How will voice technologies integrated into the IoT will change our future?

Voice control | Meteca

One of the reasons why the IoT is now inside many of the objects we have in our homes, but also on our wrist or in our mobile phone, is the development of technology that allows us to interact with these objects thanks to the use of voice commands. A striking example is the increasingly massive use of smart speakers, with voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant.

In the United States, more than 50 million people already own one of these objects, and according to statistics, the number is expected to reach 275 million by 2023, with an expected growth of 1000% over the next five years.

Every day we use voice commands as an interface to smartphones, tablets and smartwatches, but there are many other applications for “voice-technologies”, such as the voice recognition present in televisions.

Voice control in the IoT is also booming in the automotive world: in most vehicles, thanks to the voice assistant, the driver is facilitated to interact with the applications of his car without losing concentration on driving. The use of this technology is expected to increase by 20% in 2020.

Although the use of voice assistants is immediately widespread in objects that are part of everyday life, there is still some diffidence in the application in the workplace. In fact, it is estimated that, despite 72% of workers using voice commands at home or on weekends, only 31% adopt them at work.

This is due to the supposed initial investment that companies would have to make to install the technology needed to provide their workers with this service, but you don’t really need to build an expensive voice assistant system from scratch when you can adopt the technologies already on the market.

One way to speed up the process is to use, for example, the Alexa system, paying Amazon just to update your assistant’s vocabulary by replacing it with the one required by the company.

When Amazon released its products in 2016, Alexa was able to answer 130 questions, in 2018 the number jumped to 100,000. Thanks to the Alexa Skill Kit, the American company, through a simplified software and code, allows each organization to adapt the voice assistant to its needs.

This strategy eliminates large initial costs, offering a package that can be quickly adapted to any type of request.

One example is KidsMD, an application created by Boston Children’s Hospital to facilitate the relatives of patients who need real-time information on their health and on the treatments adopted, a problem that in the past would have required considerable development costs and accomplishment, but, thanks to Alexa’s adaptability, it was easily fixed. The same hospital has created an app for the gastroenterology department that allows you to activate the endoscope chamber through a voice command, while in the intensive care unit the nurses use an app to know how much blood to take from each patient, saving from 15 to 30 minutes for each.

Still in the medical field, the company Orbita, specialized in virtual assistants, has made its OrbitaASSIST platform usable on phones and smart speakers, allowing users to easily find medical facilities, order medicines, book appointments, reduce waiting times, improving the patient experience.

The use of voice assistants is changing the technology that we will see in the future, for example it is giving us the ability to create equipment that will no longer need a screen. The ability to translate simultaneously will quickly remove language barriers both in ordinary life and in the world of work.

Thanks to voice interaction, IoT technology will be increasingly adopted, so much so that the day will come that children will no longer remember the time when houses, cars and objects around them were unable to speak.

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