Evolution of Voice as an UI
Voice based technology has been around for decades. Remember Prof. Stephen Hawking's voice synthesiser? It has been in usage since the 70s, but what has changed now?
How did voice become a new way of man-machine interaction?
Lets take a quick look at the evolution of voice.
The 80s. From Elite to Mass Adoption
Until the 80s, computers and computing technology was only for the elite, buying them was expensive, using them was tedious since we had to type long lines of codes.
Only a few geeks used it for extraodianary tasks like sending man to moon or help fly planes.
There was no commercial internet service providers until late 80s.
The 90s. Alter Behaviour and Consumption
Including Xerox, Apple, and Microsoft, many organisations and people contributed to the introduction and growth of the computer mouse.
It made computing easy. An average Joe can now point and click to do his math, no need to writes lines of codes to divide 272 by 2.
By early 90s, school, offices and home started to have 'computers' to get things done.
In early 2000 we had dot com businesses redefining how people access information, which changed their attitude towards businesses & brands and altered their behaviour patterns around consumption.
Last decade. A Computer in Our Palm
Have you ever realised that every time you 'touch' your phone screen, you are actually instructing a software to do things?
What used to be writing lines of codes or pointing a mouse and clicking became a gesture driven intuitive interface.
The advent of smartphones in 2007 put a computer on everybody's palms, it created a new business opportunity for every category and industry.
The App economy was made possible giving rise to millions of developers and brands who build products and solutions on the mobile ecosystem.
In India, we saw the rise of millions of internet users who are 'mobile only'
Now. The Birth of A Voice First World
Voice is the most natural form of interaction for humans, we learn to use voice from childhood days to interact with the world around us.
With exponential advancement in Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence, computers can now understand intent behind our voice commands and can respond intelligently.
They can even perform action oriented outcomes like turning lights on or controlling temperatures in a living room.
Voice is taking the role of primary User Interface (UI) between humans and machines in online search, smart home and every possible connected device such as TV, Microwave, Washing Machines, and Automobiles.
Voice as a UI is naturally more intuitive than touch or swipe gestures. In India, 28% of all search online is already through voice.
Cheaper data plans, coupled with mass adoption of voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home is driving the next wave of digital transformation; brands that understand the fundamental shift caused by voice technologies will win by having a robust Voice First approach and content strategy in place.