech computer engineering professor who specializes in speech recognition technology, is trying to develop a voice-activated medical robot that can help limit physical contact and transmission.
“If we have this infrastructure, we will be better today,” said Kepuska, who was encouraged by the COVID-19 outbreak to seek funding for research efforts.
Kepuska said this effort could lead to “humanoid” medical robots that could take over many tasks from doctors or nurses by voice interaction.
“The pandemic has created a situation where we need to think about how to provide services to people who need our help without putting ourselves in danger,” Kepuska said.
Most popular Siri
Today with the development of digital technology, Virtual Assistance is everywhere. From smartphones in your pocket, to smart speakers sitting at your coffee table, this virtual assistant helps power the next main interface after touch – that is, through sound activated.
Apple, Google, and Amazon are famous for their popular virtual assistants Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa. But which virtual assistant is the most popular out there? If you guess Amazon Alexa, you are wrong. That’s also not Google Assistant. Siri Apple seems to be the most popular virtual assistant today.
According to a report released by the market research firm Futuresource Consulting in December 2019, Siri is the most popular virtual assistant in the world with 35 percent market share. Microsoft Cortana, surprisingly, came in second with a 22 percent share. Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa accounts are 9 percent and 4 percent respectively.
The report links Apple’s success with the newly released iPhone and AirPods Pro for Siri’s success. Apple has been sending Siri with iPhone models since 2011. Microsoft Cortana is present on all Windows 10-powered PCs which explains the second position on the list.
“Current growth continues, because virtual assistants are becoming a common feature in the Consumer Electronics and Automotive sectors,” said Simon Forrest, Principal Technology Analyst at Futuresource Consulting.
“Indeed, 2020 will be the year when shipments of products that support voice surpass those without sound capabilities.” added Simon.
While Siri and Cortana can be present on more devices globally, Google and Amazon continue to dominate the speaker market supported by each company’s virtual assistants.
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa also perform better in understanding user-based questions and responding with relevant answers.
Virtual assistants have been programmed to sound more natural, mimicking human-like responses. Amazon also introduced emotions to Alexa, ensuring more involvement because virtual assistants began to sound more human-like than ordinary robots that tended to be rigid.