Voice Tech Trends for 2020

Anna Prist
Dec 23, 2019 · 5 min read

All right folks, listen up! 2019 is wrapping up and it’s just about time to sum up and forecast the next year’s buzz

It is probably a bit too early for a final say on the numbers of the expiring year, for sales lift usually happens during the holidays. And while the festive season is not over yet it would be unfair to compare the numbers. Voice Tech is a relatively new technology, any moment someone may come up with an idea that would go off like a rocket and change the whole state of business. That’s why you may go a little too far into make-believe when making predictions, but here in this article, you will find realistic forecasts and trends that will shape Conversational AI in 2020.

For sure, voice experiences are becoming more widespread. At the same time the technology becomes smarter: neural networks are training, gradients are being computed, score goes up, and loss goes down. That means, technology gradually becomes more human-like and it’s good because that’s where we were heading. According to Just AI, companies already choose AI-based chatbots over scripted ones, customers change their behavior when talking to a bot, and pretty soon 70% of white-collar workers will interact with conversational platforms on a daily basis.

Next year we will definitely see:

More personalization in customer service

Personalization is a way to a modern customer’s heart. Consumers want it all: they need their time spent rationally, they need a prompt response when they have a problem, they want more control, and they do want personalized content. Making it customized means your customers more likely would engage with it. More and more brands will get on with their market expansion into the voice channels. And they got a lot of options — they can build up a smart bot, their own voice assistant or skill for existing assistants. Conversational marketing is a great field of opportunities here.

More customer data analysis

Through the above-mentioned channels, companies gather customer data. And buying habits are the most important files here — on the basis of these insights, companies build their marketing and product strategy. New solutions applying strong analytics tools simply make it easier.

Enterprise voice assistants

Big corps will aim to build an in-house R&D. Now that most of them run their websites and apps, assistants will be integrated to exercise some functions with voice. Tapping will stay, it just will be updated with voice to step up some common processes like navigation, help, FAQs, etc. Custom enterprise assistants will carry out service functions, but they will not be regarded as a competitor to voice assistants like Alexa, whose functionality is a lot wider. And as for sales — robotic omnichannel communications are expected to gain momentum. These communications mean that a bot can converse to customers via different channels. At the same time, all the information is automatically transferred to the CRM system, and a bot sticks to the specific script depending on the lead’s type.

Business skills and real-time translation

This is a slow trend, but eventually, it will change the way we communicate at work drastically. Think of the new ways to hold a meeting or check Microsoft’s ideas on the new work collaboration:

The most important thing that we will see soon — is a real-time translation. For example, you are on a phone with a foreigner whose language you don’t know, and while they speak to you, the system translates the signals right into your ear. Of course, this technology needs time to refine — there probably would be long pauses and mistranslations for the first little while, but hey, this is some features we’ve only dreamed of we’re talking about!

Proactive assistants

This includes both user’s tuition (where voice assistant itself informs of its capabilities) and new service packages. And the last one means that the better your assistant knows you, the more personalized services you’d be able to get.

Outbound calls

Outbound calls are an obvious trend in Russia and China. It appeared a couple of years ago — robots with voices as similar as human’s who understand live speech — and it had already proved effective for SMBs and enterprises. This trend will develop and mature, but in the very near future, it will be faced with the regulations — spam restrictions, clear intentions, etc. You know,

speak human, but don’t pretend to be one

We predict a quantum leap with the deepfakes technology. Because the tech itself is ripe already, although the speech synthesis is not as good. But there are already many examples of deepfakes using famous voices for profit without the owner’s knowledge, and it’s just about time to meet the copyright issues. For instance, China has already made it a criminal offense to publish deepfake videos created with AI or VR.

User’s behavior is changing

There is an increased overall awareness and a higher level of comfort demonstrated specifically by millennial consumers. They need these levels of comfort and voice interfaces can give it. Besides, voice search technology enables people to multitask in ways that weren’t thinkable previously.

Voice-enabled smart TVs

Virtual assistants and smart TVs are coming closer together, although in 2020 their feature set would probably stay limited. Perhaps, we will even see some first implementations, but to become a real trend there should be refined microphone arrays and the ability to access all the skills in the skill store (including those of the third-parties).

Voice games on smart displays

Smart displays are on the march, they expand voice tech’s functionality pretty much. And the main driver here — games. Entertaining content accustoms users to new interfaces, helps to break down barriers and embrace new technologies. Games have always promoted the development of new technology, and it is to be expected that we will see some new mechanics and design approaches.

In-car assistants

A built-in assistant in a car becomes the rule. Assistant gives additional control when your eye set on the road and hands are on the wheel. It is significant that the best part of carmakers will follow the Mercedes’ path — naming their assistant after the brand’s name. And it totally makes sense — you probably want to talk to your car while sitting in it, instead of addressing Alexa or Google Assistant. The key benefit with the in-car assistants — they should be available and helpful even when there are no internet or GPS connection, in case the car owner got lost or had an accident.

The coming year probably won’t reveal any new techs, but it sure will bring new business models and new approaches to building Voice UX for various devices. So much depends on the strategies major companies like Amazon and Google bring in, the ideas third-party developers generate, and the needs tech-savvy users have. We will see some really great things, and the more people that get involved in this process, the more useful and cool the technology will be.

Let this New Year bring us more voice experiences!

Happy holidays!

Voice UI

#VoiceFirst community. Voice tech analytics, market insights, and business uses. Powered by Just AI

Anna Prist

Written by

of minds and machines

Voice UI

Voice UI

#VoiceFirst community. Voice tech analytics, market insights, and business uses. Powered by Just AI

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